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Dad pays 14-year-old daughter $200 to quit Facebook

A father makes his 14-year-old daughter sign a contract that means for a mere $200 she will not be on Facebook for five months. He is paying in installments.

The agreement as posted on Baier's blog.
Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If there's one thing young people truly understand, it's bribery.

From their very formative years, parents bribed them to keep quiet, behave, wear appropriate clothing -- even, sometimes, desist from using rude words.

So it might seem utterly canny of Paul Baier, the vice president of a Massachusetts energy company, to find a veteran's method to get his daughter away from Facebook.

But this tale isn't quite so simple.

I am grateful to Daily Dot for revealing that Baier made 14-year-old Rachel sign a Facebook Deactivation Agreement, which he then posted to his own blog.

What's deeply moving is that this blog's usual purpose is to offer deep discussions about sustainability.

This makes one wonder just how much sustainability Rachel will have.

Despite signing away the next five months of her life to be Facebook-free, the temptations upon her will be great.

Her friends may shun her. She may suddenly be regarded as not cool enough for school. This is enormous pressure to put on one at such a tender stage of her development.

Yet her signature -- in abnormally neat handwriting for a contemporary 14-year-old -- is there for all to see.

What is also there for all to see is that she intends to use the $200 in order to buy "stuff."

Paul Baier's canniness stretches to the terms of payment.

Rachel has to show willing before she will even see a dime. Her first payment of $50 won't arrive until April 26. The remainder isn't due until June 26.

I can think of many a contractor who would have balked at those terms.

A recent study suggested that people are, quite naturally, tired of Facebook.

And here's the twist. This wasn't dad's idea -- though I bet the binding agreement was. It seems that Rachel just got bored of Facebook.

Paul Baier told the Daily Dot: "It was her idea. She wants to earn money and also finds Facebook a distraction and a waste of time sometimes. She plans to go back on after the 6 months is over."

One can only hope that he will offer regular updates on how Rachel is filling up her Facebook time and what kind of "stuff" she intends to buy.

When she finally gets some money, that is.