Parenting In The Age Of Internet Punks

The online teasing of a trash-talking 11-year-old girl gets uglier and uglier.  Alexis Madrigal has a poignant take on the enraged reaction of her father (now removed from YouTube but preserved in Internet parody):

[Y]ou know, there was a time when these kinds of threats worked, and maybe it was a good thing. Words like that from a dad just might put a scare into some cruel 13-year-olds on a mission to ruin some kid's life for fun. In the old days, dads could handle harassment of their little girls. They'd pick up the phone line and yell at prank callers. They'd show up at schools and tell some kids to back off.

Parents want to protect their children, but a precondition of that is being able to know what or who the threat is. Father and daughter alike are now living inside one of those nightmares where the thing that's out to get you remains perpetually just out of sight and reach.

FROM. HER. FATHER. Those words used to mean something. Mostly it meant, "I'm a full-grown man and I'm willing to use physical force to stop you from hurting my kid, you punk kid." But who is the man in this video going to scare? Everyone knows his threats are empty, that he's bluffing and helpless. And he does, too, which must make it all the more enraging.