A Georgia mother was the subject of online criticism recently after posting a live video of her beating her daughter on Facebook.
A screengrab of Shanavia Miller during the four-minute video of her using corporal punishment to discipline her 16-year-old daughter, Nia Green. (YouTube)
Shanavia Miller posted the four-minute video of her using corporal punishment to discipline her 16-year-old daughter, Nia Green, after learning the teen was having sex and posting pictures of her boyfriend wearing nothing but a towel.
Miller initiated the live video on her daughter’s Facebook page as the beating took place. It was later taken down, but others re-posted it to YouTube, where it remains. In it, Miller strikes her daughter with a wooden plank until it breaks in half, and punches her in the face repeatedly.
“You want to embarrass me on social media,” Miller yelled in the video. “Don’t f—ing play with me, Nia.”
“You’re only sixteen and you want to be a ‘thot’ ,” Miller said, as the beating progressed. “Get your grades up in school before you think about opening up your legs and trying to stunt on f—ing Facebook. Keep your f—ing room clean. Actually be nice to your f—ing sister. Don’t that make sense?”
While beating Green, Miller repeatedly called her “nasty” and made fun of her vaginal health. At one point, she speaks directly to the viewers, saying, “This is my page now. I’m gonna need y’all to send this viral. Please share this because I’m not done. More to come.”
The video received mixed responses around the web. While some thought the teen was properly punished, others criticized Miller’s use of corporal punishment and the public shaming of her child.
Miller may also face legal consequences. Darnisha Green, a spokeswoman for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, told The Washington Post that several viewers forwarded the video to police, and authorities are still looking into the incident.
“Our special victims unit looked into the case and officers talked to the mother and daughter,” said Green. “Although the daughter said she felt safe in the home, the case has been referred to the Department of Family and Children Services.”
Miller responded to the backlash by posting on her daughter’s Facebook page, “I love my daughter with all my heart , happens after this, oh well…my daughter is not going to disrespect me or herself for nobody…Ain’t nothing she still my baby girl. Lesson learned, now have a blessed day.”
In her own Facebook post, Nia Green said she does not condone the video, but she still loves her mom and regrets her actions that led to the incident.
“First Off I Shouldn’t Embarrassed My Moma, I Love Her,” Green wrote. “I was gonna open up and tell her that I was having sex. I was just gonna wait a couple days to see how I was tell her. I understand why she did what she did. Everybody laughing and making reenactments, sharing my pictures, I’m seeing everything. I did go to the hospital only because I have (anxiety) attacks & real bad headache. I embarrassed my moma so she embarrassed me. I’m not defending the live video when school next week all eyes on me. I’m at work all eyes on me. I kno next time to just keep my business to myself.”
Using physical force to discipline children is a controversial practice among parenting experts and psychologists. A 2012 study in published in the journal Pediatrics associated harsh physical punishment with an increased chance of a child having various mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. In 2009, Neuro Image, a journal of brain function, released a study that showed that children that were frequently spanked had less grey matter in several areas of their prefrontal cortex, which has been linked to several mental health disorders including depression and addiction. Corporal punishment has also been connected to increased amounts of aggression and decreased cognitive ability in children.
Childhelp is one of the largest nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping those affected by child abuse and neglect. Daphne Young, vice president of communications and prevention education for Childhelp, said physical force is never necessary to discipline a child in order to change their behavior.
“There’s nothing in the world that gets better through beating and hands-on behavior,” Young said. “What it does sometimes is create a cycle of abuse. They discipline with love, they create a loving person.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of child abuse call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. For more information and resources, call Childhelp at 1-800-4-A-Child.