Back in my day (like I’m really that old), the most embarrassing thing our parents could do was whoop us and have our friends find out about it. Even so, word might of spread of our disciplining locally but it stayed local. In today’s world if a child gets disciplined in Eustis, FL (the tiny town I grew up in), it can instantly be streamed to every computer, phone, and tablet.
Back in February, father Tommy Jordan posted a video on his daughters Facebook page about his displeasure he had with a post his daughter made on Facebook in which she used choice language and called her parents lazy. The video culminated with him putting nine bullets in his daughter’s laptop. The video instantly went viral online and to date has been viewed over 31 million times on YouTube.[View video]
Michael Bell Sr’s son came home with 3 F’s on his report card. He’s making him stand on a street corner every day during spring break with a sign that reads, “Hey, I want to be a class clown. Is it wrong?” on the front and “I’m in the 7th grade and got 3 F’s. Blow your horn if there’s something wrong with that.” The story was picked up by local stations and video of it has made its way to YouTube with over 16,000 views to date. Bell Sr says he’s doing it because he cares about his son and doesn’t want him to become a statistic.[View video]
After Danaka Walker’s daughter was caught stealing a T-Shirt, Walker made her wear a shirt that reads, “Hide your money. Hide your clothes. Hide everything. ‘Cuz I’m A Thief.’” [Read story]
I can think back to another story from last year of an uncle who spank his nephew and posted it online because of his nephew’s alleged gang involvement. Many people applauded the uncle’s efforts but many critics accused the uncle of everything from poor parenting to child abuse. Sadly, 11 months after the video went viral, the teen in the video Michael Taylor was found shot dead near his home. Critics again said that the video, which was created with good intentions, probably caused the teen to rebel even further.
Veronica Wells of madamenoire.com wrote,
You remember how hard it was being a teenager, how image was everything, how we spent excessive time and energy trying to appear cool. What do you think a video of you getting your behind tore up would do for your image?
Now, consider the fact that Michael was a young, black male already involved with gangs! For the better part of this year he was defined by a video so detrimental to his image and self-confidence. If anything, this downright embarrassing video probably propelled him even deeper into a life of crime, trying to prove his strength and street credibility.
I’m not in anyway questioning their parenting or disciplining methods. My question is does having these stories and videos on the internet do more harm than good? These stories will now forever be a part of these kids identity. What’s going to happen when the girl from the third example goes to apply for a job? Every employer will know that she was once caught stealing and that X-amount of people know about it. While these kids will hopefully learn their lessons, the ramifications of having their punishment shared across the globe will last for years, maybe even a lifetime.
BMWK readers, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.