Suing and Social Media

April 8, 2010  |  Facebook

You’ve heard the song.  You’ve seen the video.   Remember the scene where Jason Alexander throws a cafe latte at the Starbucks barista because the cuppa java isn’t hot enough?  It’s called “Celebrity”.  And at one point, country star Brad Paisley famously sings,  “Can’t wait to date a supermodel.  Can’t wait to sue my Dad.”  Well guess what?   He isn’t a celebrity, but a 16 year old boy in Arkansas is now suing his Mom.  And all because of Facebook. (More…)

Denise New reportedly hacked into her son’s Facebook account because she was disturbed by some of the things he was posting… including the claim he had driven home one night at 95 mph because he was upset with a girl.  New plans on fighting the harassment charges she’s facing as well as the lawsuit.  She believes she was fully within her rights as a parent to monitor her son’s online behaviour.  What say you?  Is it an invasion of privacy?  Or is it really your right as a parent to oversee your child’s Social Media interactions?  Seems to me to be the online equivalent of my Mom listening in the hallway outside the rec-room in the 1970s just to make sure everything was “okay in there”.  Sue my Mom???  You’ve got to be kidding me. ;-)

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11 Comments


  1. Although everyone’s points are valid, I’ve gotta go with Alvin. Damned if you do damned if you don’t. I’d opt for the damned if you do. Being a parent is our first obligation. Our kids are 23 and 19. We’ve always told them NEVER put anything on paper or in photos you don’t want us to see. Chances are we will or someone else you don’t want to have access to it will.
    I must point out that Macie has a point, a very, very valid point but it depends on the child’s age. Predators rely on parent’s inability or fear of invasion of privacy. They count on it and they’re usually right. We gave them the sense of entitlement (unfortunately) and it’s our duty to take it away from them and give them back a proper childhood.

  2. Macie… Thanks for taking a look at this from a different perspective. You make a good point. I don’t think it’s necessarily WHAT this mother did, it’s HOW she did it. Hacking into your child’s Facebook account is probably the modern-day equivalent of reading your son or daughter’s diary. You may have the best of intentions, but at the end of the day, the child is going to feel a boundary has been crossed. I guess the challenge is to lay down the ground rules when the Facebook account is opened. I have friends who insist that their child must approve them as a “Facebook Friend”, so that everything they communicate is under the watchful eye of Mom or Dad. ;-)

  3. Personally, I think the mom should have tried to talk to her son before going behind his back and invading his privacy. Ok, so maybe the boy wouldn’t tell his mom anything, but she should have at least tried to have a conversation before invading his privacy. It’s never ok to ’snoop’ around. period. even if it is one’s own child. Speaking from experience, breaking a teenager’s trust by invading their privacy will only make them lie and hide things from their parents. I agree that it is a parent’s responsibility to keep their children safe, but there are many other ways to do that.

    …I’m just glad that facebook or texting weren’t around when I was a teen. That being said, I would have never sued my mother! Ridiculous!

  4. Great point, Catherine! Cyber-bullying is a fact of Social Media life. I agree that parents have a duty to monitor their child’s online behaviour. Would you let you son or daughter run out into the middle of the highway during rush-hour? Why would you let them do the same on the information highway?
    And Marianna… Yes! It’s a DUTY to keep your children safe. Posting on the internet is the furthest you can get from a private act… It is public – for all the world to see – INCLUDING your parents!

  5. What a great hook to get me to read this. Suing his MOTHER? Whatever next? As parents we have a duty to keep our children safe, physically, emotionally and online. An invasion of privacy occurs when you make public something someone wanted private. Posting online is not a private act.

  6. Catherine Maybrey

    I agree that the mother was completely within her rights to check up on her teen. Given the events that led up to the tragic death of Phoebe Prince, with the cyber stalking and bullying, it seems that more parents should be monitoring their children’s online behaviour.

  7. Right on, LAM 2-D! One of the big concerns here is that we are raising a generation of young people who believe that “anything goes”. Manners, respect, integrity and accountability have flown out the window, and in my view it’s up to us to do something about it. Bravo to that Big-3 Car maker for putting parental controls into place on the road. Now that real-world highways are being policed in some way, it’s time for us to tackle that big information highway!

  8. Well all I can say is yes these young folk think these wirelss technical highways are just for them to post anything they please, but again its a responsibility and a priviledge not a right that to my mind has to be respected, earned and policed which is what this concerned mother was doing..

    This young lad wants to sue his Mom, will his allowance if any cover the court costs….??

  9. Well with some of the covert activities our young people seem to be doing these days I think the Mom was totally okay with her desire to check up on her young son and make some corrective comments to his behaviour. This anything goes on these social media sites is getting to be a bit too much…
    In fact I just read where one of the big 3 carmakers has designed a keyfob where by parents can preprogram it to govern the speed on the car and the volume on the radio before handing it over to their kids ….Maybe a few more restrictions like that on sites like Face book are in order.

  10. Great observation, Alvin! They say that every person who takes the time to express their opinion on paper or online represents thousands more who feel the same… so I think it’s a safe bet that you’re in good company.;-) Seems at least some young people regard Facebook as the Wild, Wild West – a place where anything goes, anything can be said, and anyone can be “befriended”… all in “private” and away from the prying eyes of parents. It comes as a rude shock when Mom and Dad have the nerve to intervene. I agree with you. To think these kids honestly believe it’s time to hire a lawyer when that intervention comes seems tough to fathom.

  11. As a parent of one teenaged daughter and another who just turned 20, I think this mom was totally within her rights. If this kids wants more privacy then perhaps he should find himself a new landlord and start paying his way. Just another example of the attitude of entitlement so prevalent today. Parenting can seem like a no win situation at times. If you give them the privacy they want you are an absentee parent if you don’t you are sued.

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