If there’s one subject everyone seems to have an opinion on, it’s parenting. In a bold move, Denver mother Val Starks made a public display of her techniques in a now viral Facebook video in which she berates her daughter for lying about her age on the social media platform. The video, which has drawn mixed reactions from its nearly 12 million viewers, runs for more than five minutes, and features Starks confronting her 13-year-old daughter about posting racy photos and claiming to be 19-years-old.
Citing the very real dangers presented by sexual predators and anonymous strangers (whose own profiles could be duplicitous), Starks admonished her daughter, forcing her to repeat her real age. “You’re 13,” she says. “So why does your Facebook page say that your 19? Are you 19?”
When her daughter begins to cry, Starks does not relent, saying, “Are you a freak? Do you know anything about being a freak? You need to speak up so people can hear you. Don’t cry now. You wasn’t crying when you was posting pictures on Facebook, was you? In a bra? Some little girl in some lace panties that you know you don’t own. You still wear panties that say Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. You still have a bed time.”
Some people have applauded the display, with one viewer writing, “You most likely saved her life. She will realise one day how blessed she is to have a Mom like you. You truly deserve a medal, it is better she be embarrassed than dead.” Another commented, “You go momma!! Makes me proud to see strong single mothers like this….raising their kids right….you best believe one day her daughter goin thank her for his….thank God mom found out before her daughter would if dared to meet a stranger in public and the situation could have been worse. Well done!! Your daughter will be a good mom one day thanks to you setting a great example.”
Others, however, were less convinced, with one user saying, “This is straight humiliation! Every person saying great job how would you feel if we embarrassed you in front of the whole world! And if she’s posting naked half naked pics… guess what monitor her and she’s most likely following example… monitor her friends if needed. But embarrassing a child and yourself in front of the world that just wrong.” Indeed, the comment section of Starks’ Facebook page seems evenly divided between those supporting her decision and those decrying her actions, saying she took things too far to teach her daughter a lesson.
As for Starks herself, she says she has been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support, posting, “I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude, I thank each and every one of you. I have over 5,000 friends now. Facebook won’t let me accept any more.” Speaking with a local ABC News station, Starks said, “It was really hard for me to do, but I didn’t want to be another parent on Facebook putting out a video where I beat my child or anything like that. I wanted it to be something that showed from one mother to another mother, to the fathers out there struggling trying to raise a child or a teenage child, just to get them to be aware and to understand how serious it is and how important it is to be aware of what your child is doing at all times. Don’t ever say what you won’t do, or what your child won’t do, because you don’t know until it happens to you.”