In the Nov. 26 issue, a letter writer who called herself Responsible Parent lit into Sarah Palin for raising her kids wrong. Sixteen-year-old Willow Palin and 20-year-old Bristol Palin had made headlines for lashing out at Facebook friends who were critical of their mom's reality TV series. The foul-mouthed exchange included such insults as "effin fat as hell," "faggot," "dumb ass" and "low life loser."
Responsible Parent believes that Palin failed to provide parental oversight, while claiming that she herself closely monitors her kids' Facebook accounts. Here's a response from someone who thinks Responsible Parent is fooling herself.
Dear Tell All: I'm no fan of Sarah Palin, but I can't agree with Responsible Parent that she's to blame for the way her kids converse on Facebook. The Facebook world is like the Wild West. Parents can try to be sheriffs if they want, but it's a losing battle. Believe me, I've tried.
I find it amusing that Responsible Parent thinks she has her kids' social-media habits under control. Oh, so you made them give you their passwords so you can keep an eye on their accounts? And you really think that solved the problem? Well, what if they've started other accounts that you don't know about? Are you on top of their MySpace accounts, too? And their text messages? As soon as you think you have your finger in the social-media dike, another hole spouts.
I also find it laughable that you think your kids are behaving like proper lords and ladies on Facebook just because you've raised them well. Looking over my own kids' shoulders at the computer screen, I've seen the most polite, seemingly well-behaved kids from our neighborhood talk like tramps and guttersnipes in Facebook exchanges.
Ultimately, who cares? Facebook gives kids a safe way to try on personas, to let off steam and to misbehave a little bit. In other words, to do what kids have always done. I read over the Palin kids' Facebook exchange and saw nothing but the kind of stupid stuff zillions of kids say every day. They don't mean half of it.
The best thing for adults to do in this situation is butt out.