This performance highlights a nagging sense among many parents that we have lost our way as a culture (and that social media is somehow responsible). It in essence is tapping into a fantasy we have as parents that if we just practiced “tough love” and didn’t “spare the rod,” all would be fine. Our children wouldn’t use Facebook and we would have proper, obedient, technology free children. But the reality is that “tough love” won’t stop teens from wanting to have a separate space from parents. I agree with the general sentiment many of the commenters posted regarding setting boundaries, but shooting a laptop isn’t teaching a lesson, it’s venting. In my view, discipline has to come from a position of detached, dispassionate calm. If discipline comes from anger, its hard to separate out what is in the best interest of your child and what’s just you “blowing off steam.” If you watch this video, you can’t help but be struck by how much “venting” is going on as he is shooting his daughter’s laptop. I’ve been angry like that before… there’s a lot of pain and disappointment underneath the bravado.
The main problem is that Facebook creates a “separate space” from parents where their content is recorded for posterity. If the daughter could have vented without a digital transcript, the parent’s would have been none the wiser and the world would have been spared an ugly viral video. This is the challenging and frustrating thing about our age — we’re not changing our core emotional make-ups, we’re losing discretion and discernment as to when we should express emotions.