Stop bullying your kid(s) on social media

Call it a new trend: parents are disciplining their children on social media, and it’s safe to say we’re all sick of it.

Since the beginning of time, the idea that parents know what’s best for their child has been the golden rule. Everybody, from the U.S. Supreme Court to the next door neighbor, would prefer not to interfere with how parents choose to handle their children. However, this is one way that has been taken too far.

As children, everyone can say there was a moment where they made a bad decision and were punished for it. But by golly, it wasn’t broadcasted for millions of people to share and comment on. The effects of publicly humiliating kids for bad behavior can easily be considered emotional child abuse.

Here’s why: the idea of disciplining means to impart knowledge and skill–in other words, to teach. It is a time for the child to differentiate between what’s right and wrong. The problem with disciplining on social media is that it goes from being a learning moment to humiliation for the child.

It socially destroys them, which can lead to even bigger problems. Kidspot.com noted that the psychological effects of shame and humiliation range from a decreased level of self-esteem to a sense of unworthiness to diminished self-efficacy, and can even lead to depression, anxiety and elevated stress.

The scenario is no different than if it was done by that child’s peer or a stranger, so it’s no exception for parents either. It makes no sense to completely shave your 3rd grade daughter’s hair on social media because she made a joke about another little girl who was bald from chemotherapy.

The child was wrong, but turning her into a victim of bullying is not going to teach her a lesson. It just breaks the trust that exists between parent and child.

Don’t ruin a child for a few ‘likes’ on Facebook or because you believe “it’s harmless”. Content posted onto the web is forever, even once it’s erased – it’s not really erased.

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