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Man Sues Facebook

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The father of a 12 year old is suing Facebook because his daughter keeps creating accounts and posting sexually explicit photos of herself. In addition to that she was also posting personal information fbonline such as: her cell phone number, address, and school.  The girl was in the care of a voluntary care center. He is suing Facebook because he says that Facebook is not reinforcing it’s own age policy. The argument is being made that Facebook is creating an environment where  “a risk of sexual and physical harm for the child” and is therefore being negligent.
The court papers say  that the father will “seek an injunction ordering Facebook to close down his daughter’s account and stop her from opening another one”. Furthermore the papers say that if that doesn’t happen, he “will seek an injunction to stop Facebook from operating in Northern Ireland”. Good luck to that, unrealistic much?

In a statement the father says “I was horrified when I saw the photographs my daughter had posted of herself on the site. She is far too young to understand what she is doing. She suffers problems and engages in self-destructive behavior. She is currently receiving counseling.”

So where does the responsibility belong? On the parents or on the social networking sites?

I think Facebook has some issues to work out, especially when it comes to privacy. But I don’t think that you can hold the company responsible if your child is acting irresponsibly on the internet. Call me crazy but is it not the responsibility of her father to ensure he knows what his child is doing? Am I the only one here that has a problem with this man? His lawyer argues An age check, like asking for a passport number, would be a simple measure for Facebook to implement.” First of all, Facebook doesn’t need my passport number or drivers license number. Second, what about those people who don’t have a passport number, or drivers license? And Third, we need to really examine how much responsibility Facebook should be taking on for the behaviours of your children.

This child obviously has other issues that need to be addressed, and her problem is not going to be solved because you find away from keeping her from accessing Facebook. She could upload those pictures online at other sites simply by putting in a fake birthday. Also, if she is 12 now I can only assume that she’ll be 13 within the next year and will be back at it with the same behaivour (since Facebook says you must be 13 years of age to sign up).  This child is posting sexual pictures of herself on the internet. Should we not be focusing on the why? Should her parents not be trying to stop her from doing this? If she is living at a care center why has her internet not been cut for her own protection? Why aren’t we asking all these questions?

Don’t get me wrong I understand that as a parent you can’t stop your child from doing everything especially in this technology enhanced world. Which is why I say if it weren’t Facebook it would be something else. This child clearly needs some help.  But parents need to take the responsibility in this age of technology to make their children understand about the dangers of online activity. It should be as normal as teaching a child not to take candy from a stranger, or to look both ways before crossing the street.

It’s interesting because over on babble.com parents with underage kids who had Facebook were criticizing a school principle who was calling for a ban on Facebook at schools and asking parents to take their children’s profiles down. Some of their responses were: “Get back to teaching”, “quit trying to usurp my authority”, “A school has no right to tell my child what he can and cannot do on his own time, in his own home.”  And “will you stand for the school telling you what video games and music your child is permitted to play at home?”   It would seem that there is infighting between parents, schools, and institutions about where responsibility lies.

My solution is you should all stop arguing with each other and protect your children, when you are teaching them about taking candy from strangers you should also be teaching them about the internet.  Education is the key, and getting your children help when they need it.

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  1. Jan Stanners
    September 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    This reminds me of when Calgary wanted to put an age limit on who could buy spray paint. This was to decrease grafitti in the city. How about looking at WHY people choose to behave in cretain ways?

  2. May
    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I would disagree on some points. While obviously this is a young woman with some problems, her father is trying to do something. If she was in care, it’s likely that he had no control of whether or not she had access to the Internet – although I hope he is trying to get that privilige withdrawn for his daughter as well!

    To play a bit of devils’ advocate – how is a parent whose experience with the Internet is “ok, where is the button I click to get on the internet?” when shopping for a new computer, supposed to control the internet use of his or her child? Parents of children who are 12 now, may or may not have had any computer training at all in high school. (At least in Alberta… I don’t know about N.Ireland.) If right after high school an individual went to work in an industry that did not require him to use a computer at all (or nothing more than a point of sale software program or something else proprietory) it’s possible that he would not have much knowledge or experience with computers or the Internet at all.

    There are a wide group of people who hear about the “horrors” of Facebook (and Craigslist, MySpace, etc…) but who have very little experience how to navigate it, or how to distance those fears from themselves or those they love. Teaching your children how to be safe on a tool that you don’t even understand is difficult at best. While I agree that parenting should be left to parents and schooling left to schools, just as the high school gym teacher might have made a lousy science teacher – a parent without experience in the areas of life that his or her child is involved with might also make a lousy teacher of that area.

