It's a punishment as old as time: kid screws up, kid gets punished out in public to make them really feel the shame of making a mistake. But a North Carolina mom opened up a can of worms when she decided the best way to teach her young daughter a lesson about cyberbullying was to post a "shaming" photo of the girl on the Internet. Uploaded to Facebook and later to Reddit, the photo of the girl with her iPod, which her mom says she's being forced to sell to benefit the charity Beat Bullying, has gone viral.
And that is precisely the problem with this new shaming your kids online trend.
Once something is out there on the Internet, there is no taking it back. There's no pulling the photo down and saying, "OK, you've served your time. Your punishment is over."
This punishment, and the incident that prompted it, are now out there. Forever.
What's more, it's now available for anyone to view at anytime, and jump to what conclusions they may. College admissions workers. Potential employers.
We want our kids to learn, to get better, so they DON'T repeat their mistakes. So they AREN'T haunted by them.
But online shaming -- be it for cyberbullying or any of a host of behavior issues -- does the very opposite. It makes the punishment their problem, forever.
More From The Stir: Stop Publicly Shaming Your Kids & Get a Life
Frankly I'm not the biggest fan of sending your kid out to stand on a street corner with a sign describing their infraction. But at least you can put an end to the punishment after an hour or two. The lesson is learned, and they can move on.
After all, that's what discipline is ultimately about, isn't it? The lesson? Not about rubbing your kid's face in their mistakes for the rest of their life?
What do you think of the cybershaming trend? Does it help kids or hurt them?
Image via Arbron/Flickr