DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently received a Facebook friend request from a 14-year-old girl who attends the church where I serve as a deacon. I am uncomfortable with accepting her request for friendship. I do not know her that well; moreover, I will be concerned that grown men will try to friend her because they saw her on my page. This is my fourth week in the position, and I do not want any problems when I decline her friendship request. I am sure she does not see any harm in requesting friendship on Facebook. How do I tell her the reason why I did not accept her friendship without hurting her feelings? -- I Unfriend You, Bronx, N.Y.
DEAR I UNFRIEND YOU: Be honest with this young lady. When you see her at church, ask to speak to her for a moment. Tell her that you received her friend request and that you will not be able to accept it because you want to protect her and her privacy. Explain, as you did to me, that you do not want to expose her to your adult male friends. Social media can be dangerous territory when the exposure is too broad.
As a deacon of your church, talk to the church leadership about this. It is a topic worth contemplating as a church community that may end up as a content point to be shared with the congregation at some point in the future.