Parenting in the Age of Facebook

Sebastian has always said that if we decide to have kids, they better learn to be smarter than he and his friends are with technology. Yeah, I’d say this girl has a long way to go on that front.

For those who really can’t sit and watch the whole thing, which I highly suggest doing, you can skip to 6:53 where it really gets going.

57 thoughts on “Parenting in the Age of Facebook”

  1. Before all the nanny staters look at this and find themselves horrified at a) the use of a gun, and b) the fact that the daughter now no longer has her own personal computer, read the outcome of the situation:

    For those that wondered, commented, criticized, and just in general wanted to know:
    My daughter came through it fine.

    Yes, she’s in trouble, and yes she’s grounded, but that doesn’t mean every moment of her life has to be miserable. She’s going to come to terms with the changes that will be present for a while; no TV privileges, no Internet, etc.

    In the meantime, once the initial anger passed, she sat with me reviewing some of the comments that have come in via Facebook and YouTube. One person even suggested collecting the shell casings and auctioning them on eBay. I said I’d do it if it would help contribute to her college fund! When I told her about it, she thought a minute, got a funny calculating expression on her face and said, “in that case you should shoot my phone too. We can use more bullets and I’ll go half-sies with ya on it! It’s not like I’m going to need it any time soon. And I can use the money we get to buy a new one.”

    While the whole point of this story isn’t funny, what is funny to me is how weak some people out there think kids are. Our kids are as strong as we help them to be. My daughter took a horrible day in her life, had her crying fit, then got over it, accepted her punishment, and hasn’t let it (or people’s comments) destroy her strength. I don’t get any credit for that. She’s strong and able to overcome almost anything life throws at her.

    Since this unsuspectingly threw her into the limelight much more strongly than either of us intended, I asked her if she wanted to make her own response video, and told her I’d let her do it if she wanted to. She doesn’t like being in front of the camera, so she declined, but I’ve told her if she wants to write a response or post a video response, I’d be OK with it. It’s only fair considering the viral nature of the whole thing. So far she’s not really interested. Quite frankly it seems she’s gotten bored of it much faster than the general public has. If that changes I’ll post it here.

    Also, on how she got caught:

    The Dog Did It.. no, really.

    I finally came out and told her this today, partly because it was too funny NOT to share.

    When my daughter made her post, she used Facebook’s privacy settings to block “Family” and “Church” friend’s lists. All her other friends could see it. We, of course could not.

    One of our dogs is always getting in photos and therefore has her own Facebook page. It’s just a cute dumb thing we did for fun. Well, the dog’s profile is rarely used except when funny pictures of her are posted. Since that’s not too often, and she has very few friends on Facebook, her wall is kind of bare, with relatively few posts showing up on it.

    The other night we gave the dog a bath and there was a funny photo we uploaded to Facebook and tagged her in. I logged in as the dog the next morning to comment on the photo. However when I logged into the dog’s profile, my daughter had forgotten to add her to the “family” list…. so our family dog’s profile showed her post right there on the front page.

    It wasn’t any parent-hacking, computer spying, or monitoring of any kind.. the dog actually ratted her out completely by accident. She hasn’t petted that dog all day today…

      1. +1 Drifter I cringed when the hammer came back and found out there was a round in the chamber.

        Still this is a good way to keep your kids from living in a tent on public land doing drugs and holding stupid political signs!

    1. Guns are for self defense, hunting and sports. To me, this is irresponsible gun use and sets a poor example for his daughter.

  2. Umm… seriously?
    Once you give someone a gift, they own it. Giving people something just so you can control them by taking it away is for welfare states.
    That said, I made a point of buying my first phone and laptop with my own money; “privileges” are for people who can’t assert their rights.
    At 15, she shouldn’t still be relying on her parents to buy her tech for her.

    1. Did you not listen to the video? He bought her everything, did all the work to maintain it, and purchased the software she demanded. She’s nearly 16, and both of her parents have been pushing for her to find some kind of job. She won’t, and still expects new laptop equipment, cell phones, iPods, and more.

