Internet Law

'Open Season' on Parents: Mom Put on Probation for Posting on Son's Facebook Account


An Arkansas mother who posted messages on her 17-year-old son’s Facebook account, making it look as though social networking messages she wrote came from him, has been convicted of harassment and sentenced to a year of probation.

Denise New faces 30 days in jail if she violates the probation, which requires her to take parenting and anger management classes, reports the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. She must also pay a $435 fine.

She reportedly gained access to Lane New’s account after he left it open on his computer. Denise New then threatened to change the password so he couldn’t access it, according to evidence presented in the case. However, she and her lawyer said she never intended to harass her son, and mistakenly made some posts on his account that she intended to put on her own Facebook page.

Clark County District Court Judge Randy Hill said he was disturbed both by the manner in which the mother publicly disparaged her son and that she attempted to make it look as though he had been lying concerning a physical altercation that resulted in his talking with police, the newspaper reports.

“We live in a world now where what used to be said between two people or in a parking lot, now you hit a button and hundreds, maybe millions, of people can hear what you do,” said the judge. “It makes it maybe even more important for a person to think before they act because the amplification can be tremendous.”

Before trial, Denise New said it would be “open season” on parents if she was convicted for attempting to oversee her son’s Internet activities, reports the Associated Press.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Meddling Mom Charged with Facebook Harassment after Son Complains to Prosecutors”

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