We came across a site the other day that made the whole family in the batcave laugh, dog-shaming.com.
People post pictures of their dogs with guilt riddled faces and a note explaining the "crime" that the dog has committed.
Funny stuff. The dogs don't care too much. They have no idea of the thousands of people who are looking and laughing at them. Or with them in many cases.
But this particular thing is also happening to children.
There have been several instances found online of parents posting similar things.
I just gasp at the cruelty of that one in that last link. It will come back to bite someone in the butt, the internet is forever after all.
I have jokingly told my oldest kids that I will be taking pictures of their rooms and sending them to that Tee Vee show, Extreme Hoarders. Would I? No. That is their private space and as long as it doesn't harbour critters and I do not have to look at it? I will help them clean it up if they ask, but I am not touching it without permission.
How would parents react to being "shamed" online?
Fat shaming is also big in the news: Even here in Canada we have a lot of kids who are being classified as "obese". In all the articles about it, there are the pictures of headless kids, just their bodies are shown. In the tee vee news reports they show stock footage of these large people in the background while the voice over gives us the SHOCKING statistics.
Watch this clip of faceless "fat" kids eating Cheetos or carrying trays of calorie laden food. Is it possible that a kid will look at these images and see themselves? Most likely.
In my travels online there is a lot of cruelty in comments that I see about "fat" people and "fat" kids. A derision and scorn. It is the last safe bastion of bigotry it seems.
What is causing children to become so overweight? Lots of things, just off the top of my head:
The food we eat is overly processed. Pop and energy drinks are a bad thing in large quantities, and that is how they sell them in the grocery store.
While some parents just don't care really, some are just doing the best they can. Rushed from working they probably stop and get supper on the way home, it will usually not include all the food groups, just the fat and carbs.
Sometimes people really do not know how to cook real food.
Advertising, this is a large part of why kids want the junk so often. My two youngest children have not been allowed to watch commercial TV all that much, and really had no clue what the name of the "french fry house" was until fairly recently. Interestingly we have had to stop them from watching the new retro teletoon channel because they wouldn't stop asking for everything they saw and demanding junk food at the store. In the space of a week we got our fill of advertising. They were like little reverse Chauncey Gardiners....
Exercise: The electronic takeover of the world. When I was a kid it was just the Tee Vee, now it is computers, phones, game consoles....ETC. We went outside and played instead and only showed up for lunch and were usually late for supper. The cost of involving a kid in organized sports is prohibitive to many families and that bizarre tax break (as most of the Harper tax incentives work) is completely useless if one doesn't have the money to spend in the first place.
Eating for comfort. I can definitely relate to this one.....
Disclosure; I had some significant weight issues that emerged during the rocky end to my parents marriage when I was around 11. Flying cutlery and dishes and listening to the Kramden's screaming at each other every day, along with some other sadistic stuff my Dad did was enough to drive me to food as a solace. My weight has been a yo-yo all my life, and I am feeling the effects from eating disorders to this day.
Hug your children and tell them you love them every single day.
Some kids are just wired to be "chubby" for a while. We always laugh about the time we took our now 7yr old for her two year checkup and were told she was "obese" according to the weight charts. She slimmed down by age three...She has the same body type as her father and will most likely never be overweight. The littlest is just like her Mama and it may be a struggle down the road. We need to teach them to make the right choices now.
Making kids feel bad or guilty is never a winning solution, but that is what is happening.
I saw these ads today and have rather mixed feelings about them, although they may force some parental units to stop and ponder their own actions.
These are of course aimed at adults.
Shaming kids after the fact is completely counterproductive and just smacks of cruelty.
I have often thought that it would be a good idea to offer food/cooking/dietary/shopping classes for grown ups, right in our schools. If parents are better prepared they may help their kids make better decisions about the things they can control.