In this age of social media viral videos, it seems that people will often do anything for their few minutes in the spotlight. We've seen an endless list of "challenges" from the Tide Pod challenge to the vacuum cleaner challenge and even the shell on challenge. No doubt you've recently seen another video that has gone viral that has, like many other challenges, sparked quite the wave of controversy among viewers.
Recently a woman named Vet Fikes posted a video that showed her feeding a young boy at a kitchen table. When the boy refused the food that Fikes offered, she attempted to 'feed' it to a stuffed bear. When the stuffed bear refused to eat, Fikes is seen punching the bear repeatedly. She then offers the food to the stunned young boy who then slowly eats what is offered to him while Fikes tries to contain her laughter.
Fikes isn't the only person to try this method of encouraging children to eat. Twitter user @rudyhernandez_ posted his own video which he said featured his nephew also refusing the food that was offered. The adult who is doing the feeding then offered the food to a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy and proceeded to beat the stuffed animal by punching it repeatedly in the face when the stuffie also 'refused'. The youngster then immediately ate the food offered.
While many viewers on both Facebook and Twitter found the videos hilarious, others were disturbed by the idea of using the threat of violence as a teaching method for children. Christopher Duett is an Orlando father of two who decided he would post his own video in response that suggests that positive reinforcement can also be used to persuade a picky eater to actually eat.
In the video, Duett can be seen trying to encourage his young son to eat. When his son refuses, he uses a stuffed toy like the other videos, but this time instead of inflicting violence on the stuffed animal, the stuffed penguin enjoys the food being offered. Duett encourages his son to also pretend to feed his stuffed animal and in the end, his son ends up also trying the food.
Hey dumb fuckers using stuffed animals to exhibit negative reinforcement to get your kids to do something, watch this... pic.twitter.com/sLmL5NM5qS— Christopher Duett (@BethuneTheory) June 23, 2019
Duett, the father of two boys ages 8 and 2, told Buzzfeed he filmed his video in response to those other videos that were going viral to "show that there are other effective methods to having a child comply without the potential of causing any damage to their emotional development."
"I just wanted parents who were influenced by the other video to consider the approach that I used," he said. He added that he was concerned by how many people thought the viral videos showing adults using violence towards the toys were funny. "I couldn’t understand why so many people could find such a tactic humorous or acceptable behavior for a parent to engage in towards a young child," Duett said.
The father of two says he hopes parents will watch his video and see there are other ways of getting your children to comply at the dinner table. "Parents will undoubtedly watch those videos and try what they’ve seen to have their children comply, but ... it’s potentially harmful to the child’s emotional development and creates an excuse for parents to engage in counterproductive parenting techniques," he said.
Duett's video currently has almost 1 million views while Hernadez's has over 16 million views.