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Click, Cluck Goes the Online Shame Game

Every week it’s someone new. Perhaps you saw the Mexican singer two weeks ago whose maxi pad fell out from under her dress as she performed on live TV. Then a hacker outed the names of subscribers to Ashley Madison, the “discreet” hookup site for married cheaters.

From illegal (abusive cops) to immoral (campaigning politicians) to merely unfortunate (bozo parents), the online stranger-shaming game offers up viral gotcha videos every single day.

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My Child, My ‘Friend’?

As a mom or dad, you hear it all the time. Too often. It’s one of those firm parenting axioms recited by smug sages — like “sleep when your baby sleeps” — that’s as nonnegotiable as it is unachievable.

“Children don’t need a friend,” the advice goes. “They need a parent.” And it’s true. Except on Facebook, where it turns out to be entirely false.

After years of careful evasion, my husband and I finally let our 8th grader create a Facebook account. We’d been holding out, we said, because publishing personal information to hundreds of people requires a modicum of maturity; crude comments and damning photos can have disastrous consequences.

But here was the real reason: We didn’t want him to see our crude comments and damning photos on Facebook: The status updates whining about our kids’ whining. The picture of dual-mounted street signs at the intersection of Inyo and Butte. The absurd pages I support, including one called “When I was a kid I thought Cal Worthington said ‘Pussycow,’ not ‘Go See Cal.'”

But our reasons for keeping the kid off social-networking sites (“Beware the cyber bullies, whatever those are”) were growing thinner, and our hypocrisy (“We’ll discuss this later, son; I’m busy on Facebook now”) ever fatter. So we caved.

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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