Food for thoughts: Social media humiliation…

There’s another video making the rounds of social media where a step-mother decides to “discipline” her step-son for smoking marijuana by shaving the hair off the top part of his head and forcing him to repeat the current grade he’s in.

I will not post the video on my site, because I do not want to be another link in the chain of this particular child’s suffering. However, I did want to speak on this issue of using social media to shame children who misbehave.

It is one thing to discipline a child who is misbehaving. It is an entirely different thing to destroy a child’s spirit and sense of self-worth. That goes far beyond discipline into the realms of abuse.

Parents who take to social media to share with the world that their children are misbehaving are saying to their children, “This is not something you did. This is who you are.”

The child I mention above, who is being “disciplined” for smoking marijuana, may never smoke another joint in his life, but now he will have to live with this brand, for lack of a better word, because his parent decided that the whole world needed to know about his childhood indiscretion.

Once the incident is on the web, it will take many, many, many years for it to die. People will even download it to their personal storage so they can resurrect it later. It will continue to be played out over and over every time someone new stumbles on the video, and people who think the video is funny, or even laudable, will make sure to keep sharing it around and around.

College acceptance boards are using Google to research potential students. Creditors are searching social media networks to determine creditworthiness. Potential boyfriends/girlfriends are checking the web to see if they can filter out the psychos before getting involved with them.

Can you imagine one of the children in these videos, now an adult, sitting at a job interview trying to make his/her best impression, and having the interviewer burst out laughing and say, “I knew I recognized you! I saw a video on Facebook where your mom…” It may not have happened yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Some things need to remain private. Children have a right to be protected from public ridicule, and parents should not be the videographers of their children’s humiliation.

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