Childrearing

A Viral Facebook Punishment Is A Terrible Way To Teach Safe Social Media Use

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Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.09.48 PMI love social media. I think it’s great when people post over-the-top birthday parties to Pinterest, and I think dog-shaming is hilarious. But what’s funny for dogs is not funny for kids, and the trend of parents publicly shaming their children on the Internet for attention punishment has got to stop.

A father named Kevin Jones recently posted on Facebook about making his 10-year-old daughter wear an “age-defining” shirt as punishment after he caught her pretending to be a teenager and telling people she was between 14 and 18 years old. She’s 5’9″, so people believed her even though she’s a fifth grader. Jones’ daughter had also gone behind her father’s back and made social media accounts where she was pretending to be older. Social media accounts are against her father’s rules, as was the secret boyfriend with whom the 10-year-old girl said she was “in love.”

That’s all a pretty big deal. I can see where her behavior would make any parent very nervous, especially when there is social media and Internet strangers involved. But Jones’ solution, while creative, does not seem like it will help anything at all.

“Heres the consequences behind her actions. An age defining shirt. Yes people she is 5’9 & 10 years old,” Jones posted on Facebook alongside an album of photos of his daughter wearing her punishment.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.09.48 PM

The shirt, which looks custom made, says “I am 10 years old” on the front and “5th Grader” on the back. He made her carry a princess backpack and wear a score of pink ribbon barrettes in her hair, then he posted the photo publicly to Facebook.

The photos of Jones’ daughter are going viral and have more than 260,000 likes and 80,000 shares so far. But publicly humiliating a 10-year-old girl does not seem like an effective teaching tool, and this particular punishment seems like it’s much more about the father making a post go viral than it is about his daughter’s online presence.

H/T Jezebel

Photo: Facebook/Kevin Jones

14 Comments

  1. guest

    October 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    While I don’t think it needed to be posted online I do like the idea of the shirt. If I were him though, I’d probably spend more time looking at why my ten year old was trying to get with guys in this many ways and what I could be fixing at home so she didn’t need to look for relationships elsewhere.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I think your last point is the big one. My sister wasn’t tall for her age, but she dressed in a very mature way — not sexy mature, but she liked vintage clothes and had a style that was more typical of high school/college students. She used to go to downtown Halifax to meet up with friends and play her guitar in the park, and she used to joke that she WANTED a shirt that said “I’m only 14; what you’re doing is illegal.”

      Ten year olds are in a tough in-between spot, but while I and my friends wanted to appear older when we were ten, none of us wanted to be approached by older boys etc. Because of her height, she probably feels like she’s expected to act older, and she needs some help to realize that it’s okay for her to still be a kid.

    • SunnyD847

      October 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Guys used to pull over and try to get my niece in their cars when she was walking home from 6th grade. Usually all she needed to say was “I’m 12” and they’d be peeling rubber. They were just regular creeps, not pedo creeps.

  2. Rachel Sea

    October 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Because the best way to ensure respect from your children is to humiliate them.

    • CHRISTINE FRED

      October 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      @katherinehandcock:disqus uptil I looked at the receipt 4 $9302, I didnt believe that my brothers friend could realy taking home money in their spare time on there computar.. there aunts neighbour haz done this for only twenty two months and by now repaid the loans on their mini mansion and got a top of the range Jaguar E-type. I went here,..&nbsphttp://MillionJobs/Plan/details……

  3. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    October 29, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I imagine it’s already pretty difficult for her being so much taller than the other kids in her class. This just seems like it’s going to isolate her even more and push her farther away from her parents.

    • SunnyD847

      October 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Yeah, poor kid 🙁

  4. C.J.

    October 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I think it is sad when these kinds of posts get so many likes and shares. I would not like or share a post like that. Maybe dad should should try for a more open relationship with his daughter and communicate with her more.

    • Samwisegamgeeeisthebesthobbit

      October 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      I know. I don’t understand why people think this it okay. And to encourage it by sharing it and liking it? NO.

  5. Samwisegamgeeeisthebesthobbit

    October 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Public shaming is not for your children. It’s for rapists and pedos. Anyone who does this is a self important asshole. No matter what a child does, they don’t deserve this. It’s just mean.

  6. whiteroses

    October 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I’m curious why parents allow their children, who are too young based on terms of service agreements, to even have Facebook pages.

    • SunnyD847

      October 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      She wasn’t allowed to. Her dad had told her not to, but she did it anyway.

  7. Cindy Ailey

    October 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I absolutely HATE when parents put their tween kids on blast on facebook. I feel like it’s total disrespect for their kid’s privacy. Even 10 year old deserve to have some privacy.

    Used to drive me nuts when I was a kid and everyone in my whole family knew when I fucked up, my mom would tell my grandma and then my grandma would tell everyone else. I can’t imagine all the potential for embarrassment for kids today.

    If we want our kids to understand about keeping certain aspects of your life private, then we need to show them with our own actions.

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