Like many teenagers, Hannah Jordan believed her parents picked on her.
One day the 15-year-old reached the end of her tether and had to let off steam. She wrote a rant on Facebook full of swear words. In it, she accused her parents of forcing her to do too many chores.
Her furious father decided to teach his daughter a lesson. He took her laptop and fired nine bullets into it. The trigger-happy dad filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube. He called the video “Facebook Parenting: For The Troubled Teen.”
Over 31 million viewers watched it. This was public humiliation on a mass scale. Mr. Jordan’s actions outraged many people. Some even called it abuse. They asked how he could humiliate his child in such a public fashion.
Shaming is nothing new. Yet with the rise in social media, we are witnessing a disturbing trend. More and more children are being publicly humiliated as a form of punishment.
In Illinois, eight-year-old Melissa White’s father forced her to wear a sign that said, “I steal from others and lie about it.” Her dad watched from a parked car as his embarrassed daughter stood in the street and squirmed.
In Miami, Michael Bell Jr. was also forced to wear a special sign. On one side it said, “Hey, I want to be the class clown is that wrong?” On the flip side, it explained how the boy was failing his classes. It also asked drivers to honk three times if they thought failing was bad.
In 2015, 13-year-old Izabel was publicly shamed by her father. He cut off her hair and uploaded the video to YouTube. During the video, her father said, “How many times did I warn you?” His humiliated daughter replied in a whisper, “A lot.”
Izabel would later commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Many believe that public shaming was to blame.
Most parents who condemn their kids to public humiliation say they were at the ends of their ropes. That is no excuse.
Alfie Kohn is the author of Unconditional Parenting. He said humiliating children is a nasty and disrespectful way of treating them. It doesn’t teach children about how their actions affect others. It merely teaches them not to do certain things or they will be hurt.
Talking and understanding work ten times better than humiliation, hands down. It’s a shame some parents fail to realize this.