    • Nic
      September 13, 2011 at 11:13 am

      This will probably come off as self centered and annoying but I am going to say it anyway. We live in a world of technology if you have children you have the responsibility to learn about it and teach your children. If my 80 year old grandmother can figure out Facebook so can you. I would also challenge you to present me with a career that doesn’t require the use of some kind of technology or computer knowledge. Even trades jobs require you have knowledge of technology, internet, etc. In other words a parent should make it their business to learn about that life. And even more then that the internet is a dangerous place, parents have the responsibility to teach their children about it just as they would teach them not to get into a car with a stranger.

      I didn’t have kids for a reason, you choose to have kids. Educate them, or get them that education. I am an adult and I don’t really appreciate a parent’s response to this as “lets ban facebook” asides from the annoyance that would cause people it’s also completely unrealistic and counterproductive.

      Also I say “you” as in the society not you individually.

      • Patricia
        September 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

        I agree Nic. I’m fortunate, my kids make it easy for me to raise them(!) and I am computer literate. But you’re right, there’s no excuse for not understanding technology in the 21st century. Every public library puts on free classes about finding your way around Facebook/the internet/your computer. Take responsibility for yourself.

        I feel badly for the father in that he’s dealing with a messed-up kid. Again, how did she get like that? Did she hang out with the wrong kids from the start, and if so, why didn’t he get involved from the start? Was there sexual abuse at a younger age he’s unaware of? It’s a sad case, but the girl needs psychological help (or as my father would have said, my foot up her butt!)

        At the end of the day, it’s not Facebook’s fault that the kid is behaving badly. That’s like suing McDonald’s because their coffee is too hot. Ridiculous. You know the coffee is hot. Take the appropriate precautions.

  3. Jan Stanners
    September 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    i think by focusing on Facebbok we’re missing the real question, which is “Where did a 12 year old learn that putting explicit pictures of herself out in public was a good idea?” Maybe she remembers when she was a little girl she learned that being pretty (which is dependent on the approval of others) was a a way to be rewarded by attention. All she is showing is that she knows what will get her that attention now that she is more physically mature…the 2 year old princess wears a bow in her hair and ruffled socks…the 12 year old princess may decide to post or sext a naked photo. Both get attention and approval. (I hate the whole ‘little princess” thing).

    It’s not just Facebook or Myspace. There have been a number of cases where youth were prosecuted for distributing pornography via ‘sexting’ (does not involve social media). If the picture is of an underage person then the charges can become distribution of child porn…and the person prosecuted could be the underage sender who sends pictures of him- or herself. Again let’s ask…why do these kids think it’s OK? Maybe wwe should ban cellphones with cameras…and webcams…and spray paint…and social media and hard rock (Marilyn Manson + Columbine)…and violent video games…

    • Patricia
      September 14, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Valid points Jan. Something else to consider…

      I have a daughter about the same age. We went back-to-school shopping. Try to find age-appropriate clothes for tweens and teens. I challenge everyone. Naturally she doesn’t want kittens and ‘baby stuff’ on her shirts, but when we move into the ‘misses’ section… Oh. My. God. Plunging necklines, everything see-through, cut-off-her-circulation-it’s-so-tight jeans, or jeans that BARELY cover the ‘vertical smile’.

      It’s disgusting how the fashion industry is trying to turn our young girls into vamps. Fashion, music videos, all of it… they send a perpetual message to our girls: “You’re only good for one thing, ho…” My daughter does NOT want to dress like that, but the selection is so limited now, it’s tough to find something that doesn’t make her look like a… aah, you fill in the adjective.

      It’s sick. We have to put a stop to it.

      But how? (Aye, there’s the rub…)

      • Nic
        September 14, 2011 at 10:05 am

        People still watch music videos? :P

      • Jan Stanners
        September 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

        Hi Patricia. To use an old Black Power phrase “Right on!!” What we need is a bunch of fierce mothers who refuse to socialize our daughters to be pleasing to the whole wide world. then they will tell people who criticize their clothing to hit the road. Gilrs need to learn from their families that they are more than a body and face…and I think Mommas are the first line of defence.
        I ran into the same problems with clothing when our daughter was younger and used an old technique from the 60s. Wrote letters to or emailed the PR divisions of several stores and told all my friends who had $$ and daughters to boycott the stores. Some rather offensive clothing was removed the window of two stores in our local mall. Maybe a small victory…but a lot of small victories in the 60s and 70s created a better world for our girls regarding education and work.

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