Shaming Dead Beat Dads On Facebook Is A Trend I Can’t Get Behind
Single moms in Kenya are using a Facebook page in an effort to shame their former partners into providing support for their children. While I enjoy a juicy scandal as much as any Basic White Girl, child support conflicts should really be handled by the courts, not commented on by that guy from high school you haven’t seen since senior year.
Jackson Njeru created the page, which he runs with the help of volunteers, in an effort to aid single mothers who are struggling with the cost of raising children without financial help from the dad. Njeru posts tons of private information about the fathers, including pictures, conversations between the parents, dad’s place of employment, phone numbers and addresses in an effort to shame fathers into stepping up and taking financial responsibility for their children. He tries to verify all information before posting it, even attempting to contact the father before posting in an effort to resolve the issue.
Despite threats of being sued for defamation, Njeru has no plans to shut down the page. He claims that in the first week of the page’s creation, about 25 cases have been resolved by the parties.
Facebook ranting is nothing new or novel. It can be stress reducing to air you frustrations, and entertaining for the rest of us. But a page dedicated to calling parents out by making their personal information public in an effort to shame them into paying child support is just a case of two wrongs not making a right.
While the intentions behind creating this Facebook page are noble, owning back child support doesn’t waive a person’s right to privacy. Posting these identifying details could lead to safety issues if another community do-goer decides to take this vigilante justice idea one step further by assaulting these fathers. While I think parents who don’t pay child support are crappy humans, no one deserves to be harassed or hurt over it.
Privacy concerns aside, shaming your ex on Facebook could backfire, leaving them even more unwilling to negotiate a child support arrangement. If children are on social media, it can be embarrassing to them or damaging to the relationship they have with the non-paying parent.
Filing a case in court is a safer, and better alternative for parents seeking child support. Court cases can be time consuming, but by going through the proper channels, moms seeking child support are also protecting themselves. Courts have the resources to verify income and garnish wages to get children the financial support they are entitled to. Is it as satisfying as having your rant about your ex getting 150 “Likes”? Probably not, but if the end result is an enforceable child support order, practicality should win out over ego.
There’s a reason why Batman and Robin Hood are fictional characters. While vigilante justice seems awesome, it’s actually messy and complicated. Going after parents who owe child support is something best left to the professionals, even if its not as entertaining.