As many of you may know, while I am an editor here at TheDroidGuy, I am also a 17 year old who is currently finishing his junior year of high school. This makes one of the big pieces of news as of late, the story behind a man who shot his daughter’s laptop over a venomous Facebook post directed at her parents, a little more personal to me. If you haven’t heard about this story yet, you must be living under a rock, because in just 5 days, the YouTube video alone has generated over 22 million views. That is definitely something we can call viral. And as I’m obviously not the first person to ever be a teenager, I have grown up in a slightly different era of technology than many of the viewers and readers that have commented, or just read about this story.
With MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Formspring, Tumblr, and other social medias on the rise throughout my childhood, I really didn’t know what it was like to not be able to blab about my problems through various song lyrics and cleverly worded posts all over social networks for the whole world to see. I’m in high school. My friends are in high school. Most of my personal relationships are people who have access, and have had access to social networks most of their adolescent life. While this is great for us, this story shows the brand new door it opens for trouble, because as we all know, once you put it on the internet it stays there. Forever. This can be a serious issue with loose-cannon teenagers who take shots at their parents, friends, and other figures of authority on Facebook. I’m no better, as I’ve had many regrettable posts in my day–things that once shared are taken in every horrible way possible and spread to just about everyone I may have possibly glanced at once or twice. While this is just everyday life for us, parents are faced with problems and issues that they couldn’t learn from their parents on, and are now blazing a new trail through the parental wilderness of “monitoring your child’s social media”.
More after the break
So here lies the conflict: how do you deal with a teen who has slandered the name of her parents all over Facebook. This dad has chosen to be as blunt as possible with punishment by thoroughly destroying the tool used to spread such hatred, but has also caused a rise from every corner of the internet. Some people think this was way too harsh, and he is only breeding further rebellion in his child, and possibly causing deeper, more permanent damage that could affect their relationship forever. Some people think he was right on, and more parents should take this route to stop their unruly kids from cluttering everyone’s news feeds with disrespectful ramblings. I am in no position of authority myself, and am definitely not even a slightly skilled parent, but I can look at it from a more personal perspective of a fellow adolescent.
If I were in this girl’s position, and had done something similar to my parents, I’m sure my father would have been very upset, and while maybe not shoot my laptop, would have punished me, and made sure he got the job done. But then again, I’m the kind of kid who wouldn’t run away from my parent if he did such a thing. We have no idea who this girl is, and what her record of reactions to punishment have been, so to be honest, only a follow-up story could really tell us how productive her form of punishment was. I think the real thing that a lot of the arguments come down to, is the difference in people. My generation was raised with all of the technology and communication we need right at our fingertips, and therefore, we have grown up in an age where we share everything on the internet. From pictures to song lyrics, we publish our lives for all to see. This is how I think it is a little different for this girl to publish a disrespectful post on Facebook, than it would be if she stood in front of a group of people, tearing down her parents in a whirlwind of anger and cursing. It does not, however, give her any right to post something so terrible about her parents, especially to the hundreds of people who have seen and read her post.
Herein lies my opinion on how it should be dealt with. Every child is different. Some kids would despise their parents forever for such an act, only furthering the problems, and some would take it as a signing to quit screwing around with Dad when he says quit posting bad things on Facebook. The point is, there is no “one way” a parent should handle this situation. Every parent is going to have to deal with their child in a way that will be productive, and not damaging. Not every dad wears a cowboy hat and has a concealed carry, and if this was done in a big city he would probably have been arrested. Whether or not this was the right thing to do can’t really be determined until we know how it affected the daughter. I, for one, don’t think destruction of property is in any way an appropriate measure of punishment, but I’m not that daughter’s parent, and I don’t know how to parent her, but if my dad shot my laptop, I would understand I crossed the line and stopped what I was doing in fear of more punishment. Either way, the conflict of whether this was right or wrong will continue, and everyone is going to have their own opinion. There’s many ways a problem can be solved, and you can’t tell which way was best until you get the results.