Thursday, 8 April 2010

Your parents 'like' this

Is facebook a force for good or evil?

On the one hand, it's a great way to keep in touch with all your friends at once without having to spend half the day composing emails to everyone in your address book. The flipside is that it's like a digital crack pipe, sucking you into its vortex of sheep throwing and 'like' tagging.

The Daily Mail has never been in any doubt - accusing the social networking phenomenon of everything from wrecking rental properties and driving people to suicide, to causing cancer. More recently, they ran a bogus story suggesting that young teenage girls could fall prey to predatory paedophiles before they've even uploaded a profile picture.

Since the journalist who penned the inflamatory article hadn't even been using facebook, the social networking giant was quick to respond with the threat of suing the Mail for the "brand damage that has been done".

So they're probably relieved to be able to report that facebook is figuring in another lawsuit - this time one that doesn't involve poor journalistic ethics. Instead, it's a court case focusing on the biggest problem currently facing most facebook users: oppressive parenting.

16-year-old Lane New is taking his mother to court for accessing his facebook account and snooping on his private life. As his mum Denise rightly points out, this is really just the 21st century equivalent of reading your child's diary or peering under their bed.

Of course, it doesn't help that Denise changed the login details on his account so he couldn't access his own page, and posted comments which he considered to be slanderous. Bizarrely, prosecutors have sided with the aggrieved teen, charging his mother under the state's harassment laws, which cover "conduct or... acts that alarm or seriously annoy another person.'

The problem with this, is that annoying one's children is every parent's prerogative. How else would children ever remember to do their homework or eat their greens? facebook has simply given the older generation a new way to show up and embarrass their offspring.

There's a whole subcategory of lamebook dedicated to overfamiliar parents who don't know when to but out of their kids' business:

The curse of interfering parents is now so commonplace that it's even inspired its own music video.

According to a recent report in the Guardian, more young people are living at home with their parents than in the last 20 years. So next time you complain that your parents are exchanging pleasantries with your friends on facebook, just remember that it could be a lot worse. They could still be telling you to wash your hands before dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment