Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM ET
The genre of “kid shaming” on the Internet continues to evolve. First there was “laptop-shooting dad,” then “poop in the shower dad.” The latest is brought to us by two Wisconsin parents, pictured above, who hijacked their daughter’s Facebook page. The twist: They posted goofy and embarrassing pictures of themselves on it.
After their daughter “got fresh” with her parents, they confiscated her phone for a week and took over her Facebook account as well. Next, they posted a series of wacky pictures of themselves for all of her friends to see. Thanks to her brother, the story and one of the pictures found its way to Reddit for the whole world to see. “My parents took away my sisters phone for the week. They've uploaded about 10 of these to her facebook. Doing it right!” AustinMac posted on the popular site.
The pictures of these parents, who clearly have a sense of humor, have gone viral. Many applaud the couple for their unorthodox parenting style. “Better punishment than the loss of the phone. As a parent, I will remember this. Get in trouble, lose phone, dad posts embarrassing pics to auto-logged-in social networks,” posted commenter revolvingdoor. Reddit user, Paulus81, responded to the pictures, posting “I would like to be your sister's FB friend for the duration of her punishment... This is actually awesome. Tell your parents that the world needs more like them.”
Although this particular punishment seems more lighthearted than earlier shaming examples, not everyone agrees that it’s all in good fun. Reddit commenter rohinton posted, “Something like this would have been about the most horrifying experience of my life. I feel for the sister [of AustinMac].” Parenting experts also caution against this type of discipline.
“Parents are publicly calling out their child's mistakes. Most parents would be outraged if another child used social media to humiliate their kids, yet parents who do this are often hailed as heroes. During 'Bully Prevention Month,' it's interesting that some view parental cyber-bullying as OK,” said TODAY contributor Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time.
McCready said that not only is public embarassment a form of bullying, it’s also unlikely to be effective. “Public shaming doesn't work to change the child's behavior. In fact, it likely intensifies the power struggle between parent and child,” McCready told TODAY Moms. “Discipline should help the child make a better choice in the future rather than shame them for past mistakes. Parental cyber-bullying, on the other hand, is simply a parent's attempt to 'get back at' the child -- not take seriously their duty to deliberately teach better behavior in a way that is helpful to the child.”
On TODAY, Savannah Guthrie asked Natalie Morales and Al Roker, who are both parents, if they thought the punishment crossed the line and they both agreed that it did.
“For a teenager, especially, Facebook is your identity... As parents, you want to set the right example, you want to be a model to your kids. If they were trying to invoke the punishment that ‘you were being fresh with us’ and then they, themselves are going and getting fresh on her Facebook page – what message does that send?” said Natalie.
Al agreed, saying, “You should be the parent. You don’t necessarily want to shame your kids. There are other ways to do it. You took away the phone. That’s enough.”
“At least they’re not shooting the laptop,” Natalie replied.
Do you think these parents should be applauded for their creative parenting style or should they find another, less public way to demonstrate their humor and their forms of discipline?
Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who can’t stop wondering how that dad got his eye to do that…