Facebook is one of the most used online application. It could happen that when we are about to match with a potential host family they search us on Facebook and send us a friend’s request. Often families do that to better understand if you are the right au pair for their kids.
This practice is mostly used among families that are not with an agency but have a profile on AuPair-Wolrd or other websites because nobody can guarantee how trustworthy the au pair could be, so they try to find it out on their own.
To Mapu it happened even before signing up with an agency when she met a family on Great Au Pair: They exchanged emails for a couple of days, but later the Host dad wrote her: “But I have to confess. I did some ‘stalking’ and checked you out on Facebook…lol..you look like a charming, active, beautiful and fun young woman.” At that point Mapu’s heart dropped, because on fb she doesn’t have very appropriate photos and answered: “Oh no, my Facebook profile isn’t appropriate.. in fact I have not my parents like “Friends” 🙂 and he: Hahahahaha..it is totally inappropriate!!!…(that’s why I like to take a peek with new au pair candidates!!!).
Despite the inappropriate pictures, they kept in touch and became friends on FB (even though Mapu has to admit that she restricted the privacy so the man couldn’t see everything). Don’t get us wrong, no porn pictures or stuff like that, but let’s just say that she rather not showing some things right away. It is normal that when a girl goes out with friends gets a drink (of course she is not an alcoholic), moreover when she goes out she likes to wear short dresses and she is not ashamed of that, simply she believes it is not the right way to introduce herself, because that might create prejudices (this is the reason why she restricted the privacy!). After the first contacts already occurred and you know each other a little bit better, there is nothing wrong to show your Facebook’s profile!
Other times can happen that a family asks you to become a friends once matched: It is Susa’s case. She personally decided to accept the friend’s request, because she believed she had nothing to hide and everything you see on Facebook is what she is. If they were going to not like it or having wrong prejudices, then they weren’t the right family. Moreover she thought it was a good way to keep in touch since there are about 5 months before the departure. In fact, it often happens that they like some posts of her and vice-versa, Susa even tag them time to time.
However, it is not said that it is always the family that requests our Facebook ‘s friendship. Maybe we would like to add them, because as you probably know, once you meet a possible future host family the curiosity gets high. But should we send the request or not?
A right answer doesn’t exist, because everybody can have its own opinion on the matter, so when we asked ourselves this question we thought:
- The family might think we are really interested in them
- The family might think we have nothing to hide (no compromising pictures, no shady posts, etc)
- The family might think we want to take a peek in everything they do without respecting their privacy
- The family might think we have something to hide
In our case, Susa didn’t want to be invasive, in fact they were the one sending the request once the match was over. Mapu on the other hand, wanted her family to add her, because she didn’t want to be the one asking, but that didn’t happen. Moreover the host dad doesn’t have FB and the host mom has a locked profile so you can’t send requests. Therefore she decided to not bother her via email just for that, but maybe, once in the States, when there is more confidence, she will ask to become friends.
But having your Host Family on Facebook is it a wise choice? Let’s try to analyze together pros and cons.
- Stay in touch with the family
- See new pictures of the kids
- See in what kind of places they like to spend their time
- Understand what they like (tv shows, food..)
- They family can have wrong impressions about us just by looking at pictures or reading our status
- Don’t feel free anymore to post what we want because we feel controlled.
- We can as well have wrong impressions of the family just by looking at pictures or reading their status
But if we already added the family and we changed our mind what can we do?
Personally we think that remove them from your friends it is not really smart. It could irritate the person that would start questioning what you have to hide, if there are problems, if you are posting bad things about them, etc…
In these years Facebook evolved quite a bit, and added lots of new functions to set your privacy as you prefer. So instead of removing the family, you can go in the personal settings and change what the family is allowed to see. Easy right?
In conclusion, adding or not the host family on Facebook is definitely a personal choice and you are the one that has to make that decision. We only wanted to help you analyzing all the different points of view.
Did you add yours? Mapu also found an alternative way: She added them on LinkedIn so they can only see her professional profile and not inappropriate Facebook’s pictures. What do you think about it? Do you have any suggestions for us or other au pairs?
Leave a comment below!
Susa & Mapu