Dad Shoots Laptop, Goes Viral: All In The Name of Good Parenting?
You've probably seen it by now -- a dad sits in a field, reads a Facebook note that his 15-year old daughter posted and then proceeds to shoot her laptop with a handgun -- with an extra bullet from her mother.
If you are not one of the 30-million who has watched the "Facebook Parenting: For The Troubled Teen" YouTube video, here is the link. Tommy Jordan got more than her bargained for when he posted the video to YouTube and started an international conversation on teens' behaviour, parent frustration and the use of the word "slave" vs. chores.
Or did he?
There has been murmurings that the whole escapade was a hoax, or at least a publicity stunt to bring attention to IT-expert's self-published book. But even an Internet expert couldn't have predicted the sheer amount of attention paid to this 8-minute video.
What makes a video go viral? What is it about this 8-minute rant, punctuated by gunshots that has caught everyone's attention?
After a week of media attention I think we can identify some common threads:
- All parents would like to see their teen's technology evaporate at some point or another.
- All parents, even those with toddlers, understand frustration, anger and the hurt feelings that come from raising kids.
- All parents lose it once in a while.
- All people like to judge parents.
Personally, I understand the anger and frustration this father was (supposedly) feeling, but I think what he did was grossly inappropriate. He escalated a power struggle with his teen, which is not a solution and will only add fuel to the fire. He did the same things that he was calling out his teens for: he was rude, angry, inappropriate and he used social media to humiliate her. I can't get over the hypocrisy of posting it on YouTube (and considering the set-up of the camera, there was some thought put into it) because he was mad at what his daughter posted on Facebook.
According to the Likes (319,117) versus Dislikes (30,833) on YouTube, I guess I am in the minority; most people applauded this (allegedly) angry dad's temper tantrum.
Dr. Phil had some thoughts on the Today show:
Tommy Jordan has a rebuttal to Dr. Phil on his appropriately-named blog 8 Minutes of Fame (ok, I admit it, he won me over a little with that.) Jordan's Facebook page is still public, and you can catch a glimpse of some of what he has been dealing with in regards to the media including his decision not to do television interviews. (Note the irony.)
We have always told her what you put online can affect you forever. Years later a single Facebook/MySpace/Twitter comment can affect her eligibility for a good job and can even get her fired from a job she already has. She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.
I can sort of understand the emotional rush to agree with the Facebook-shooting dad but now that a week has gone by, to mull it over do you think he did the right thing? (Jordan says in retrospect, he would still do it.) Can you understand his anger? Have you ever done something over-the-top in response to your kids?
Want more chaos? Last year, Billy-Ray had some regrets about how he parented Miley. Poor guy.