NOIDA: In the wake of the Pathways School incident following which three students were suspended for slapping a class X student in an alleged attempt to create a Snapchat story which the school called a “slap-bet”, psychiatrists have warned about the punishing approach towards the children or teens indulging in violent or irresponsible behaviour due to internet usage.
Experts have also called for a therapeutic approach rather than a punishing approach towards teens who have been suspended on allegations that they were bullying the victim who is suffering from a hearing impairment following the incident.
On September 8, TOI had reported about the incident when a Class X student in school uniform was slapped hard by one of his classmates even as at least two others were trying to make a video out of the incident.
After the video reached the parents of the boy, the family lodged a complaint with the school authorities calling it as a case of bullying and alleging that the boy suffered 25 per cent hearing loss in the left ear after the incident.
While the 16-year-old who slapped the boy was suspended for a month, the two others who filmed the incident for the snapchat story, were suspended for two weeks.
Dr. Dinesh Kataria, Professor and Head of Department of Psychiatry, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi told TOI that the possibility that the incident was a result of internet usage cannot be denied.
Dr Mrinmay Das, Senior Consultant, Behavioral Sciences, Jaypee Hospital, Sector 128 told TOI that in the Pathways case, the children involved in the incident should not have been punished by suspension but rather counselled, adding that even the ones who are involved are “victims” and not perpetrators.
“Even these students are victims and not perpetrators. We have to change this punishing approach to a friendly approach,” Das said.
Dr. Neharshi Srivastava, psychologist at the Super Speciality Paediatric Hospital and Post Graduate Teaching Institute (SSPHPGTI), told TOI that the this punishing approach often results in reinforcing the tendency to repeat such an incident rather than help stop a repeat.
“Suspension is no solution to the problem. Such cases should be dealt by experts who can counsel the teens and children. If a child has been suspended for an action, he might lose the fear of suspension. He or she might feel that the action can result only in a suspension. If he doesn’t fear about the result of the action any more, it can actually reinforce the tendency to repeat it,” Srivastava told TOI.