There is a lot in the media at the moment about child shaming online...
There is a lot in the media at the moment about child shaming online especially after a young girl committed suicide in America after her Father filmed cutting off her hair and publically shamed her.
In the video, which has since been removed from YouTube, Izabel Lazamana’s hair can be seen on the floor of a room and her father is heard saying:
“The consequences of getting messed up, man, you lost all that beautiful hair…was it worth it?”
She says “No” and he continues, “How many times did I warn you?”, to which Lazamana replies, “A lot”.
The 13-year-old jumped from a bridge on 30 May.
A police spokesperson told The Independent
that Laxamana’s father cut off his daughter’s hair ‘to try and stop her certain things he disapproved of”.
The girl was since tormented
and there is evidence to suggest that she had being bullied
before this incident. Whether her death was caused by the online shaming, the bullying or the mix of the both remains to be seen but the question is clear did her Father unknowingly add to the anxieties of an already vulnerable child? There is no going back and her family will have to live with these questions forever and ever.
My research in child shaming brought me to hundreds of videos posted online of parents doing similar things to their kids after they had being caught behaving badly. There was numerous ones that I watched but they all carried the same mantra of embarrassing their offspring beyond belief and posting it online for not only family and friends to see but alarmingly the general public. It was cruel, sad and most uncomfortable to watch so much so that I turned it off feeling that I was only adding to their viewing figures and in some respect these parents wanted publicity- though not for their kids bad behaviour but for them playing being a “superior” parent one that demands respect and demeans their kids privately and then sends them out to be publically slammed.
Child shaming is a new phenomenon so it is difficult to gauge exactly what short of damage this could potentially do to our young people if they are shamed regularly.
However one has to ask what is the point? And why you (the responsible parent) would use humiliation as a form of punishment when each day we ridicule bullying in all its formats. Is embarrassing your child and putting them into the public domain by way of the internet not bullying? Standing over them forcing them to confess to the public while pleading for forgiveness really the way to handle young people’s bad behaviour? Is it not a form of emotional abuse?
You may often observe the parents who belittle their kids in public proclaiming them to be badly behaved and little monsters to family and friends all the while the nippers look on and feel an overwhelming flood of sadness. If these kids are unlucky enough to have a parent post the details of their shaming online that inevitably filters through to all their friends, and before you know it you have a very vulnerable child who is being laughed at in school and at home. The reality is how can anyone respect someone that humiliates them so cruelly in front of thousands of people (potentially) and the bond you have with your child could be lost forever.
Parenting requires a lot of patience, trust, love and certainly discipline in the right methods, however shaming shows disrespect, disgust, and disloyalty to the person who a child believes will protect them most in life.
My children are not perfect, but are any? My kids will make mistakes, behave badly and subsequently cause disputes at home with their Dad and I. However never for one moment do I feel the need to make them apologise while I film them, nor do I force them to hold placards on the main street begging for forgiveness. How we discipline our kids can shape how they will develop and we need to approach with caution so not to ruin their spirit, their well-being and their happiness. Of course my kids will be punished by way of grounding, or the handing over of tablets or phones for bad behaviour but it will be done privately in our home.
This very public sort of discipline is not the way forward and child shaming has to stop now before we hear more stories of young people hurting themselves or worse. Young people have enough to contend with at school and in their social circle, so don’t add to their woes- be their parent and respect them. If not you may break the loving bond between you and your kid beyond repair and sadly there is no possible way to turn back time.