      You’re probably in the minority of people who believe that when a parent provides something, s/he can’t take it away as punishment when their child acts up. If a young child starts hitting their younger siblings over the head with heavy toys, do you just sit back and let them keep going since “taking it away is for welfare states”? No, you take the toy away and punish the kid. It’s called being a parent.

      1. Yes, you take them away, but you don’t smash your children’s toys in front of their friends to show how upset you are. And a laptop isn’t just a toy: it’s a capital good that should be shown respect, like any tool.

        The time for a firm “no” was months or years ago, when she started making irresponsible demands. All he’s doing now is flaunting his sloppy damage control. And let’s not even get into the “airing family business on the internet” angle…

        1. To you, it may have more value than it has for him. It’s a good he felt he could destroy. While I would agree that you don’t smash the toys of young children in front of their friends, taking the toy away has the same impact. This was simply more dramatic because she clearly had a flair for the dramatic. He punished her in traditional forms before, and she did not learn. He has explained that she did learn from this incident and is even now able to joke about the destroyed laptop.

          1. I respect your judgement and opinion.
            I’m a UK expat with a father who grew up in the war, so it could be a cultural difference. He would not see the humour in destroying tools for the sake of drama.
            And as a boy, what wealthy people treated as disposable was a godsend for us. Buying their “junk” allowed me to grow up in a house with luxuries like an oven, a refrigerator, and even a computer. All without stooping to beg for government “charity”.

            1. “I’m a UK expat”

              That tells me about all I need to know. Kids in the U.K are lazy, spoiled, and ungrateful. They have a sense of entitlement, towards both their parents and the gov’t.

              1. Thank you David. I’m glad those three words spared you from having to read the rest of my post, and that ignoring the parts you didn’t want to see allowed you to interpret it however you wanted.
                You could be a great lit crit professor.

            2. Not approving of this because it destroyed something that someone else could use is different than arguing that the parent cannot take it away because the child “owns” it.

              I would rather have seen him donate it than destroy it as well.

            3. You know, sometimes destroying something–even something that is still useful–provides a certain “boost” to your spirit, that can then push you to do the right thing.

              While it’s true that the laptop could have been sold, or donated to charity, or something, taking a step like this can very well provide a certain amount of drama that would help a lesson “stick”, that none of these other things would have done.

              Ultimately, it’s up to the property owner to decide how to best use his property, and if that includes destruction, then so be it!

      2. A sixteen-year-old is not a toddler and a laptop is not a ‘toy’.

        And what this fellow did was the computer equivalent of opening an envelope not addressed to you.

        1. In terms of providing entertainment for the child, it is a toy – just an expensive one. Her school should have all the computer products she needs to do any work. Even my rural and poor school district had an entire lab of computers that students could come in and use at any time to do work. She won’t be missing out on any opportunities because of the missing laptop.

          He also didn’t “open” anything. She posted something publicly and got caught. If she wanted to vent to friends, she had an option to do it in person where it couldn’t be easily shared or seen by half the world. Considering she was caught doing something similar just a few months prior and warned through milder punishment then about the consequences, she had no expectation of privacy for posting a public rant.

          1. I’d like to add that I don’t believe that children are entitled to the right of privacy from their parents. Most children are still learning how to make good choices and need to be monitored by their parents for when they have lapses in judgement, such as this young lady.

            1. No, she didn’t. She posted it to an account available to all of her friends. She kept a family account visible, that is how her dad found it. It wasn’t anything sneaky or snooping.

    2. Minor children “own” property only on their parents’ sufferance. Part of parenting is taking away that property if the child abuses it, or shows that they are not mature enough to have it.

      1. Teaching children respect for property and property rights is also part of parenting.
        Not giving children valuable items until they show they are mature enough to have them is another part.
        The proper response to “give me a laptop” is “get a job”, not “yes princess”.

  3. What a trashy dad, like he couldn’t put the cigarette down for 5 minute to make the video.

    1. Judging him on that is childish. I could easily judge you as illiterate for not making the word “minute” plural, as in “5 minutes.” You would think me picky for doing so, and you would be correct.

      1. Smoking is for white trash. Not only is it dirty and stinky, it shows how stupid he is. I guess he wants to be the grandpa who’s on the oxygen tank at 65 years old.

