Last week, I read an article on Medium.com, written by Heather Ryan and entitled “How to Tell if Your Daughter is Dating Brock Turner.”
As a mom to 2 teenage girls, I am extremely interested in arming myself with any and all ways to make sure they are safe at all times. Many of you have read or heard about the Stanford student, Brock Turner, who raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster and was subsequently convicted. (Sadly and outrageously, he was only sentenced to 6 months in county jail with the possibility of probation after only 3 months. That’s an argument that Heather also took on in an extremely well-written article on her blog.)
As I read Heather’s article about the six signs you can watch for to see if your daughter is dating Brock Turner, one of the signs, Social Media, caught my eye and warrants highlighting:
What kind of social media posts does her boyfriend share? Let’s start with…are you following him on social media? No? You need to. Yes, I know the arguments…I trust my daughter, yadda, yadda. This isn’t about your daughter. It’s about the men in her life. If her boyfriend is posting demeaning, vulgar and violent comments/pictures/videos about women online, how do you think he views women? How do you think he sees your daughter? Once again I would bet (maybe I need a trip to Vegas?) if you had access to Brock Turner’s social media you would see some nasty stuff. I doubt you’ll have access to your daughter’s boyfriend’s computer, but if we had access to Brock Turner’s, I can guarantee you he has an overwhelming amount of pornography, some of which would be violent.
I couldn’t agree more with Heather’s suggestion about leveraging social media to get to know who your daughter (or son) is dating. Social media provides parents a wonderful tool that our parents never had!
A quick perusal of his/her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc pages, even Googling them, will allow you to make a fairly accurate assessment and to look for the other signs that Heather mentions in her article (link to full article below).
We’ve seen story after story in the news media about children who have become victims of predators- both cyber and physical. I’ve written about some of them in this blog, and often, social media is to blame. However, as parents, we also have an opportunity to get to know the peers, boyfriends, girlfriends, and new friends our children are spending time with when they aren’t with us. That opportunity is social media.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that social media content should be the only information used for a parent to render judgement on someone their child is hanging out with, but I do believe it is a.) a great place to start, and b.) a way to look for some of the red flags Heather points out in her article.
A public stage like social media can tell you a lot about a person, and the investment in time to check out who is spending time with your son or daughter may be well worth it.