Laxamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Wash., died after
she jumped off a highway overpass on Friday, May 29. Days earlier, the girl's
father had reportedly
punished her by cutting off her hair and uploading a video of
it to YouTube. Now there's a debate over whether her father's public
shaming caused her death.
this father's actions a contributing factor in his daughter taking her own life? Some say definitely yes, others say the nature of suicide is too complex to know for
know one thing for certain: public shaming videos like this are an extreme form of
punishment and do more harm than good.
Some of us are familiar with
the old school "not in my house" way of raising children, because
that's how our parents disciplined us. Now this authoritative form of discipline has intersected the Internet age, and
parents think online ridicule is one
way to teach a child a lesson.
this is misguided.
who didn't grow up saturated with the internet
media don't understand the effects
of uploading a public shaming video. They say you should consider everything you do online as written in ink. Why? Take the video of Laxamana as an
example. The video in question was removed, but copies already exist
effects of humiliating your child online go beyond the lesson you're
trying to impart. It
can lead to your child being mocked by his or her peers. The
spread beyond what you imagined, and your child might
become an Internet joke passed from stranger to stranger. The
potential for long-lasting effects make an online public shaming
different from a mere public shaming. If you decide to discipline
your child in public—assuming no one records it—the punishment lasts only as
long as the event.
Online public shaming endures and can haunt your child long after the lesson has been learned.
more to say about the case of Izabel Laxamana.
other online shaming videos, she wasn't merely forced to hold a sign
admitting her wrongdoings, as in other disciplinary videos parents
have posted. In
Isabel's case, her
father chopped off her long hair, which is seen strewn on the floor
beneath her. The act itself is brutal, even if weren't being filmed.
the act of cutting another person's hair off has been reserved for
imposing the worst shame. Thus, Izabel
contended not only with the effects of other people seeing her father
shame her online but having to wear the shame on her everywhere she went. That
in itself is an extreme punishment, only made worse by being shared
online for all to see.
Some parents are pushing back. Recently, one dad's video went viral for standing up against social media shamings. Rather than watch the video that hurt this young girl, let's watch this man being a great parent:
remember that discipling a child is not about our desire to impose a
punishment, but about helping our child learn something. If a
parent's punishment is so severe that it causes irreparable damage,
then that parent has failed. You
can teach a lesson without destroying your child.
Izabel deserved better from the people tasked with raising
and protecting her.