The mother who 'outed' her daughter's Facebook lie
Millions have watched an American mother who discovered that her 13-year-old daughter was pretending to be 19 online, and publicly "outed" her in an angry Facebook video. But is it right to shame teenagers in this way?
Val Starks was furious when she discovered that her 13-year-old daughter had a secret Facebook account and was pretending to be much older online. Not only that, but her daughter was using the account to chat to older men, and had even uploaded photos of herself in her underwear. The Denver mother confronted her daughter - and posted the video to Facebook as a punishment.
The five-minute long confrontation has since been watched more than 11m times and has been shared around the world. In it, Starks repeatedly asks her daughter to confirm her real age is 13, and tells her that she will be grounded for the whole summer with no access to TV or the internet. Halfway through the footage, her daughter starts to cry and begs to not be forced to go to school the next day, but Starks is unrepentant. "There's no reason for her to want that kind of attention," she later told ABC News.
In a second video uploaded to Facebook after the first went viral, Starks explained that she is a convicted felon who had served prison time and has difficulty finding a job. She says she's keen for her children not to suffer the same fate. "I'm an adult who made a bad decision and I had to suffer the consequences, and I'm still suffering the consequences" she said. "I told her, 'You're a kid who made a bad decision and there are consequences to that.'"
More than 10,000 people have commented on the film which divided opinion around the world. Some supported Starks and were critical of her daughter's behaviour. "If she's smart enough to lie & deceive on FB to get attention she should be smart enough to apologise & admit her wrong" said Ifetola Fadeyibi from Nigeria. "You are trying to preserve her innocence and child hood" agreed Tasha Ritter from Indiana, USA.
But others disagreed. "Someone please explain to me how humiliating your child or anyone for that matter is a good practice" wrote Carissa Wilson from Arizona. "This isn't good parenting, this is bullying" commented a teenager from Brighton in the UK.