Wednesday, April 25, 2012

YouTube Parenting: The Modern Punishment

A few decades ago it was socially acceptable for parents to punish their children with violence.  A spanking or slap on the wrist to help children learn right from wrong was not seen as child abuse.  In modern society, the slightest form of physical abuse can lead to a visit from child-protective services.  A recent YouTube video demonstrates how some parents are adapting to the digital age and have reverted from violence to public embarrassment as punishment.  Tommy Jordan, the father of a teenage girl, became an internet sensation after posting a YouTube video called "Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen".  In this video Jordan describes how his daughter posted an inappropriate and ungrateful  status on Facebook complaining about how her parents force her to do chores.  To punish her for this Facebook post, Jordan shoots his daughter's laptop 9 times and posts it online for the public eye.  With over 32 million Youtube views it is obvious that this video stirred controversy.  Some people believe that this video demonstrates terrible parenting and others think that Jordan's punishment was deserved.  While the morality of Jordan's punishment is subjective, one thing is certain, this video demonstrates how wide of an audience the internet reaches. In a response to his video, Jordan writes that his parents used to punish him and humiliate him in public places.  However, the internet is not just a public moment in time, this video can be viewed multiple times by people all over the world. His parenting in this video can be analyzed by psychologists and will probably follow his daughter for a very long time.  Public humiliation has been a tactic of punishment for many parents for decades and, with the advancement of technology, people have access to a much larger outlet for public humiliation.  If more parents decide to use the internet to punish their children, it may have an adverse affect on their children's future.  Internet posts are easily spread and difficult to erase so a mistake that a child makes at a young age could be public for the rest of their lives.  It is common for modern youth to post private things on the internet.  However, parents should be wiser than their children and realize that some issues are meant to be private and should not be exploited by the use of the web.  There is no question that physical abuse is wrong, but bruises do not leave scars like emotional humiliation.  


  1. This is an interesting, but how could you make a stronger connection to the content of our digital journalism course. For example, Sam Gregory of WITNESS argues that showing punishment and humiliation on YouTube in a human rights or citizen journalism context can actually violate basic ethics in documenting material in new media formats. Can you make a connection between cruelty to children and cruelty to political activists without diminishing the work of the latter?

  2. What is worst physical abuse or public embarrassment?