Traverse City Record-Eagle


Is it right to “get back at” your teen on Facebook?

By Sherry Kula Tucker
Lately I’ve been seeing on the news how parents are getting back at their kids via Facebook.  I have to say I completely disagree with this behavior.

I saw where a man made a video to his daughter explaining to her how he was disappointed with her complaining on Facebook then he proceeded to destroy her computer.  He posted the video on the Internet.  I can’t say I completely disagree with this guy.  I watched the video and from what I remember it was just explaining that she was acting like a spoiled brat and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.  Maybe I’m being inconsistent but although extreme, I didn’t find his actions to be the “get back” behavior that I really don’t like.

Recently there was a woman on the news who changed her daughter’s Facebook page and put an X over her mouth with some line about how she needs to keep her mouth shut.   I think this woman was just trying to get her 15 minutes of fame on TV at her daughter’s expense.  She said she thought it was important to teach her teenager a lesson by showing her what it was like to be embarrassed.

You can be assured that I will never embarrass my teens (or anyone for that matter) on Facebook.  I will not say derogatory things about my kids nor will I ever post pictures of people that I don’t ask them permission on first.  I let my teens read my blogs about them before I post them.  If they have a problem with it, we discuss it then I decide if it is important enough to make public.

What has happened to the “Golden Rule” of treating others how you want to be treated? I understand these kids that the parents took to “getting back at” on Facebook apparently didn’t follow that rule.  Kids, including teenagers, tend to act without thinking, they think they are invincible and they don’t fully realize the consequences to their actions.  I read somewhere that the human brain doesn’t fully develop until around age 25.  This in NO WAY gives teens an excuse to behave badly but it explains some irresponsible actions.

It is the job of a parent to discipline their children. If a child, yes even a teenager, acts out of line, it is the parent’s responsibility to do something about it and not let it go unnoticed.  This is how our kids learn right from wrong, isn’t it?

So please tell me how two wrongs make a right?  How can a parent – an ADULT – tell an adolescent that it is wrong to badmouth on Facebook by doing it back to them? That makes absolutely no sense to me.  Oh, I’ve heard people say it’s so they will know how it feels. Does that mean if someone hits your kid you should go hit their kid so they know how it feels? How about if your child’s best friend tells rumors about her, do you encourage her to start some rumors about the friend so they know what it feels like? I would sure hope not.

Grow up and quit the “get-back” attitude with your children (or with anyone for that matter). Parents should set an example that the kids can learn from and live by.

I allow my kids to have a Facebook account and it is my rule that they are friends with me and I know their passwords (although I’ve never gone into their accounts.) They understand that for their own safety I’ve set privacy settings and they are only allowed to be friends with people they actually know. I’m not saying everyone should follow my rules but I do think all parents should set rules with their children regarding the Internet.

I have given my teenagers nice long lectures on Facebook and Internet use. (A long car ride is always a great time to teach life lessons because they can’t go anywhere and there are few distractions!) I stress to them often the power of their words and how they should never say or do something that would ruins someone’s day.  At dinner we like to say our good and bad for the day. They both agree they don’t want to ever be someone’s bad.

Respect, empathy and integrity are just a few of the many things I want to teach my children and I believe the best way to teach them is to start with a good example.

  • Nanawheels2007

    I agree 100% with what you are saying ! 

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