KUALA LUMPUR: When a celebrity businessman uploaded a clip suggesting that he caned his young daughter for not wearing a tudung, many were outraged and a police report was filed, with some calling for the intervention of welfare officers.
However, he is not alone in sharing pictures and video clips of his children on social media as many celebrities have a habit of doing the same.
For social worker Ananti Rajasingam, some of these posts amount to shaming the children, a form of emotional abuse.
Speaking to FMT, she warned that such acts could have a bigger and long-term impact on the children.
“When you shame or mock your children and broadcast it to the world, you could make them feel unworthy, anxious or even depressed.”
She added that children who are publicly shamed by their parents will also be susceptible to bullying in school.
Psychologist Geshina Ayu Mat Saat agreed, saying this exposes them to a greater risk of being bullied by others as well.
“Bullies will look at this and think that if their family members can bully the children, then they can too. Bullies will see it as a free pass.”
Geshina, who is attached to Universiti Sains Malaysia, also voiced concern that the videos or images of the children being shamed could be used against them in the future.
She said the Child Act 2001 clearly makes it an offence for anyone to cause emotional hurt to children, adding that the law can be applied to celebrities as well.
“These are influential public figures and there will be people who think their actions are acceptable.”
If abusers are not punished, she added, it will only give them more opportunity to continue the abuse and make the home an unsafe environment for children.
Ananti meanwhile urged the government to make emotional abuse a crime just like physical abuse.
“Celebrities should not be allowed to get away with shaming their children like this. To share their lives on social media is one thing, but getting fame at the expense of the children is another.”