Val Starks, a mother of a 13-year-old girl and a Denver cosmetology student, has gone viral for her public shaming of her daughter. Her five-minute video, which Starks posted to Facebook on Sunday, shows a furious mother confronting her teen daughter for not acting her age. The video already has over 11 million views and 300,000 thousand shares.
Starks filmed the video when she found out that her 13-year-old daughter had been posing as a 19-year-old on Facebook, complete with pictures in sexy lingerie. Her daughter’s secret Facebook page had a profile picture of the young teen wearing only a bra. In the five minute and forty second video, Starks lets her daughter have it. She puts her daughter in her place by bluntly reminding her that she is still just a kid with a bedtime who watches the Disney Channel.
Starks makes her daughter face the camera and admit her age: She is only 13 years old. Starks continues, “So why does your Facebook page say that you’re 19? Does your Facebook page say you’re a freak? Do you even know anything about being a freak? But you’re going to go on Facebook and find a picture that says that you are a freak, and you wearing panties that’s lace and all that. That’s what 13-year-olds do, right? You still have a bedtime!”
Normally, I am not a fan of public shaming by parents in the least. We have seen far too many examples of parents who use social media as their platform to poke fun at their kids and flex their parenting muscles — when really, these problems could have easily and more effectively been solved in the privacy of their homes.
But I have to hand it to this mom. I may not have used the same humiliating method of punishment (and what do I know because I don’t have a 13-year-old daughter), but this mother did not turn a blind eye to any detail of the dangerous behavior her daughter was participating in. Starks even went so far as to personally message all of the men her daughter had been allegedly chatting with on Facebook to say, “She’s a kid, and she’s gonna stay a kid. And as long as she’s under my roof, she’s gonna do what I say.”
Within the course of the video, Starks brings her daughter to tears. Starks ends the video by saying that her daughter will be grounded for the entire summer, without television or internet to keep her entertained. She’ll occupy her time the old-fashioned way — by reading books.
I’ll say it again: I personally don’t ever find publicly shaming kids as punishment appropriate. As many internet commenters pointed out, this kind of “tough love” could ultimately be traumatizing to a child. But compared to the many parents we see who simply ignore what their kids are doing, especially highly dangerous online behavior like chatting with internet predators or bullying, this mom’s heart was in the right place.