Facebook Parenting!

Okay, yet more adults trying to deal with the vagaries of youth, and arguably doing it all wrong.

Following on from Tommy Jordan shooting his daughter’s laptop on YouTube, an Akron, Ohio mom named Denise Abbott decided that public humiliation was also the way to deal with her 13-year-old daughter Ava’s alleged misbehaviour. Electing to make the punishment fit the crime, she replaced her smack-talking online-drama-addicted daughter’s Facebook profile picture with an altered version of the photo. Namely, with a large red-and-white X where her mouth used to be, accompanied by the words: “I do not know how to keep my… I am no longer allowed on Facebook or my phone. Please ask why, my mom says I have to answer everyone that asks.”

This type of so-called “Facebook parenting” may become more established as parents struggle to curb what they interpret as their children’s excessive or bad behaviour online, deeming it appropriate to publicly humiliate them since the children themselves are already involved in online drama. The only problem is, they may well be forgetting that they’re the adults in the equation and that mimicking age-context adolescent behaviours is probably not the best or most appropriate idea. I suspect some parents are taking out what they perceive as a generation of entitled and digitally obsessed kids on their own offspring and it might behoove them to investigate further whether that stereotype of the so-called Millennials is even fair. Or accurate. But more on that later.

Anyway, Abbott received a perhaps surprising amount of support for her actions, mostly from other parents on US TV talk shows, but they didn’t pass entirely without criticism. Parenting expert Dr. Janet Taylor had this to say: “Just like we don’t want our kids to embarrass other kids, as parents we don’t want to embarrass our children.” Although the girl herself was magnanimous and understanding, defending her mom’s actions: “It was my mom’s way of grounding me and it’s like any other grounding… I don’t see why it’s this big of a deal.”

Perhaps less surprisingly, Abbott received support from one other notable source, laptop-shooting dad Tommy Jordan, who called her and said “if that’s how you want to parent, be strong and stick to what you think is right for your child.”

What do you think? Did she go too far? I mean, punishing young teens for being “immature” is kind of like punishing water for being wet. And maybe it’s just me, but I thought we’d kind of moved on from the idea of public stocks, no?

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