Childrearing

Dad Takes Baseball Bat To Daughter’s Phone After Sexting

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjxGsf8bjjs?version=3]In the YouTube here, a Dad discovers his daughter’s text messages on her phone and proceeds to destroy the phone while she watches, clearly terrified of what he saw. I didn’t watch all the way to the end, but I gather she was sexting. Sexting, of course, is where you send sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. Or, if you’re Rep. Anthony Weiner, you can use your home computer to communicate with women half your age.

Because my kids are still a few years away from behaving stupidly with social media and mobile electronics (though my daughter did have a habit of calling 9-1-1 and my boss when she was 18 months old), I haven’t given much thought to how I would handle such behavior. But I have many friends with children who engage in all sorts of irresponsible behavior on their phones. It’s shocking how quickly it can escalate and, frankly, how difficult it is to monitor. And for my friends who are single or divorced parents, it can be even more difficult.

Some friends were discussing this video, though, and they generally supported the father. One, in fact, thought it was “awesome.” They said that parents need to be generally aware of behavior that could lead to dangerous situations, even if they generally trust them to behave appropriately. When things go wrong — such as, say, sending nude photos to an older man — parents should make a forceful statement — “in a good way.”

“That was a classic Dad move, the kind of thing that if a Mom did, might have a different effect,” said one friend who says she was busted by her father in a partial state of undress in the basement with her boyfriend. She said that her father responded with controlled anger toward her and her boyfriend in a way calculated to make a statement about consequences.”

She said the effect was to make her realize that her Dad cared a lot about her and would protect her from harm. She was mortified at the time but it helped her think about how to behave more responsibly sexually. Her mother, for what it’s worth, balanced it out with some helpful discussion about relationships and how to pace yourself.

What do you think? Did this Dad over-react? Would your Dad have done the same?