Toddlers learn to talk by mimicking the words of those around them, and many adults have frantically tried to ‘unteach’ a word unintentionally taught, hoping to rid their swearing toddler of the word before Mom returned home, or before the next daycare day.
We may hope, however, that most parents don’t intentionally teach their toddlers to mimic language that is abusive, racially divisive, or offensive.
In the video above, CNN reports on a video that appeared on a police union website, in which adults encourage a small child to make a rude gesture and to swear and discuss gang affiliation, while exchanging insults and abuse with the adults.
The video first came to broad notice when visitors to the website became understandably upset, feeling that the commentary on the video was divisive and that it was unfair to declare the toddler’s fate based on interactions in which he did nothing more than follow what he was taught by adults around him.
Now CNN reports that the child has been removed from the home, along with three others.
While nothing in the video was a criminal act, it seems that its viral rounds prompted further investigation into the household, and the investigation by Omaha’s Child Victim Unit and Nebraska’s Child Protective Services found what are being called ‘safety issues’ in the household.
There are no details regarding what the safety issues were, or whether there was any other impetus to investigate the family other than the video.
Perhaps the sharing of the video brought attention to a child who needed saving from an unsafe home, or perhaps it created bias and led to the removal of four children who, other than some socially unacceptable language, were fine. Without further information, it’s hard to say.
However, if the children were being harmed, and if the video is evidence of it, wouldn’t the police group have done better to turn it over to child services right away, rather than posting it on their website to dissect?