    2. Why should he be ashamed that he smokes?

      Maybe he should have taken off the boots, the belt buckle and the hat, got himself a shave and an Armani suit…oh and hired a lawn service, because his sod is VERY patchy.


  4. I think the gun might have been over the top, but it was still funny as hell. And the father should have slowed down in his anger so he was more articulate, if he really wanted to make the best impression on the video.

    But as far as taking the laptop away, the child is under 18. In most states she has NO property rights. So it was not her laptop, it was his laptop that he chose to let her use. And the idea of gifts just do not apply when it comes to the property of a minor versus the authority of the parents over that minor.

    Besides the girl is a foolish, and ungrateful child. If I was her father the day she hit 18 and graduated high school I’d put her butt out the door, and tell her to go find out what the real world is like.

    I do like how the father’s follow up showed though that the girl has learned a bit of wisdom, and maybe he’s learned to not react so impulsively next time.

    1. You can just take property away from people because they happen to be 17 and not 18? Morally, I mean. I’m not legally in your jurisdiction anyway.

      1. Do the phrases “minor child living at home” and “parent paying for literally everything the child has” escape your comprehension? ‘Cause I’m sure we could use some smaller words if you need us to.

  5. My kids (4) do not and can not have a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter account. That is how I deal with things. The younger 2 have a shared common computer and they can not erase the history on it. Chores are easy here. Make the rules and stick to them. I support this guy 100%. Nice 1911 BTW!!

  6. I just showed this to my 11 year old darling daughter who just entered middle school and is currently grounded. She’s working through some school issues….first year in middle school…whooooppie.

    She got very quiet and thoughtful. I think she got the hint.

    1. Specifically, the ones who don’t have daughters. She wasn’t feeling disrespected, she was feeling angry and a powerful urge to vent it in hurtful terms. Girls (generally) do that; had she done it face to face it would have come and gone like an afternoon thunderstorm. Because she posted it for half the world to see, it developed a life of its own and went much further than anyone intended. Which is also a lesson for her.

  7. Well, it was funny, but pointless, on so many levels. The only positive I can imagine is if the father’s venting preventing him from physical violence toward the 15-year-old.

    (1) The computer was HIS. By law, the computer was his. It’s a polite fiction that parents play with their underage children living in their homes that they “give” them anything. By law, while my children lived in my home, until they were 18 years old, everything that they “owned” was mine. Get over it. It’s the law.

    (2) Destroying the computer gained nothing. Rather, he could have stripped it of anything private and GIVEN it to some needy person who would have appreciated it, or GIVEN it to some charitable organization. And he could have filmed it and forced the child to watch. Or he could have forced her to have physically handed over the computer.

    While the video is funny, destroying good stuff just to “be funny” is pointless. As noted, the only benefit was if it prevented him from hitting his daughter. Frankly, her words didn’t seem all that offensive to me. She was venting also.

    So long as she was actually doing her chores, getting to school and getting decent grades, showing no signs of doing anything worse than venting, I’m not sure I’d have done anything. And, if he wants her to get a job, then he should start reducing the cash flow — which includes, “Gosh, I don’t have time to fix the computer that I let you use, and I don’t have the money to buy the software that you want on that computer, and I don’t have the money to pay your cell phone bill, and I don’t have the money for a whole lot of things that you want.”

    1. Is it actually the law in this person’s jurisdiction property rights start at 18?

  8. This guy has some valid points but… he needs to learn some peaceful parenting techniques.

    Clearly his daughter is feeling like she is not being respected, and shooting her laptop isn’t going to make her feel more respected.

    I understand that her father is also feeling disrespected, but he is an adult who chose to have children. His daughter did not choose to be born. She is effectively a prison dependent on his good graces for her survival.

    His behavior in this video is very similar to the behavior she is demonstrating, which makes sense, she had to learn it from somewhere.

    I’m sure he feels he is being a good father, but he needs to really look at what he’s doing and ask himself, “how would I feel If someone did this to me?”

    Also a 15 year old girl is barley a person. He need to respect that she is going through a complex and rebellious time in her life which is import for developing her own sense of self.

