Laptop-shooting dad fights off fame

Last updated 12:37 14/02/2012
Tommy Jordan

BANG, BANG, KISS GOODBYE: A screen shot from the YouTube video that has made Tommy Jordan a parenting legend.

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Tommy Jordan's "tough love" parenting style has polarised the internet but despite a visit from police and child protection services - and having to chase TV crews off his lawn - he says he'd do it all again in a heartbeat, except wearing a different hat.

The eight-minute video of Jordan shooting his snarky 15-year-old daughter Hannah's laptop in response to her Facebook rant about being a "slave" to chores has been viewed around 22 million times on YouTube.

The reaction has been mixed between those who idolise Jordan for doing what many parents wish they could do, to others including parenting experts who say Jordan is setting a bad example and could give his daughter self-esteem issues.

On his Facebook page, Jordan, who has declined all interviews, has been assuring his many fans that he is no "hero" or "super dad" and, despite many requests, no, he will not be running for President.

He said if he had the option to do it all again, he'd do it "almost the same" except this time he wouldn't be smoking a cigarette (his wife hates them) and would be wearing a different hat and clean boots.

Jordan said he had been visited by police and child protection services - "they received enough 'oh my god he's going to kill his daughter' comments that they had to" - but they expressed no qualms.

"The police by the way said 'Kudos Sir' and most of them made their kids watch it," he said.

"How about those apples? Didn't expect THAT when you called the cops did you?"

Jordan said a "nice lady" from child protection services looked through his house and interviewed his daughter and found nothing to be concerned about. His guns were unloaded and stored securely in their rack - and Jordan says he even got some parenting tips out of the visit.

Jordan on Facebook railed against today's youth who he says are "self entitled, adverse to working and basically have no usable skills taught to them in schools". He said modern parenting raises ill-prepared kids "who can't do anything and have no skills because they're protected from even learning them until 18".

On YouTube, Jordan's video was accompanied by a warning to other kids: "If you're so disrespectful to your parents and yourself as to post this kind of thing on Facebook, you're deserving of some tough love. Today, my daughter is getting a dose of tough love."

University of California professor of psychology Alison Gopnik appears to agree with Jordan. Writing in The Wall Street Journal in an article titled "What's wrong with the teenage mind?", Gopnik wrote that in more primitive times childhood education involved formal and informal apprenticeship and kids learned skills needed to accomplish their goals as adults. But today's kids, she said, gain little experience beyond going to school.

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Each of Jordan's Facebook posts has hundreds, if not thousands of comments largely from fans of his parenting style. He has used his newfound fame to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and promote his own IT projects.

The media interest has been intense with camera crews visiting his house at all hours. "I just had a friend run Good Morning America off my lawn ... grr," Jordan wrote in one Facebook post.

Jordan also claims US TV network CBS offered him his own show but he turned them down.

He also complained about impostors who had been posing as him online and chatting to people, while threatening legal action against those "illegally duplicating the video".

But Jordan himself acknowledged that it was impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. There are now scores of responses, remixes and even a cartoon version of his rant on YouTube.

Social media expert Thomas Tudehope said the case was a stark reminder of the permanent and public nature of social networking sites. "A Facebook rant is there for all to see," he said.

- Sydney Morning Herald


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