I think we can all safely agree that there's nothing inherently easy about parenting. Or more specifically, raising a teenager, mostly because there likely isn't an adult alive who can't recall doing something extremely cringe-worthy as a teen themselves. But unlike in the past, parents today don't just have the grapple with attitude, immaturity, and poor decision-making skills that are the hallmark of the teen years — they also have to grapple with social media. Although she'd originally intended to send a message to her 16-year-old daughter and her friends letting them know she was not here for their behavior, this mom's rant on her daughter's Snapchat went viral after one of them shared it on Twitter.
The video first popped up online on Nov. 14, when user @antioniajoy_ shared the Florida woman's angry message with her followers. The user wrote, "y’all my friend got caught sneaking into his girls [sic] house and his gf’s mom posted this on her snap story."
At face value, that seems like every teen's ultimate nightmare, and the woman's no-holds-barred, expletive-laden smackdown is honestly pretty jarring to watch. But as further details emerged about what really led to the mother's anger, it became clear that this was much more than a video of a parent seemingly trying to embarrass their kid on their social media accounts.
The Florida mom — whose Twitter account, @emmasmom16, lists her name only as "Karen" — found herself going unexpectedly viral after she recorded a Snapchat video of herself angrily warning her daughter, Emma, and her friends that they were in big trouble. Karen explained in the clip that she'd found 16-year-old Emma's 20-year-old boyfriend hiding in her closet at 2:30 a.m., and blasted not only her daughter, but also her friends for "covering for her."
In the video, which now has over 9 million views on Twitter, Karen had one seriously stern warning for Emma's friends: "unless each of you motherf*ckers want me to come after y'all, and go to your parents and tell them the sh*t that y'all are doing, you better back the f*ck off, do you understand?"
For one, Karen claimed that Emma's boyfriend had given her a burner phone to use on which she'd added her Snapchat account, and though she fully acknowledged that Emma was responsible for her choices, Karen also reamed out her daughter's friends for being fully knowledgable of what was happening without saying anything. In the video, she said:
My kid's not going down. She's not going to be found dead in a ditch, she's not gonna be on f*cking drugs like half of y'all are. I'm f*cking over it. So if I have to go to the school and call you out name by name, if I have to go wherever and call you out, I will.
As for Emma's boyfriend? Unsurprisingly, Karen had a message for him too. She said, "to the 20-year-old who's f*cking my kid. She's 16, you sick motherf*cker. That's a felony charge — a felony charge you're fixing to keep."
In a follow-up video recorded the day after the original post went viral, Karen explained that her Snapchat video was only meant to go out to her daughter and her friends "who were stabbing [her] and Emma in the back by encouraging her bad behavior ... and then not telling [her] about it." But she also defended her actions against those who criticized her parenting, saying:
Yes, I care about what my children are doing ... I monitor [Emma's] social media all the time. I look at her phone all the time ... I keep an eye on my child all the time. She's still continuing to make bad decisions.
Romper's request for comment from Karen was not immediately returned.
Since then, Karen has taken to her Twitter feed to share the original video, as well as further tweets explaining her position and retweeting countless other users who have applauded her actions as being those of a loving, strict mom. And particularly given that, at 16 years old, Emma hasn't reached the legal age of consent in Florida according to The Survivor Alliance, many have viewed Karen's actions as entirely warranted in order to keep her daughter safe (in fact, Karen now has over 13,000 followers on Twitter thanks to the video).
One person who applauded Karen's actions wrote, "@emmasmom16 is actively parenting and some of [y'all] have the audacity to balk at her methods and actions. Nobody has all the options all the time! You have to go with your gut and act."
Another wrote, "Honestly it would’ve been helpful to have a strict mom like @emmasmom16 growing up because it would’ve saved me so much toxity in my life. I respect everything she’s doing."
Others, however, have criticized that Karen's strictness and Emma's lack of privacy. (In a tweet, Karen shared that Emma now has "no door, alarms have been installed on the windows, and as of now, her mattress is in [her mother's] bedroom floor.) One such user wrote, "Imagine being a teenager and having absolutely zero privacy and being outed and humiliated for the world to see by your mom - which I know wasn’t the mom’s intention but she still posted the snapchat where all of Emma’s friends could see them... Had my mother done that to me I personally think we could never have a normal relationship after that. "
Although I can't imagine that anyone would blame Karen for being angry and upset at her daughter and her boyfriend, it's also clear that there's nothing about the situation that is straightforward, and she definitely won't be the last parent who will have to wonder just how they're supposed to handle a situation with their teen that could have serious implications for their life and safety.
If nothing else though, this viral video does seem to illustrate how much social media has come to play a role in parenting these days, and how difficult and complicated that can really be.