Wednesday, March 14, 2012

VIDEO: Tough Love Parenting - Shaming in a Viral Media World?

Check out this video where a mother makes her daughter wear an "I'm a Thief" t-shirt after she gets caught shop-lifting.

So The Grio is asking if this punishment fits the crime. And would we do the same thing. I'm not sure for several reasons.

In this day of social media, this 7th grader is not just being taught a lesson in her neighborhood or even her city. She's being "shamed" worldwide. Anyone could have taken a photo of this girl in her "punishment" gear and put it on any number of social media sites. And we all know how cruel kids can be in middle and high school - and how merciless teasing can shape a personality and scar a young person for life.

Even more concerning to me is that this was an NBC news video gone viral. There are more than 1,350 likes of this Grio post. Millions of people will know about this young girl's mistake. I wonder if the mother thought of the possible long lasting effects of this level of coverage when she granted the interview and allowed her child's full name and face to be shown. Her name and likeness will forever be able to be Googled about stealing by any potential recruiter for schools or employment opportunities. 

I'm for tough love, but I'd probably choose something more along the lines of long-term exposure to where a life of crime leads you: tours of a juvenile incarceration facility, volunteering stints at group homes of children of imprisoned parents, and definitely lots of reading, researching and writing about the real price of crime. And long hard conversations with anyone that has ever loved or shown interest in her. 

But this is just my perspective. What do y'all think?

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