A mother thought that her 13-year-old boy was ready to have a social media presence and allowed him to open several accounts on sites like Instagram and Reddit.
But when she discovered that her son began developing a distorted view of a certain demographic and was making demeaning comments online, she did what she thought was necessary to put an end to his online interactions.
Redditor aitathrowaway0-41 visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA For deleting my sons reddit account because it caused him to hate women?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote about when she started to notice her son’s worrisome behavior.
“Last year, I allowed my son to create a social media account as he turned 13 and he created a reddit, Instagram, and snapchat account, however he spends most of his time on reddit.”
“Ever since he made a social media account, his behavior changed to the worse.”
“He started talking to me and his father about how men are oppressed in the western world and women have it so much better. While at first I didn’t give it much attention, this attitude grew larger and larger.”
“He started commenting bad on posts made by women on Instagram. For example, his cousin shared an amazing art she made and shared the picture on Instagram and my son called her an attention whore for including herself in the picture.”
“On another post written by my daughters friend about how she’s struggling with something he wrote ‘boohoo men have it x10 worse and if we complain u girls will just laugh at them.'”
“Yesterday he left his laptop opened while he was out and he didn’t log out of his reddit account. I took a look at the subreddits he is following and there are many hate towards women there.”
“I also read his comments and dm’s and this is when I decided that I should make my son delete his reddit account. When my son returned home I forced him to delete his reddit account and no longer allow him to enter instagram and snapchat for a while. I also blocked reddit on his iPhone.”
“My son is obviously really upset about this and my husband told me that I am overreacting but I don’t think I am. What do you guys think?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors declared NTA but also urged the OP to explain to her son why his view towards women was damaging.
“NTA but please make sure you’re having open conversation on what’s wrong with these views and communities in addition to cutting off his social media.”
“If you just shut it down, it’s a punishment. If you shut it down and pair it with discussions about the views he’s adopted (and probably therapy) it’s a learning experience. Good luck!” – Alice_is_Falling
“Agreed, also point out how most of the guys advocating these views are losers who have never been in any kind of relationship.”
“Similarly, showcase successful feminist male role models he probably already looks up to (Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth…etc) as positive examples.” – Pleasecede
“I don’t think their lack of relationships is what makes them losers. Them being hateful a**holes who thinks the world revolves around them and thinking they’re entitled to sex and women is what makes them a loser.”
“But yeah, maybe the word loser isn’t the best thing for op to say while talking to her son.” – cristidablu
“It’s important to make sure the cause and effect is clearly understood. They aren’t losers because women aren’t interested in them… women aren’t interested in them because they’re losers.”
“They don’t mistreat women because women have scorned them. Women scorn them because they mistreat women.”
“To quote the movie ‘The Social Network’, ‘…you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an a**hole.'” – tgunter
“Deleting the social media apps is a good start, but talking with your son about what he read is probably even more important.”
“Of course, it would help if your husband agreed with you. NTA.” – waterdevil19144
Others thought the father’s reticence was cause for alarm.
“The fact that your husband doesn’t seem as concerned about this as he should be is alarming, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps your son has gotten a bit of that attitude from his dad.” – PillowOfCarnage
“Yeah, it sounds like he may be learning from observing his dad.” – roomonfire47
“The fact that dad thinks she’s overreacting is kinda telling to me, too. I don’t want to make assumptions but I know if my kid was developing these ideas, my (male) partner would be doing whatever he could to nip that in the bud.” – sunlit_cairn
The OP mentioned she was considering taking her son to therapy.
“Don’t consider it, do it yesterday. He was not radicalized by social media. His social media activity is a reflection of something that is not right about his perceptions and thinking that needs to be addressed.”
“You won’t solve this by taking away a means of expressing his misogyny.” – wildferalfun
“Yes, definitely a therapist. Boys at this age are desperate for female attention and validation.”
“When they don’t get it they can turn very negative and resentful. This turns into a self fulfilling prophecy because that attitude is toxic to girls.”
“I’d permanently delete all social media, get him into therapy (have him pick his own therapist, maybe a younger male he can trust) and most importantly get him into some hobbies that he will excel at that will attract female validation.”
“Sports, art, theater, volunteering. It sounds like he has too much time on his hands and low self esteem.” – merchantofdeaf88
“Make sure you follow up on this.”
“He’s in a dangerous place and if you just look like an oppressive woman being a prime example of all the woman hate he thinks it’s legit.”
“This is a pivital point in life where he goes the wrong way he may end up being a very bad part of society.”
‘Also a little worried your husband doesn’t see the issue here.” – devedander
The OP did receive some criticism for her lack of supervision from the beginning.
“NTA for deleting the social media.”
“YTA for letting a 13yo on social media unsupervised. He has been on Reddit and social media for a year and you are just now looking at what he is reading?? Seriously??”
“My son is about to turn 13. I know this is the unpopular opinion, but no 13 year old needs to be on Reddit and most other social media platforms where they have the ability to interact with adults unhindered.”
“ESPECIALLY when they are being left unsupervised. Yes kids need privacy, but letting them roam the internet without any guidance isn’t good or healthy.”
“I reserve the right, with my kids, to check their texts, emails and browsing history on their electronic devices. I also pay attention to who they are adding to their game accounts. It’s called being involved.”
“Is my system perfect – are my kids perfect – am I perfect? Absolutely not, but my kids are respectful and mindful. We TALK about what’s going on in the world, and always remind them that if they ever have questions they can come to me.”
“I tell them what I believe and why I believe it, as well as how other people may not think the same way and why. And I certainly don’t give them absolute free reign on the internet.” – calamity125
At this point, Redditors are hoping the OP will follow through and take her son to therapy before his anti-women views take deep root during his formative years.