The Great Facebook Bribe

Should a parent bribe a child not to use Facebook?

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Comments (16)

(16) SusanE, February 24, 2013 6:51 PM

Kid wanted money and Didn't want to work for it.

The daughter was asking for money. She didn't want to do any work for it. Heck, I'll quit Twitter for a month if you give me $200. Pay me Pay me, Daddy, for doing nothing. That's a lot easier than shoveling 20 sidewalks for $10 bucks each.......... isn't it Rabbi?

(15) Dov, February 17, 2013 6:53 PM

What's next?

While I applaud this young lady's recognition that her participation in social media was interfering with her grades, I am aghast that her father would succumb to her manipulation. What's next? Will she ask her father to pay her to abstain from having sex when she starts dating? He should simply have said that he was proud that she recognized the need for self-restraint in order to achieve a more important goal, and let her figure out a solution on her own that didn't involve extorting money from him. (even though he offered-it's still manipulation)

(14) Deirdre, February 16, 2013 1:48 AM

Teach your children

I teach my sons about everything-the more you hide from your children the more they will want to explore-if you teach your children to fear-they will hide things from you forever!

(13) Mike Brooks, February 14, 2013 4:54 PM

I would NEVER pay my child for this

Rabbi: I feel that discipline is not served by renumeration. I have 3 adult daughters who all have facebook accounts. However, were they still children under my roof, I would have an in-home network with a server that blocked facebook altogether. I very much share your concern over this issue. I don't claim to have the answers. I am not going to tell my adult daughers how to live their lives. One has already ruined her life but that's another issue for another time.

(12) devorah, February 13, 2013 9:03 PM

Here's how I read this

I don't really disagree with Reb Yaakov's premise, as it is; however, I don't - respectfully - see how it necessarily applies to the case in the news story. If he tells it right and I am reading between the lines accurately, the initiative came from the daughter and was not offered by the father. The father was approached by his daughter and the father choose to accept the proposition. I don't hear where the father had a strong opinion one way or the other on having a Facebook acct. Rather, he encouraged his daughter to follow through on a decision that would have been very challenging, with a moderate amount of monetary payoff to keep her on target. I see a parallel in, say a person who wants/needs desperately to lose weight, though as we know this can be one thing to want and quite another to commit to. Plenty of people in helping a family member to diet will promise an incentive such as money, clothes, a trip, whatever, to motivate in the same way. Facebook, as so many other internet preoccupations, is highly addictive (proven). How praiseworthy that this honor student began to recognize the dangerous situation she was stuck in, and came up with an idea that only dear-ol-Dad could oblige with. I don't see it as manipulative, although I obviously was not there and cannot know if the events leading up to the "bribe" included a fight with the Dad, after which daughter said, "So pay me then!" But neither does Reb Yaakov know. So how can we misjudge?

(11) melina, February 13, 2013 4:58 PM

are you joking?I have never heard something of that sort, where's the education of that girl? I mean, if yo have educated your child correctly she will understand that everything you ask him/her to do is his/her best, without questioning, and anyway, you can explain your children politely why isn't facebook good to be in. bribe????? what type of parents exist nowadays?? that girl is controlling her father's life, poor him.

(10) Liora, February 12, 2013 11:57 PM

If you simply tell a kid not to use Facebook, they will find a way behind their parents back to use it anyway. I think it the bribe is a good idea. Hopefully his daughter will love all the spare time she has without Facebook and will stay off it indefinitely. I cured myself of Facebook and haven't looked back!!

(9) Rachel, February 12, 2013 9:41 PM

Lighten up!

