Video of young boy being publicly humiliated sparks online debate on extreme parenting

A TikTok video of a young boy being publicly chastised for being a bully has gone viral, prompting online discussions on extreme parenting techniques

                            Video of young boy being publicly humiliated sparks online debate on extreme parenting
Screengrab from viral video showing a young child standing on a street corner, holding a banner that read 'I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies' (Photo by @usert0c8co0flo/TikTok)

Gavin, who goes by the TikTok handle @usert0c8co0flo, uploaded a video from his car showing a youngster standing on a street corner with a banner that read: “I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies.” The video of a young child being publicly chastised for being a bully by his parents has prompted a discussion on extreme parenting techniques and if the use of public humiliation as punishment really works. 

Gavin focused in on the sign before capturing a couple, presumed to be the boy's parents, sitting in lawn chairs a short distance away and observing. "Honk if you hate bullies. I am a bully, Dude, that's so disgusting," Gavin said as he read the placard. “I want to yell at the parents,” the person in the passenger seat of the car said at the end of the video, while Gavin added in the description of the video, "Dad [is] a bully."


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The video, which has been seen over 3.78 million times, has created a debate regarding public punishment, with many people standing with the boy's parents and appreciating the strategy, while others have criticised the decision to humiliate a youngster in this manner. “I am fine with it. Stop bullying at all costs!” one user wrote.  "Y’all are too sensitive. You have no idea what that little boy could have done or said to another child,” another individual stated.  “That’s good parenting right there,” yet another person added.


Others, on the other hand, argued that the punishment wasn't an effective deterrent, with one viewer arguing that “publicly embarrassing your child isn’t the way to fix the problem”. “His parents probably bully him at home so he goes and bullies someone weaker,” they added. Another user stated that while “discipline is okay but public discipline will not teach them anything." Someone else remarked, “Embarrassment causes trauma to both the child and their relationship with their parents, Not excusing his actions but public humiliation is damaging.”


Gavin seemed to defend his position in a follow-up video, displaying a number of papers and studies criticising public humiliation as a form of punishment, with one research suggesting that "humiliating punishments can do more harm than good for children." He commented under his video, adding, “Bullying is wrong but ultimately the goal should be to stop this behaviour, this form of punishment just perpetuates it.”

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