Punishing your kids shouldn't extend to social media

A parent has the right to discipline her children when they behave badly. And while a two-hour, seven-kilometre walk might have been a bit harsh for two boys who were rude to the bus driver, it was within their mother’s prerogative and she walked the entire way with them, so they were never at risk.

But posting a photo of the punishment on Facebook was, as I’m sure the mother has already discovered, a step too far. Teaching your kids a lesson is one thing. Exposing them to national attention is quite another. Many of us are so used to sharing every moment on social media that we forget that it’s very public and very permanent. When your posts are viewed by only a small circle of friends, they are largely inconsequential.

But very quickly they can be shared widely and your kids can suddenly become national news. I’m sure that’s not what their mother intended, but it’s a valuable lesson to all of us. We should resist the instinct to fish for compliments and we should never post anything we don’t want the whole world to see.

Listen for 60 Seconds with Sutcliffe weekdays at 6:20 am, 8:20 am, 4:20 pm and 6:20 pm on 1310 NEWS. And join me and my guests on Ottawa Today, featuring discussion and analysis of the big stories of the day, weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.