Mahabir-Wyatt said while she could understand why the mother was upset, her response was an example of, “very poor parenting skills”.
She noted the mother should have been aware of the dangers of Facebook, YouTube and other file and video sharing social media websites and explained these dangers to her pre-teen daughter. Mahabir-Wyatt said the posting of the inappropriate photos made the child, “extremely vulnerable” in relation to what boys or men may do to her.
“It is a danger a lot of young people just don’t consider,” Mahabir-Wyatt said. She said the punishment was, “obviously excessive” and she was also disturbed by several comments made by men, who in responding to the video, thought the beating was great.
She noted that the mother would have been far more effective in changing the girl’s behaviour if she sat her down and talked to her about what she had done and explained the consequences. Another suitable form of punishment would have been to take away her computer and her cellphone, removing her access to Facebook and confining her to quarters.
Mahabir-Wyatt pointed out that two other children in the video were seen walking around during the beating as though it was a normal situation.
Manager of the Victim and Witness Support Unit Margaret Sampson-Browne in an interview aired on CNC3 News last night, said the act was not discipline but abuse and called for the woman to be charged with child abuse.
Mahabir-Wyatt said she would have to check whether the Act would fall under the purview of the Task Force but it should fall under the Children Act and Children Authority Act which are still awaiting proclamation.
In the video, which had 9,000 likes and more than 42,000 shares at one source, the mother repeatedly beats the girl with a belt and uses profanity. The setting appears to be a kitchen or living room.
The video ends with the sound of the girl sobbing. Some posters to the video agreed with the beating while others condemned it.
The Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development in a release yesterday voiced concern over the video and took the opportunity to advise parents that there are different forms of discipline which should be considered when dealing with children.
“The Ministry strongly advocates the use of non-physical forms of discipline. Physical forms of discipline can lead to harm and unintended consequences including serious injury, poor mental health or even death,” the statement read.