Children of divorce: Socmed spying goes too far


A director of software development, Reginald Scott Braithwaite, working in Ontario, Canada, resigned a few days ago, ‘following changes to the social media policies that meant managers were permitted to log in to prospective employees’ social media accounts.’ (ref ‘Dear Mr. President, hereby, I resign’, April 3, 2012)

It’s not new that discrimination occurs in the workplace for employees with intentions of starting a family or having another child. Women have a long history with this kind of problem. But since parental leave rights were also extended to men (in Canada), future fathers are affected too.

However, what is new is to spy on the personal lives of people through social media. Employers requiring their employees to disclose Facebook passwords is unacceptable.

Women are often asked in interviews, Are you married? Are you single? Do you have children?, because it is known that women often have to take leave to care for a sick child, or have more family responsibilities when they are single mothers.

There are enough factors that hinder women's capacity to raise a family, that the threat of monitoring privacy through social media is simply unacceptable. I hope it does not become the norm, nor a curse.


I am a child of divorce parents.

I myself divorced.

What model of parent will I give my child? Divorced.

In my mind, this equates to: failed, failed, and failed.

To name a few, the list of factors that hinder women’s capacity to raise a family is long.

Examples of factors:

  • legally fight to obtain the right to maternity leave;
  • legally fight spouse. Sometimes, they leave the day they find out they will be a parent;
  • obtaining a divorce is a stressful and expensive process;
  • the reasons for obtaining a divorce are almost as simple as changing shirt;
  • sposal violence;
  • spouse’s income falsified to avoid paying alimony;
  • psychological evaluations (sometimes required as evidence in a divorce) rendered useless by the inability of evaluators to detect true characters.

We live in a patriarchal society. In the majority of cases, judges are men. And men often have no trouble circumventing laws. Children suffer from many circomstances of divorce.

"We failed to realize that living in a post-divorce family is an entirely different experience for children as opposed to adults. The story of divorce is far more complex and the impact more far-reaching than we had ever imagined." *ref The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study, Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee)

In this book, Dr. Wallerstein questions many of our entrenched legal practices.

Moi aussi.


Lyne, reading this makes me wonder: what ways are there to protect ourselves and our social media accounts, as naive as it may sound… yes having full control of you online data is increasingly difficult, half the time I spend creating a profile I am actually looking for not-so-handy settings that enable me to have it protected as much as possible.

Second, notwithstanding women’s particular vulnerability with maternal benefits (which I know nothing about, can it be that bad? I mean if you are married or have a child you write that in your CV anyway, don’t you?), I don’t think blaming employers for looking you up on facebook is an answer. Most of the time they do it because the opportunity is there, isn’t it?  Taking it up on facebook and how they’re selling our data, now that;s another thing.

On the other hand, even though pieces of our lives are online inevitably, it’s also our responsibility to curate and be selective of what we put out there, At some point I find it hard to understand why people are so careless when it comes to displaying their personal lives online… Make it similar to the linkedin profile, and limit ourselves at hobbies and taste in music. and that’s it. If there’s nothing there to “compromise you”, then why care? I’d rather not care, altghough I’m sure there are things I wouldn’t want to know of…

And lastly, I wouldn’t want to work for employers that base their recruitment process on who you are in online networks (unless social media has smth to do with the job itself), or even factor those in their decision. come on, are we there already?

Women and children remain fragile, spreading to families

I am not aware that it is required to write in a CV if a person is parent or not. It has nothing to do with professional experience. It is useless to hide one’s life from social media, and it is not better either to do too much, to go the other way.

Dishonest employers exist. They are not all choirboys!

I know women who are hired because they are divorced, single, with children, and have no other choice than to accept anything. Employees track the desperate and put them in impossible situations, with poor working conditions.

Employers can simply do a search on Google on any name, to find information. It’s so simple to do! What becomes an interference in private life, is when a worker must sign an agreement in which he / she agrees to give his / her Facebook password to the employer. In this case, everything becomes accessible, even private messages!

The obligation to provide a Facebook password will probably not become the norm, but there will always be over-control. It is likely that courts or legislators may ensure to protect workers. There must already exist cases, of which we are not aware because we do not work in law. In a decade or two, I suppose that it will go without saying that such protection will exist.

Despite a wide range of laws protecting women and children rights, I try to underline that women and children remain fragile.

With the economic crisis, this is no longer just single mothers, but also families who are becoming increasingly vulnerable. After an unfortunate event, many families slide into poverty. I feel that the general picture of families is not improving, and the big losers in this are the children. It is a complex situation, there are many factors to consider. I find that there are growing plagues as youth suicide, bullying, intimidation, etc. Children are faced with an increased pressure, which was not there, two or three decades ago. It worries me.