When I was 8 we lived in Salt Lake City. There was a girl across the street that came to church sometimes. Her mom smoked and was not active, as I recall, if a member at all. We hung out with the girl quite a bit. I don't know if we just really liked her or if this was encouraged because she was in need of fellowship. Through hanging out with this girl we were exposed to a wide array of inappropriate from Days of our Lives, to actual porn. Great!
I've always known that none of those things were appropriate for anyone, let alone children. But today when I remembered that came to church, it reinforced my thoughts. No sleep overs, ever. No hanging out at people's houses without a parent, that I know shares similar values. No playing in bedrooms.
Sometimes I'm all about letting my children have more freedom and competence. But it is the experiences of knowing that girl, that make me most protective of who my children associate with. They're not going to be exposed to horror movies buying bread on their own, or cooking their breakfast.
I think society has gotten concerned about kids' safety in all the wrong ways. I'd rather have my child fall out of a tree and break bones, than play violent games, or read/see pornographic material.
My sister recently said she felt that kids should be allowed to be kids. Since I homeschool, I can let my kids be kids quite a lot, and still expect a lot of them. They aren't in school having to follow school rules all day. So most of their day is just hanging out being kids. And in the name of being kids, I think that kids should be allowed to play without the pressures of romantic relationships, materialistic comparisons, and social hierarchy.
And if someone ever wants me to encourage my kids to be friends with someone from church, in need of a good influence, I'm probably going to have a problem with that.