I was very excited to have my debut appearance on HLN’s Raising America last week. My on-screen time felt like it went faster than the speed of light, mostly because one of the topics we were discussing really got me wound up.
Get this news item – a father was paying his 14-year-old daughter $200 to stay off Facebook for five months. He had her sign a contract and then posted the contract on his blog. The daughter was agreeable to it all because she found that Facebook was taking up too much of her time and she liked the idea of making money. I have so many issues with this arrangement that I hardly know where to start, but I’ll give it my best shot.
- You are the parent! If your child is not using social media in an effective or responsible way, you restrict usage. Perhaps you can talk to your teen about tools and strategies, but paying the kid? I’d suggest that, since she is off Facebook, she could now use her spare time to babysit or get a paper route to make money. She certainly wouldn’t be making a profit off of me.
- Down with bribery. At the end of the day, bribery is a very ineffective parenting tool. It puts all of the power in the child’s hands. Let’s say, for example, the conversation goes like this: “Hey, lovely daughter – I’ll give you 200 bucks to give up Facebook”. Kid, perhaps not interested in the money, says “No thanks, I’m good”. Kid comes out the winner there. If the bribe doesn’t meet the needs of the kid, they can reject the bribe and the parent does not get the desired behaviour.
- Stop the public shaming. Why on earth this father made public the contract he entered into with his daughter is far beyond me. Parents are making a habit of publicly shaming their teens and it has to stop. Teens can be pretty delicate emotionally, and here is the person they’re supposed to trust and feel safe with exposing them, irrevocably and forever, online.
What is your take on this story? Would you pay your teen to give up Facebook or anything else, for that matter?
Here's a look at the discussion Julie had on this topic on Raising America.