28 Jun 2012


Reshonda Tate Billingsley, the highly successful author of 25 books, is in the spotlight - not for her prose, but her parenting style.
After seeing her daughter, 12, share a photo of herself holding a bottle of vodka Mrs Billingsley sprung into action, forcing her daughter to pen a public apology for her actions and upload it to Facebook and Instagram.
Within hours, the photo had more than 10,000 shares and Mrs Billingsley had to answer for her actions too.
'The majority of it has actually been positive,' Mrs Billingsley said.
'There were some, however, who told me I was scarring my child for life, who said they couldn't believe I was [resorting to] public humiliation.' More

Hmm, the whole humiliation issue aside, taking into consideration we don't know too many details about the event at which this 12 year old was seen holding a bottle of vodka (were adults present or was she merely with friends her own age?) and given that she denies drinking any of it, claiming she was only holding the bottle along with a caption stating "Wish I could drink this Vodka", surely Mrs Billingsley may have more things to worry about (internet bullying, sexual predation, access to adult content, etc, etc) other than her 'surprise' at seeing her 'bright, intelligent child smiling as she held up a bottle of Vodka'.

Good to know that Mrs Billingsley at least monitors her daughter's on-line activities, I wonder how many of parents of the estimated 7.5million under 13's and 5 million under 10's* who use FB don't.

FB I should point out being a social networking site that, though currently aimed at two age groups, those 13 to 18 years of age and those 18+, does have certain SAFEGUARDS 'protecting'  pre-teens even if the sites Terms Of Statement 4.5 clearly state ........

You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.

So, what thinks you? 
  • Was the action of Mrs Billingsley humiliating? 
  • Would you/do you allow your under 13's access to Facebook OR similar sites?
  • Would you/do you have any rules in place?

* Figures for the USA, May 2011.

In what seems like a bit of an about-turn according to Daniel Bates writing in the Mail Online FB WILL allow under 13's access to the site.
The social network wants to introduce parental controls so youngsters can join when they are old enough to work a mouse.
One option being considered is a filter so parents can decide who children can ‘friend’ and which applications they can use. More


chitra said...

I know many young children 9-10 year old are on fb and they mention their age as 18-19. Do not know how they would use or misuse. Hope they will not fall into any traps.

Vivienne said...

FB is a curse when it comes to kids. Mine are on it, but we have had some rather interesting photos pasted that I have hit the roof over and made them remove. I am friends with my girls and watch everything they post to a certain extent. I don't think I would embarrass them like this as I think their friends would take the mickey. I don't like my girls to be friendly with too many parents on there,as photos like this would just cause gossip.

Kelly said...

To me there's a difference between embarrassing and humiliating and I really don't think this is a case of the latter.

Young kids don't have the emotional maturity to handle a lot of this so I have my reservations about how much access they should have. As with most anything, though, they will usually find a way to do what they want if the desire is really there.

Since I have such mixed emotions, I'm glad my kids are grown and I don't have to worry about it. I do have grandchildren, but I've already learned to keep my mouth shut about many things since I'm not the one parenting them.

Jeannie said...

Facebook declaring that those under 13 can't use the site is as effective as porn sites saying you must be over 18. If there's no way to verify age, then it's useless. Like locks that only keep honest people from breaking in.

Involved parents will oversee some of what their children do. No one has complete control and are crazy if they believe they do. Nor would that be conducive to producing a healthy adult. I can't say whether I would allow a younger kid access to facebook. Perhaps set up a "family" site we would all use. However, devious kids can find all kinds of ways to circumvent parental control. I know I did. And I wasn't a particularly bad kid nor were there a lot of parental controls. My kids were very open with me but I didn't know everything and I'd be nuts to think I did.

GMR said...

Oh boy, this could open up a kettle of fish. I don't really think it was humiliating, a bit dramatic perhaps, but not humiliating. If it has the intended results though since its not really hurting anyone...what's the harm? Perhaps she just wanted to give her daughter a visual reminder of the consequences of her actions or how "un cool" it is to upload photos of anything and everything. ??

Suko said...

I think this issue is really important. Kids often do not understand the repercussions of their actions, or the adult world (and why should they, they are children). So, it is up to caring adults to supervise online activity, or at least take a look every so often. At the very least, the actions of this daughter and mother will create more discussion about the impact of internet postings.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

The age thing is usually seen as a guideline and not a law or anything. I personally think that kids don't think ahead so shouldn't use social media w/o some sort of adult-minded supervision, but parents aren't always the best choice.

As far as the punishment? I think that was brilly. She won't be scarred for life. Please! Dramatically humiliated as only a child could be, but not scarred.

Fairday Morrow said...

I think it is important for parents to monitor what their kids do online because there are so many possible consequences for things that are posted and sent into the cyber world.

As for this instance- I do not think the girl will be scarred for life. She did something she wasn't supposed to and got in trouble. I think her friends will just joke about it with her- and I am sure she will be filling them in on the whole story anyway.

naida said...

With social media such a big part of our world, I think as parents we really need to be very much involved and monitor as much as we can. I check up on my kids computer browsing on the regular. Underage kids lie all the time and get facebook pages, whether the parents approve or not.

I wouldnt go to the extent the mother in the article did though, I think that's really embarrassing for her daughter. But the internet can be a scary thing and kids can be easily tricked by online predators. Also, kids dont 'get' how serious some actions can be. Especially posting photos online.

Blond Duck said...

WOOT!!!!!!!!! Good for her!

P.N. Subramanian said...

As Chitra has indicated, I have seen many kids using FB. They conceal their identities and enjoy fooling around. For that matter even for adults the FB is a curse. My own niece is an engineering student but FB addiction does not leave much time for studies.

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I don't think this will scar her for life but it might have been a little over the top. I do not think allowing under 13 on fb is good at all.

anilkurup said...

The perils of communication boom and fb is just one example.

In the first place where was this woman when her child decided to post the photo of her holding the Vodka bottle? Clearly as a mother she did not notice or failed to act and or discuss the discretion that must be exercised on the social media. And if the child thought the bottle of spirit was just normal style then there is something grossly wrong with the home she lives and the parenting meted out to her.