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Politicians’ kids take to Twitter with racist, homophobic rants

Should parents take responsibility for comments their kids make online?
Should parents take responsibility for comments their kids make online?
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If a teenager uses offensive or racist language online, is it the parents fault? That's the question plaguing high profile members of Congress after their children used a string of racist and homophobic language on Twitter.

Tanner Flake, the teenage son of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake used some severely homophobic statements and splashed around the N-word on Twitter and YouTube. Nevada Congressman Joe Heck's son was also caught making racist comments on Twitter including some that say President Barack Obama is only good at "spear chucking and rock skipping." Both politicians have apologized for the behavior of their kids.

If this type of language wasn't coming from a politicians child, would it be as offensive? Should we hold the children of public figures to a higher standard? How do you think this reflects on the character of the politicians themselves? How common is such behavior among teens?


Karen North, Ph.D., Director, Annenberg Program on Online Communities, University of Southern California

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