    Neither party is being empathetic or respectful, and this video is just a continuation of that core problem. The difference is that one of them is a full grown man presuming to teach a younger less developed person about virtue.

    I hope his wife doesn’t take a hint from this video and shoot up his truck the next time she is upset with him. I’m sure he think she was being crazy if that happened.

    1. Really?? You believe the crap that you just wrote, IMHO?
      She is a child, he is the parent. HE bought her the computer, he shot it, he owned it. Not the same as him buying his truck and wife shooting it, is it. This guy works everyday, keeps a roof over her head, feeds her, supplies bathing water, heat/AC and asks for some minor chores to be done in return. A 15 year old is within 3 years of being a legal adult! She has some growing up to do.
      She hid her anger, she publicly displayed it and tried to hide it from her parents. Did you read his follow up? He is doing this right!

      1. He also hired a cleaning lady (come on, a servant?!), and yet is shocked his daughter hasn’t learned the value of cleaning up after herself.
        If you treat a child like a princess, don’t be surprised if it acts like one.

        1. He made clear she’s not a cleaning lady. From his commentary, he explained that she comes over to help with certain things as part of a trade-off of services. So are adults no longer allowed to engage in bartering for fear their kids get the wrong message?

      2. “This guy works everyday, keeps a roof over her head, feeds her, supplies bathing water, heat/AC and asks for some minor chores to be done in return.”

        Yeah he chose to have a kid. He is responsible for all that stuff as a condition of that choice.

        You don’t bring a dog home from the pet store then complain about having to feed it. Nor do you get to stop feeding it because it pees on the rug. Nor do you get to act superior because you are fulfilling the basic responsibilities you accepted.

        When you have children, you accept the responsibility of caring for them. Don’t act like feeding them is some great favor.

        1. So then you agree that a laptop is not part of the responsibility of caring for children, and he is doing his responsibility of meeting her survival needs.

          1. Not his property. MAybe legally it is, but in no decent moral sense.

            Is it legal for him to do this? Why perhaps. I don’t know. I don’t even know what jurisdiction he’s in.

            Is it a nice reasonable behavior? Hell no.

          2. Oh sure, as I said, he has valid points. But demanding that she respect him for fulfilling his obligations to her, indeed suggesting that fulfilling those obligations is a favor, is a very tyrannical way of relating to someone who is in your care.

            She has no right to a laptop, and taking it away form her is fine, though not really addressing the core problem.

            Shooting the laptop seems like a very threatening thing to do. Perhaps not overtly, but at least implicitly he is saying, “when things displease me, I shoot them, you better understand that…”

            I think he took what could have been a great opportunity to sit down with his daughter and work towards a mutually beneficial relationship based on respect, and instead opted to act like a petty child using vague implications of violence when his will is questioned.

  9. Destroying the computer was needed to show permanence of what was a very distasteful act. She has to do a lot of work with her parents and friends to wipe the errors of a tantrum. If the computer existed as stripped of software it will be deemed repairable and restorable. Now it represents if ever replaced a substantial cost. It was his property to dispose of as he wishes.

    The whiners and weak have to realize he had a right to be angry and if he choses to take it out on a computer and then deal with his kid rationally thats fine by me. In the end he is the adult and the kid was acting more like a baby rather than someone approaching young adulthood.

    To be fair, some adults should get off their asses and start being adults rather than their children’s servants. If you do not understand what that means go back and listen to the video
    specifically the first 6 minutes.


    1. “The whiners and weak have to realize he had a right to be angry and if he choses to take it out on a computer and then deal with his kid rationally thats fine by me.”

      So the next time your boss pisses you off at work, go ahead and shoot their computer. See how that works out for you…

      Or it is only acceptable to express your anger that way when you’re dealing with dependent children who have no recourse or ability to defend themselves?

      What a pathetic failure of moral fortitude and character.

      I hope she remembers this when he is old and infirm.

      1. “So the next time your boss pisses you off at work, go ahead and shoot their computer.”

        That would be highly inappropriate, unless…”[the computer] was [your] property to dispose of as [you wish].”

