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KRISH ASHOK
TECHNO BABEL

Krish Ashok is a blogger, humourist, techie, columnist, liitle bit violin player, lot of fool-player.

Parents Gone Wild: Sometimes it’s better not to click ‘Post’

his week, the Internet threw up a viral video featuring a cowboy hat-wearing tech-savvy father of a rebellious teenager daughter unloading a 0.45 pistol. No, before you get shocked, it's not what you think. This was a tech savvy father of a badly behaved daughter who retorted to a particularly nasty post by the girl about her parents on Facebook by publicly reading out that post and proceeding to unload some 0.45 bullets into her laptop. And he then posted it to Youtube. Predictably, there was outrage over his, shall we say, exaggerated and over-the-top response, to what was essentially a teenager ranting on Facbeook. But on the other hand, he had an equal number of supporters too.

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In the ‘60s, rebellious kids simply resorted to psychotropic substances and insanely good live rock music to get back at their parents. Now, they write long whiny posts on Facebook

"Parenting done right", went one of the posts on the Internet's most popular social news sharing site, Reddit. The girl was, after all, whining about having to do chores around the house, a sentiment that even the roguish populace of the Internet simply cannot support. So it was considered quite OK for the father to expend an expensive bullet on a not-so-expensive laptop, one that we presume he will not replace till some household chores peace treaty is signed between the rebel faction and parental HQ. But let's leave that aside. The larger issue here is one of parenting in a social media era. When I was young, the only people I could rant about the tyranny of my parents to was either my grandmother or a few friends in school. With Facebook, that sympathising audience has just multiplied a few times. Plus on Facebook, you don't really need to put your hands on the crying person's shoulder and understand his or her problems. You can just hit the like button on the cribbing post. But then, Facebook friends aren't really like real life friends, but that's a different issue. Airing the domestic dirty linen on the balcony of the social networking world is the issue.

n the '60s, rebellious kids simply resorted to psychotropic substances and insanely good live rock music to get back at their parents. Now, they write long whiny posts on Facebook that garner several hundred likes and a bunch of comments written in a form of English most parents today will not understand.

Well, to be fair and balanced, it's not as if parents didn't wield any sticks in the past. They did. Even once corporal punishment began to be frowned upon, they always had the pocket-money-fiscal-control technique and other ways to send a stern message to their kids. But what can parents do when their kids write nasty things about them in public and also prevent them from responding there (yes, that's what Facebook privacy settings and social circles are for)? It's in that context that we need to look at our cowboy dad's over-the-top response. He first established that, as a tech savvy parent, he can find ways to read that post that his daughter tried to hide from him. Then he used the Internet generation's way of getting the message across. A viral video. And what makes a video viral? Over-the-top usage of firearms on low quality consumer electronics owned by badly behaved kids.

Personally, I didn't mind what the dad did because I think the girl is old enough to realize that what she had done was quite petty and immature. Hey, if you think you are being rebellious by being angsty on Facebook, your father is sure as hell justified in becoming an Internet celebrity at your expense. In my view, it's almost an inflection point of sorts where we are starting to see the first generation of Digital Native parents, after years of stumbling in the labyrinthine chaos of the Internet, finally figuring out the web era's equivalent of the "You are grounded" technique.

 
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