This video, which is going viral pretty fast, at first conjured conflicting reactions in me. I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at someone who deserves the Parent of the Year award for single-handedly going against the tide of brat-hood or ….at the world’s biggest jerk.
Then – after I got over my rather immature giggling fit picturing this kid’s face when she saw the video – it dawned on me that yes. I was looking at the biggest jerk in the history of cyber-bullying. Bullying is always pretty despicable, of course, even when carried out on a perfect stranger. When it’s carried out on your daughter then it marks you out as an absolute ass who needs a good kick in the butt. And internet privileges lifted.
Oh and before anyone takes me to task for the giggling bit, I’ll remind you that I’m allowed to make fun of the subject of the video. Because I’m not responsible for said subject’s well-being and emotional growth. Unlike the man who is actually shooting the video.
Sure, parenting is a massive pain I’ll grant you that. Particularly version 2.1, which comes complete with a non-optional upgrade called Facebook. Congratulations parents, you have now benefitted from instant maximization of the following game modes: conflict, drama and public humiliation.
The reason for this particular parent launching the self-destruct mode appears to be anger at the fact that his teenage daughter didn’t see fit to include him in her audience while she was having a good rant on Facebook. Parents and kids sharing the same social network is an obvious recipe for disaster. If I had to have an over-enthusiastic mother following my every move on Facebook when I was in my teens I probably would have turned emo very fast. But I hadn’t and I didn’t.
Throughout those teenage years I remember bitching about my parents for the stupidest of reasons. Mum asked me to clear up room? Bitch-mode activated. Dad vetoes new dress? Bitch-mode activated. Grounded for a poor grade in maths? You get the drift. Every single conflict meant that I would spend the next half an hour in an impassioned phone call with my friend, calling my parents the nastiest names I could think of. Then I would hang up and promptly forget all about it.
Of course my parents knew perfectly well they were being Bitched About. It’s what all teenagers do. They dealt with it and no lasting damage was done. What Facebook has done is up the ante by making these bitching sessions more public.
Or has it? In our mind we equate posting on our Facebook wall to having a group conversation with our friends. We certainly don’t equate it with sending out a public broadcast as though we’re uploading a video on Youtube.
But someone thought it would be funny to do exactly this and leak it to all those with a net connection. And it is funny indeed. What is not funny is the parent’s reaction.
A parent who doesn’t share the same mental age as his kid would have disciplined her in private and urged her to dump the so-called friend who is responsible for the leak. Ah, but that wouldn’t be cool enough for the hero in our video, would it?
Before you accuse me of not seeing a parent’s point of view, yes there is the other side of the coin to consider. Some brats do need to be thought a lesson. And brathood (yeah I just made that up) does seem to be disturbingly on the increase in the shape of the worst generation of self-entitled morons ever (yes, I just generalised about kids today. Sue me.)
But when all’s said and done, the above does not change the fact that what we have here is a parent who would rather look cool in cyber space than do right by his kid.
No parent has the right to expect their offspring to befriend them on Facebook. Every teenager has a right to a circle of friends that are “separate from” – as opposed to unknown to – their parents. In a teenager’s world, Facebook is part of this separate circle. Blocking a parent from a particular status is the modern day equivalent of having a private bitch-up session with your friends back on the phone. You’re a parent not a Facebook friend, deal with it.
A teenager is allowed to make an immature decision and to “abuse” of a social networking site by bitching about parents. Again, it’s what teenagers do. On the other hand, a parent is certainly NOT permitted the same immature behaviour.
Acting like a rebellious 15 year old by posting a humiliating video on Youtube is not getting you the Parent of the Year Award. Actually, you’re lucky it doesn’t get you a visit from social services.
And maybe it should. Or, at the very least, it should get you your Facebook and Youtube accounts blocked.