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Is punishment by Facebook too humiliating?

4 years ago

Natasha Burton writer
Natasha Burton Freelance Writer & Author Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Facebook is a huge part of the blended online/offline world today’s teens navigate daily, so taking normal parental chastisement out of the home and into their social spaces will clearly hit them where it hurts. In some cases though, it has been a step too far.

While Facebook is a great resource for keeping in touch with old friends (and spying on exes, let’s be honest), there are many reasons I’m glad it didn’t exist when I was a kid. I don’t think I could handle the virtual world overlapping with the real world at that age. Plus, I’m grateful I grew up without any boys ‘poking’ me.

But there’s another reason I’m lucky: Apparently, some parents have now taken to the site as a way of publicly punishing their kids.

Take Ohio mom Denise Abbott. In April 2012, her 13-year-old daughter, Ava, disrespected her in front of her friends. Abbot upload a photo of her daughter with a red ‘X’ across her mouth to Facebook, captioned: ‘I do not know how to keep my [mouth shut]. I am no longer allowed on Facebook or my phone. Please ask why.’

The post went viral and right or wrong, Abbot’s post seemed to be effective. In an email to NBC, Ava wrote, ‘I feel like I deserved it.’

Earlier this year, North Carolina father Tommy Jordan discovered his daughter had written a spiteful post about her parents on Facebook so he retaliated by uploading a video of himself shooting – yes, shooting - her laptop on to both YouTube and Facebook.

Punishing kids through public humiliation is nothing new, nor limited to the virtual world. Take the dad who ordered his son to stand outside with a ‘homeless’ sign for missing his curfew. But do these online punishments go to far? Are they too public and too humiliating? Where would you draw the line?

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Opinion 4 years ago

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