        I don’t know about you, but I generally expect my boss to purchase his own computer, and perhaps even the computer I use at work (thus, if my boss wanted to shoot “my” computer, he would be completely free to do so)! Indeed, I was recently let go from a company, and while they didn’t shoot “my” computer, they didn’t let me keep it, either.

        The analogy you try to make here is completely false, precisely because of these ownership issues.

  10. I also don’t think that it was out of line because it was clear he tried to work with her on the issues at hand. He had already punished her through “normal” means, and she still didn’t learn. Based on his follow-up, it seems like she needed to experience something dramatic to really get it through her head how disrespectful she was being to her parents by not only saying those things, but saying them publicly.

    He pointed out that he didn’t do anything that she wasn’t strong enough to handle. She did handle it, and by her willingness to laugh about the idea of auctioning off the shell casings, I suspect she learned her lesson.

    It’s also worth noting that the mother agreed with this punishment. This wasn’t a father flying off the handle, these were two parents who realized that their daughter wasn’t responding to standard punishment techniques.

    1. Someone on another forum summarized my opinion of this incident perfectly:

      “He IS a jackwagon,

      Based on the evidence presented in this video, he looks to be a punitive controller who has no respect for the boundaries of an adolescent girl; and will resort to destroying property in a rage to intimidate her.
      He’s so wrapped up in his exaggerated sense of self, he can’t see his daughter.
      It’s all about control with this asshat.

      The mere fact that he posted it on You Tube and hijacked her face book account shows he’s deep in his narcissism.
      This has nothing to do with his relationship with his daughter.
      He’s embarrassed and angry at the FB post – I’ll give him that – it had to hurt.

      He’s forgotten who the adult is. He is the adult. He is held to a higher standard than a 14 year old girl.
      Sure – teenagers don’t get it about life and responsibility. Tell us something we don’t know.
      Ride it out with them and give them what they need – stability and consistency.

      It looks like he’s reaping what he’s sown – A daughter who doesn’t think much of him.
      I say the lack of respect in that relationship was about equal, then big balls daddy had to up the ante.
      And he’s gone way over the top to make sure he won.

      It’s plain he’s been losing his parental control over his daughter, and is quite resentful for paying for her computer upgrades.
      Children should be paid for doing chores around the house. It creates a sense of responsibility and autonomy in children to be rewarded for contributing.
      What he described as her after-school chores is worth at least 10 bucks a week.
      If he allowed her the freedom to be paid for her labor, she’d have her own computer and then not be under his control.
      I’m sure that would be unacceptable as well to this guy.

      His episode will push her further away very quickly, and at her age, I should hope so.
      Similarly to, I’m sure, the failed relationship with his ex-wife – alluded to in the video.

      He went over the line by snooping into her personal stuff.
      It’s not like he was looking for drugs or stolen goods or something illegal – he was looking for a reason to be pissed off about the 130 bucks he forked over for “software upgrades”
      She posted because she was fed up with her butthead dad father holding it over her head every time he wanted a cup of coffee.

      While his little tirade may make his gonads swell with testosterone, it has done nothing for his relationship with his daughter.
      I hope he does better with his 6 year old boy, who is soaking all of this up.”

  11. As the parent of two rambunctious boys, I completely get the need to state the consequences of my kid’s wrong actions and then follow through on those promises when they cross the line.

    While there is a certain dramatic flair in what he did that drives the message home, I would have liked to have seen the computer donated to a worthy charity rather than destroyed, that way his actions could benefit more than just his daughter.

    And besides, everyone knows a 9mm Glock is better for this sort of thing.


  12. Personally I’d have preferred a more ‘explosive’ way of destroying the laptop……

    A pound of C-4 or several sticks of dynamite would have been more dramatic if he could have gotten ahold of either……

  13. He warned her that if she did something stupid on facebook again, he would put a bullet through her laptop. My parents taught me to keep my promises. He certainly kept his. Ergo, I see no problem.

  14. Chris: “So the next time your boss pisses you off at work, go ahead and shoot their computer. See how that works out for you…”

    That is not how adults deal with adults. I think you know better. Growing up is about not having tantrums and doing something stupid. The saw “Do stupid things, win painful prizes.” should be clear.

