Domestic classes on introduction to violence

Domestic classes on introduction to violence

If you search YouTube for “Tokat oyunu” (Slapping Game), you will see a long list of many video links. In some of them a father plays it with his son or daughter, in others two brothers play. Sometimes a group of children play among themselves. They take turns slapping each other.

In one of them, first a father slaps his son, then the son slaps the father, then the father again. The slaps get harder gradually. They are having fun slapping each other. The mother or the sister videotaping the incident is also having fun, laughing behind the camera.  

In another video, the younger brother does not want to play with the older. It is understood that the elder brother not only wants to play but also wants to make the younger play to make him “a man.” The young one laughs but at the same time he is afraid, telling his brother, “You are slapping me very hard.” After each slap, he massages his cheek. His brother advises him, “If you close your eyes, then it would not hurt that much.” At one point, he is so angry with his brother’s slap that he has a much harder response. The older brother is happy with the “education.” He encourages, “Well done, yes this is how you do it.” As the child whines “It hurts,” the big brother repeats, “You are a man, bro.” At one point when the younger starts crying, he tells him, “No crying. Whose brother are you?”

This video has been viewed 105,000 times. Others have been viewed 300,000 times; there are even ones that have been viewed 1.5 million times. The cyber world is full of hundreds of slapping game videos watched by millions. 

Children between the ages of 3 and 5, 8 and 10, 12 and 15 slap their peers or adults. These videos are posted with “guaranteed laughter;” the viewers must be enjoying and laughing at them that they keep coming.  

Games are the most important tool for a child to harmonize with the outside world, to learn basic information about the world and social life; they have a key role in child development. 

Well, what can a slapping game teach a child about social life? What kind of a role would this game play in a child’s development when he gets a “well done” when he slaps hard? 

Expert clinical psychologist Ceyda Dedeoğlu defined the danger as: “An act that exerts physical pain on somebody else is coupled with pleasure and this is legitimized with the parent’s approval.” Coupling an act with pleasure does not change the fact that it is an abuse, she said.   

“There is a disproportional use of violence in the videos,” Dedeoğlu said, adding, “One says, for instance, ‘You should also hit harder.’ There is a situation where increasing and uncontrolled violence is appreciated.

Different from martial arts, here, the rules are undefined. There is no framework for the harshness level of slaps or who makes the rules. Besides, there is no guarantee that the child who plays this game will not go out and slap somebody, or that he can make the distinction from game and reality. Children’s minds mature in time to be able to make this distinction.” 

These videos may look innocent and fun to others but it is not a far-fetched possibility that children who couple violence with fun in their minds may grow up to be people who enjoy the pain of others. Imagine those people who take pleasure in torturing others; just like them. 

Dedeoğlu said, “It would not make any change if you remove those videos. What is crucial is for people to reach a position where they would not be laughing at them. If the number of those who have the ‘What is so funny about this?’ stance increases then people would not share these videos. The illusion that this one is a situation that one can proudly post must be left behind.”

Apparently, in Turkey where crime rates and the number of juveniles pushed to crime, abuse, rape, and violence are rapidly increasing, encouraging violence has entered homes. 

Wouldn’t it be better that our state, instead of being engaged in sending birth control to history’s wastebasket, spends its energy on domestic teaching?