Shooting the Laptop: A Rational Choice?


Have you seen the video of the father angry over his daughter’s complaining on Facebook about the things she’s expected to do around the house? If not, check it out:

It’s been interesting to me to see the response to the video. On the YouTube page, it’s pretty mixed, but my personal social circle seems to agree that the dad is right.

And while I have to admit that a small part of me cheered, a bigger part of me cringed when I watched the video. Here’s why:

  • Sometimes parents need to take dramatic action.  I’d support any parent who was doing something to protect or support their child. But killing the laptop where their high school student probably does their homework doesn’t really seem to be practical to me. Block Facebook? Sure. Kill the laptop? What does that really prove?
  • More importantly, there’s almost never a good reason (other than revenge, which isn’t a good reason) to publicly humiliate someone. There’s NEVER a good reason to publicly humiliate your own child. NEVER. I can hardly imagine the horror that a 15-year old must feel at becoming an inadvertent ‘Internet celebrity’ now that the video has gone viral, but even if it hadn’t, the father was clearly addressing all her friends in the video.
  • Kids need to learn how to address problematic situations in a rational way. Though he was calm in the video, the father’s response wasn’t rational in my opinion. Taking the computer away? Rational. Giving the computer to a charity? Rational. Shooting holes in it? I just don’t see what that proves.

I suspect this father’s (probably well-intended) efforts will serve more harm than good. And I think it serves as a good example to all of us who share things online to consider the potential ramifications of anything we do.

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