Dad's Choice of Discipline for Sexting Daughter Sparks Controversy​

girl textingTongues are clucking today after a Louisville, Kentucky dad was arrested for allegedly assaulting his daughter after he discovered explicit photos of her on her cell phone. Tate D. Rhodes reportedly slapped his 17-year-old on her face and legs, pulled her hair, dragged her around the house and made her wear a burlap sack, according to Louisville Metro Police. As a result, he was arraigned and ordered not to have contact with his daughter, with bond set at $5K, the local media reported.

While some parents have come out swinging in defense of Rhodes, his particular actions seem totally unacceptable. Still, the case highlights the need for some sort of disciplinary action to be taken in response to teens' sexting. Because it's setting them up for not just potential torture in their own high school social circles, but legal trouble to boot ... 

More than 20 states—including California, New York, and New Jersey—have introduced laws recently that are aimed at teens caught sexting. The common theme: Sexually explicit images of kids under 18 is considered child pornography, and in some places, district attorneys can prosecute anyone who's gotten hold of such a picture, from the subject and photographer to the distributors and recipients. In other words, kids found taking and sending the sexts (statistically, girls), and those receiving them (usually boys) could be in serious HOT WATER with the law. That in itself is reason for parents to step up and do whatever it takes to educate kids about the potential consequences of their actions, but intervene and discipline if they have proof of sexting.

More from The StirPowerful Anti-Sexting Ad Is a Great Way to Start the Conversation With Your Kids (VIDEO)

And by disciplining, perhaps mom can sit down and talk to her daughter about more productive, less harmful ways to get a boy's attention. Or if worst comes to worst, deny cell phone/Internet privileges. Parents need to talk to their boys, as well, and make it clear that they're just as much to blame if they're soliciting sexts. Doing as much should warrant punishment.

What Rhodes did is absolutely outrageous, totally horrifying. But it's one extreme example of a battle parents are facing all the time, at unprecedented rates now. And yes, it's a battle worth fighting. Just not in the same way this father did.

What have you said to your teens about sexting? What would you do to discipline them if they were caught?


Image via Summer Skyes 11/Flickr

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nonmember avatar daughter12

I don't know what to say to this. What he did was extreme, you should never pull your daughters hair nor drag her across the house. If anything he should of just spanked her and thats it instead of being so violent and extreme. Also, I'm sorry but I know he probably didn't talk to his daughter before about the dangers of sexting and that's the problem a lot parents just figure their kids know better and don't feel the need to talk to their kid. Also, parents need to start talking to their kids about allowing others to pressure them into to these things they feel uncomfortable with. Saying that, I don't know if she was pressured into this. Maybe this person showed her the attention she wanted or maybe they were just bored because I know places like that are in the middle of nowhere and have nothing to do. Also, I'm not saying those reason justified what she did at all but just that we don't know what she was going through or how she got involved in this. This is just a sad story where a dad acted out of anger and a daughter who did something she shouldn't have been doing. I wonder who called the cops though.

nonmember avatar daughter12

I was reading comments on other sites and they supported this and said it was discipline. This was not discipline and others complaining the law doesn't allow you to discipline. Yeah I'm sorry that the laws doesn't let you pull your daughters hair and drag her around the house.

Mark Cox

take the phone...cant get violent though and a lot of judges here in houston would let him go in five seconds

iicar... iicarmerin

I think he crossed the line, his behaviour is abuse not discipline. If an adult did that to another adult he would get charged with assault, so it's not okay.

spice... spicemom101

I agree with the comment made by iicarmerin...well said.  My futher thoughts on this are:  His daughter's behavior was out of control, so he taught her by being out of control himself??? Children learn what they live, and IF he, (the adult), couldn't control himself, how can he expect it of her???  I'm glad he got in trouble for his violent abuse against her.   As for me, and for what I would do in this situation,  I only hope that my children have better sense then to do something as foolish as this...but if they did...cellphone and computer privileges would be suspended until I say otherwise.  Oh, and I would also contact all the parents of the recipients directly involved.

Rosanne Deegan

This guy is out of order but sometimes I think things just inevitably worse now? I mean, as a youth we all did some of the usual "You show me yours, I'll show you mine" - but at least there was no permanent record. The more of this I read, the more I fear I need to completely lock down my kids phones, tablets, computers, etc. Sure, they'll hate us for it, but perhaps we're saving them from themselves?

Already I mix autodetection *and* supervision, using things like for laptops and for phones and tablets. I then (try to) restrict access to particular times, particular places, etc. The parent's group at the school where my two girls go also has a monthly update on new ideas.

Problem is of course kids are so goddamn inventive, they always find a way round. But at least kids know we are watching. Perhaps Big Brother is the only way on this :(

pooki... pookietooth

This was not discipline, this was Daddy throwing a big tantrum and losing his sh!t, which is not the same thing at all. My teens would not sext, but if they were caught, they would be treated very differently than this girl. Lost phone priviledges, lost internet priviledges, etc. 

poiso... poisonedtaco

One thing I don't understand is how can it be considered child porn if the people looking at them are kids? I mean, does a teenage boy really want to look at an older person?

poiso... poisonedtaco

Also to the first commenter... Louisville is NOT in the middle of nowhere! I've lived there before. It's a pretty big city with LOTS to do!

nonmember avatar Jen

I think this is why people should just do the smart thing and stop giving their children fancy phones. Bring back the Nokia brick phone and let them figure out how to send sexy pics without a camera. I personally won't be getting my children anything with picture capability. Asking for trouble there.

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