Son plans to sue mother over Facebook interference

A 16-year-old in Arkansas is reportedly suing his mother, claiming she has harassed him on Facebook.

When your mom asks to become your Facebook friend, it can feel like that time when she insisted on standing in the corner, sipping a nonalcoholic drink, at your high school dance.

A teenager in Arkansas, however, has become so annoyed with his mother's Facebook intrusion that he has reportedly decided to sue her for harassment.

According to KATV-TV, the 16-year-old son of Denise New from Arkadelphia claims that she hacked into his Facebook account, changed his password, and even posted things about him that were slanderous.

Do parents really understand their kids' Facebook rules? CC Moe/Flickr

New told KATV: "You're within your legal rights to monitor your child and to have a conversation with your child on Facebook whether it's his account, or your account, or whoever's account."

She said she read things on his Facebook page that suggested he had driven home one night at 95 mph because he was upset with a girl. (Oh, you knew a girl had to be involved here, didn't you?) This appears to have prompted some kind of Facebook intervention.

Her son's grandmother is his custodian, but New told KATV that she had enjoyed an excellent relationship with him prior to the Facebook fallout. Now she faces the prospect of a court date on May 12.

A Clark County prosecutor wouldn't comment on this specific case but did cite Arkansas harassment law: "A person commits the offense if with purpose to harass, annoy or alarm another person without good cause, he engages in conduct or repeatedly commits acts that alarm or seriously annoy another person."

That seems to be a set of words to which there could be various interpretations. How does one prove one is seriously annoyed? Does one have to be seen and heard raising one's voice and twitching maniacally in public? Does one have to merely tell people: "I am seriously annoyed about this"? Or does one have to make it one's status update?

Mom clearly intends to fight for her right to put her face into her son's Facebook. She told KATV: "I'm not gonna let this rest. I think this could be a precedent-setting moment for parents."

I know there are one or two parents who might be reading this, so I wonder how many will admit to monitoring their 16-year-old's virtual (and, therefore, actual) life. And how many might admit to commenting on it on their child's Facebook page?

 

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