While reading through the July 6/July 13th 2015 issue of Time magazine, I was taken aback by an article that I came across. According to the article, there appears to be an increase in the trend of parents shaming, humiliating, intimidating, and causing emotional distress to their children through the usage of social media. This trend is not cool at all.
Granted, we have all heard the saying that, “children don’t come with instructions.” Neither is there a manual that children can follow in how to please their parents at all times. The references I’m about to make will include the tweens, teens, and yes; even young adults. Using social media as a tool to punish a child is wrong in the worst possible way. What ever happened to the good old grounding method; which takes away privileges? It hurts the child more to know that they cannot engage in the things they love to do with family and friends.
Some tweens and teens, who have been exposed to such acts, have committed suicide because of videos that went viral. Don’t their lives matter? Just go to YouTube, World Star Hip Hop, Vine, Instagram, and Tumblr to view the videos that parents have uploaded. Often times these same videos are being shared over and over again by the people who view them. These videos depict the teens holding signs, while chanting their negative behavior to the public. Some of the signs invite drivers to honk if they agree that the deed warrants the punishment. The ultimate goal is to publically shame their child into stopping their negative behavior.
In fact, according to Time magazine, “there are also a growing number of videos of kids with their hair shorn as punishment for anything from bad grades to losing an IPad. One dad asks his son to hold up his failing report card for the camera. The tactic has become so popular in the city of Snellville, GA, that a barber specializes in ugly “old man” haircuts for misbehaving kids” (Time, 2015, pp.31-32).
I often wonder if these same parents realize that these forms of punishments can have a lasting effect on their children well into adulthood. The internet is simply a storage area where anything posted can be retrieved for later usage. Some parents post and then delete the videos the same day. If they think that the videos they have just posted of their child are deleted, then think again! They can resurface years later and may even cost your children their jobs, or worse their lives. Stop ridiculing your children on social media. They have enough peer pressure as it is, without having this negative behavior of the adult added to their already stressful lives. Each child develops differently on a cognitive, physical, and emotional level. Let’s keep this in mind before we exploit them to the mercy of the world of “social media.”
Children should not have to feel that they are worthless or won’t amount to anything because of the mistake(s) that they made. They are not perfect beings and are willing to learn with the proper guidance. All children should be made to have a sense of self-worth. They deserve to be loved and protected by the very people they trust. Let’s raise our children to become proud, and upstanding citizens in our community.
– Solange Destang –