child being bullied
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
November 15, 2023 ·  3 min read

Parents Are Divided After Video Of Boy Holding Sign On Side Of Road Goes Viral

Bullying is a real problem that doesn’t get addressed too often. But a 2021 TikTok video has brought forth the other side of the coin. Should public humiliation be a good punishment for someone bullying? This short clip was posted by @userxgwig52jip on TikTok which showed a young boy standing on the side of the road. The kid was holding onto a sign that said, “I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies.” And this took place while his parents were watching him.

The young "bully" who is being made to hold up the sign as a punishment
Image Credit: @userxgwig52jip / TikTok

In fact, someone filming it from a passenger car even remarked, “That’s so mean!” One user commented “Boo parents”, with quite a few agreeing that this was a bad way to deal with the issue. On the other hand, there were others who thought this taught a suitable life lesson. “If you disagree with this as a form of punishment, you’re soft lmao. Kid needs to learn his lesson.” Another user wrote, “Bad parents? Lol, dude, you are soft, and that is one great way to handle that.”[1]

Parents Believe The Best Way To Deal With Being A Bully Would Be Public Humiliation

The root of this problem lies intrinsically in the punishment given. While being a bully is certainly a despicable thing, public humiliation might not be the case. Although more than a few commenters thought that this was suitable, real experts in child development think otherwise. Studies have shown that punishment doesn’t really help in changing one’s behavior. Rather, it simply fosters distrust between the kid and the grownups. Some even think that it could result in trauma that would last a lifetime. And finally, the punishment could simply result in the kid hiding their deeds, but not really stopping them in the first place. 

The parents of the boy looks on.
Image Credit: @userxgwig52jip / TikTok

Dr. Michael Karson, a psychology professor, wrote back in 2014, “As soon as the child thinks it’s not being watched (as soon as the situation seems different in some way), the tendency to engage in the behavior will reassert itself. Punished children do what was punished behind their parents’ backs, or as soon as they get to college.” Nevertheless, this certainly didn’t change the perspective of a lot of parents who believe in punishment. While it is commendable that these parents are trying to fix their child after he was caught being a bully- maybe the methods could differ. Also, there is a reason behind anyone doing anything. So, if the underlying reason is not discussed and dealt with, the action will not likely change.[2] 

TikTok Users Have Been Divided On This Sentiment/Opinion

One user on TikTok commented, “Public embarrassment isn’t the right way to handle the situation”. To this, another user replied, “You’re definitely right. There are strategies that are more appropriate and considerate to children’s development and well-being.” Some users believe therapy could have been a far more introspective solution to this problem. At the least, it wouldn’t develop into childhood trauma.

Image Credit: @userxgwig52jip / TikTok

Another user on the social media platform commented, “Publicly embarrassing your child isn’t the way to fix the problem. His parents probably bully him at home so he goes and bullies someone weaker.” Further, another user reiterated the sentiment, “There is something wrong with this. They are bullying their child to teach him bullying is not okay? Sounds counterproductive.

But others replied that the parents were absolutely correct in what they were doing. They further mentioned that this wasn’t rough parenting- but this was the right course of action. One user mentioned, “That’s parenting. Discipline, embarrassment to make then never do it again. That definitely isn’t mean.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the original TikTok no longer exists. But what do you think of this “punishment”?

Keep Reading: Father takes daughter’s bullying victim on a shopping trip to teach her a lesson


  1. “Video Of Parents Forcing Kid To Hold ‘I Am A Bully Sign’ Kicks Off Debate.” Daily Dot. December 29. 2021.
  2. People are divided over parents who forced their son to hold an ‘I am a bully sign’ by the street.” Upworthy. Jisha Joseph. December 30, 2021.