Kids Watch Their Dad's Suicide on YouTube

computer onlineAnother day, another frivolous lawsuit. Only the mom suing the Fox News Channel for airing footage of her husband's suicide that upset her children doesn't come across as your average money-hungry American. She sounds like a woman who is having a rough time, a mom who is protecting her kids.

Sadly, suing a TV news channel is too little, too late. Because JoDon Romero's kids didn't see his suicide on a television at all.


They saw it on YouTube.

Which, last I checked, is something that falls under a parent's purview ...

According to the lawsuit, Fox broadcast a police chase involving the father of three live, without a delay, during Studio B With Shepard Smith. They caught the moment when Romero got out of his car and shot himself.

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Soon, the video made the Internet, and Romero's kids caught wind of it at their high school. Unfortunately, the talk of a live suicide video didn't include names. So the Romero kids went home and all three -- ages 15, 13, and 9 -- sat down to watch.

I think we can all imagine what that was like for those poor kids, what every day since has been like for them.

I came thisclose to seeing a dear friend's body after he took his life, and more than a decade later, I can still remember every moment of that day. And I was an adult, he wasn't my father.

Their trauma is 10 times mine ... at least.

But while I feel for the family, I have trouble supporting a lawsuit against a TV station for something that really comes down to parenting.

She let her kids have unfettered access to YouTube, and she wants a TV network to pay for that?

Sorry, but being a sympathetic victim doesn't make you right.

The kids ARE probably traumatized by this unfortunate incident, but after the network aired the suicide, it was Mom's job to keep her kids away from it. No doubt she was busy -- her husband did just die -- but even busy parents need to be parents.

And when we fall down on the job, we have to suck it up and accept that it's our own faults -- not the rest of the world's.

When our kids run into things on the Internet that they went looking for, on purpose, while we weren't looking, that isn't someone else's fault. That's ours. Ours for not policing their Internet use or at least having a good long talk about what they SHOULD and should not be doing on the Internet.

I do feel bad for the Romero kids. They just lost their dad and in one of the most tragic of ways. But this lawsuit should fail, and its failure should send a very loud message to parents who don't bother to check up on their kids on the web.

There's a wild world out there that your kids can log on to. It's up to you to protect them.

What do you make of this lawsuit? Is it the network's fault or mom's?


Image via espensorvik/Flickr

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