I don't have a Facebook account either (although with more and more companies conditioning discounts upon following them there, I may have to get one for that reason only.) HOWEVER: Many articles on this site over the years have told parents to use positive reinforcement to get their children's cooperation or to acknowledge it. If the father and daughter in the news story say it works for them, how is that any of our business? How is it any different, really, from promising to do something fun with the kids once they finish their homework, or offering a special present for good grades? Of course people need to internalize that it's better not to waste one's time on too much social media -- but 14-year-olds aren't known for having internalized such things yet. My parents were extremely strict; consequences were always punishment for misdeeds rather than rewards for doing something well. Not exactly the way to enhance a warm and loving family. Even Hashem offers good things for obeying the Torah as well as warning of punishments if we stray. Now THERE's something to think about!

(8) Sarah, February 12, 2013 9:25 PM


No, I wouldn't bribe a child living at home to do anything. But I have told my grandchildren that I will pay them $1000/year for not getting any tattoos or piercings between their 18th and 30th birthdays, payment at end. Peer pressure is high at 18 to do something wild and it means a lot to me that they don't do it. Two said yes, the third had rather have graphics. Bribery it may be, or a thank you.

(7) Marion, February 12, 2013 8:09 PM

To add on, I know several people whose obsession with either facebook or computer games has ruined their drive to succeed. I know one such boy who is on World of Warcraft so much, that he has had to repeat his senior year of high school. He is not a stupid boy - he is just too lazy to study. He is not the only one I know of either. In such a case as that, I would advocate completely taking away their access to the computer except when absolutely required for homework. There is no reason why parents cannot do this if need be - children do not run the show, except when the parents let them.

(6) Marion, February 12, 2013 8:04 PM

It's unconventional, but if she sticks it out, and she works hard in school, then why not? If she never worked hard in school in the first place and was just looking for a lazy way to make money, then I could understand it, but this is obviously a hardworking young woman who takes herself and her studies seriously and was perhaps just looking for a fun way to earn a bit of money. Who cares?

(5) Anonymous, February 12, 2013 7:26 PM

I would bribe my sister not to text on shabbos! It may be crazy that it comes to this but if it works i dont think its so crazy

(4) Melanie Vliet, February 12, 2013 6:08 PM


It sounds to me as though the girl was mature and bright enough to have determined for herself that Facebook was more of a hindrance to her than a benefit and would have given it up regardless of her father's willingness to pay her; she just wanted to get an extra benefit while she was at it. I think that he should have recognized this and either pointed it out to her or simply called her bluff by refusing to pay. If he saw Facebook as a truly harmful influence on his daughter, he should have forbidden her to use it in the first place rather than paying her to do what he believed to be in her best interest. He clearly demonstrated by letting her con him that she was smarter than he was.

(3) Anonymous, February 12, 2013 4:13 PM

parents are in control

Who paid for the computer or phone that your child is using? If the parent did, its's easy. IThe parent has the right to control as to what these devices are going being used for. I do believe it is important that a parent engages a child for your reasons..but ultimately it is the parent's decision Why is everybody so afraid of their childrenen?

(2) jack, February 11, 2013 6:44 AM

no problemo, yaakov

I recently offered my son a good chunk of money to stop sucking his thumb. He now has a nice bike, and a dry thumb. He needed that extra push, call it a bribe if you want. I don't think there is anything wrong with it. As long as her intentions were good and she really wanted to get off Facebook, I think it is a fine thing to do.

(1) Chavi, February 10, 2013 11:24 PM

Not only don't I have a facebook acct, I don't even know the difference between a blue tooth and a shark's tooth or a blueberry and a blackberry. I don't even use a cell phone! (gasp) I have one for emergency use only, and Assurance Wireless has warned me that if the phone is unused for 60 days I run the risk of losing it. And you know what? I don't miss any of them. Bribery is not the way to go. You want to engage your daughter in a conversation about why SHE should want to give up her facebook account - what does SHE stand to benefit thereby. (intrinsic motivation) Bribery is counterproductive. It destroys intrinsic motivation and, at the extinction of the bribe, the intrinsic motivation does not return, so she is virtually guaranteed to return to her facebook account. Also, I don't believe that a parent should allow himself to be manipulated in that way.


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