    However if you are hung up on that. A reminder, it was his computer to destroy as an example, not his boss, wife or property of any other adult.

    Like I said someone has to be an adult and the teenage child is not qualified there. Further WE do not know all the details but, from reading carefully and listening to the video twice I suspect there was discussion in depth with said child about what that was done and why that way. Further the teen was given a chance to respond on line and realized the obvious she stepped over a line and in the real world bad things happen as a result. Some call that tough love. I saw a parent that cares a lot but does not accept crap for a response.

    So to use your pissed off by the boss (her parents) example, her response was to piss on them via facebook. Given in the real world using your bosses company computers to do that to your boss and he found out would your job be history or at least under some duress? You’d certainly deserve his further ire if policy didn’t make it clear that is a firing offence. So yes, destroying the computer was a relatively cheap object lesson in how the real world works.

    It’s about responsibility and respect. Shes was neither responsible nor respectful!

    Or are you trying to say she had the right to call her parents profane names on facebook without any penalty? How about disrespecting a women employee “housekeeper” that was treated by her is less than respectful terms?

    This old broad has helped raise a few. Respect is earned, and easily lost. Promises are to be kept, especially the difficult ones. That’s a hard lesson to learn or teach sometimes.

    As to the computer and its worth. I tend to find computers more than two years old to some are “old slow junk” being disposed of for free or very cheap. Not to say it’s useless and usually far from it but too many people especially young ones want the latest, fastest, and shiny when an older one with good software does the job.

    I’ve taken a few old computers out as targets because it’s sometimes good to take aggression against something otherwise meaningless and of no value. As an adult I do get angry and it’s my responsibility to direct it into useful or at least safe channels. I’ve taught others that it is a acceptable way.

    So Chris, you were saying..

    I also saw a lot of failure to read or understand the full
    posted lineage of events. There are those that missed or chose to not read completely the posted aftermath from the father in question. He was indeed an adult and did have the rational conversation with his kid. Clearly there are the few that did the OMG, A GUN and ran screaming for the irrational hills. He could have smashed it with a shovel, bat, or thrown it down on a hard surface its all the same. The promise was to put a bullet in it if she didn’t meet her obligations. She didn’t, he did.

    Oh, and my dad did the same(without a gun) when I got stupid. I still look back at it as something I richly deserved and understood it was something he truly hated doing. But he warned me and I didn’t respect that. He’s been dead a lot of decades and I still miss him. I learned a lot from him.


    1. I think you make some great counter points.
      I’m not interested in the laptop or how it was destroyed.

      His job as a father is to provide a loving a nurturing environment for his child. Its a job he accepted. She is not a voluntary participant in the relationship.

      Shouldn’t her father recognize that she is expressing her feelings of frustration in the only way available to her. Hasn’t he just sent her the message that he is closed off to any consideration of her feelings? Will he be surprised when she is out of the house and never calls?

      He is focusing on his petty hurt feelings. He is trying to make tyrannical bulling a virtue to justify is own poor behavior. Let’s not pretend this is about what is best for his daughter.

      Ultimately he is going to have to be the adult and take responsibly for his poor judgement. That is how you teach children virtue and that is how you earn respect.

      His current method will work if his only goal is to enforce strict and unquestioning obedience from people who have no power to resist him.

      And again I say, someday she will have the power and he will be the dependent elder, is this really the template for a relationship he would want when the rolls are reversed?

      1. “Shouldn’t her father recognize that she is expressing her feelings of frustration in the only way available to her. Hasn’t he just sent her the message that he is closed off to any consideration of her feelings?”

        I think that’s a pretty big assumption to make based on the limited information available.

        I know a family who took drastic measures in a similar situation. It was what it took to wake their children up to what they were doing and did not in any way close down the lines of communication – in fact, it opened them.

  15. Before I gave any of my 5 children access to internet tech I told them that nothing they do on the computer or the internet is private.

    This included “escrowing” passwords for social networking sites and keyboard logging. I also told them designate what book is your journal for your personal thoughts and I promise I won’t read that unless requested.

    These plans worked out quite well.

    I fully approve of this man keeping of his promise.

Comments are closed.