By now, most parents have heard about Laptop Dad. In case you somehow missed it, a dad, frustrated by a Facebook post that his daughter put up that was incredibly disrespectful, turned to YouTube and read the post, replied and then proceeded to pump nine bullets into her laptop. To really get the full effect, watch the video which has gotten 28 million views and counting.
I’ll be the first to admit, I laughed my head off watching this. I’m sure every parent of a teen can relate to this. I feel for the guy – really I do.
I completely commend him for posting the video but he would have made his point even better by donating her computer to a charity for needy kids rather than shooting it up.
Unfortunately social media has become a vehicle or catalyst for parents and adults to behave as badly as kids. Emptying his pistol into a laptop doesn’t instill a sense of comfort that this guy can always act in a rational manner. Putting it up on YouTube gives child services, police and potential clients or employers the opportunity to see his idea of conflict resolution.
Then there’s the case of the high school football coach in Maine who was forced to resign last week after he accidentally posted a nude photo of himself on Facebook. He had meant to send it to “one special person” but inadvertently made it public. One parent was none too pleased when she ran across it online.
Then there was the case last year of a 32-year old mom who was caught on tape encouraging her 12 year-old daughter to fight another 12 year-old girl outside a local school after her daughter was being bullied. A crowd of kids, who learned about the brawl from a posting on Facebook, came to the school yard and taped the fight. The fight was posted on Facebook and the mom was charged with attempted assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
For years now, adults have been competing to have the coveted title of “coolest parents in town” from moms dressing like their daughters to parents serving alcohol at parties to their underage kids and friends. Now Facebook and YouTube are allowing them to take this to a new level. But as parents are embarrassing their kids online and intruding into their space, kids are migrating off Facebook and onto Twitter where they can maintain more anonymity.
For my next book, OMG Save Me! The Safety Mom’s Guide To Understanding Your Teen, I’ve been interviewing scores of teens. Overwhelmingly they agree that they don’t want to know what their parents did when they were teens and they expect parents to set boundaries for them and act in a “parental” manner.
While parents should monitor their child’s activities online, that doesn’t mean that they should be interacting with them. Maintain boundaries, be a role model for appropriate behavior and think twice before you send a tweet, text or post.
This blog post was written by Alison Rhodes, an advisor for TrueCare. Alison Rhodes – the “SafetyMom” is a nationally-recognized expert regarding child and family safety and addresses issues facing newborns to teens. She is a sought-after guest on many national television shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, CNN International and The Doctors.