In an incident that has shocked young parents and others here, a highly aggressive toddler beat up a peer in a playschool in south Bengaluru, taking violence and aggression to a new and dangerous threshold.
The incident has also raised issues regarding safety in playschools that have mushroomed across the city as both parents have to go out to work to make ends meet.
Disturbing visuals ahead. Viewers discretion advised.
CCTV Footage Shows Brutal Assault
The incident was captured on CCTV. The footage, which soon went viral on social media, showed a two-and-a-half year old boy suddenly getting up, pinning down a one-and-a-half year old girl and beating her up for no reason. When the child gets up, he repeatedly slaps her on the cheek, pushes her down again and continues bashing her up.
The girl did not put up any resistance or cry. The incident that happened on Wednesday lasted for under three minutes when the person meant to take care of the children had stepped out to take two other toddlers to the washroom, leaving behind eight children without adult supervision.
The incident that occurred between 11 am and noon went unnoticed. However, when the girl reached home, her parents found bruises on her body and asked her about it. The child could not explain coherently what had happened.
Victim Toddler Was Taken To Hospital
The parents took her to a local hospital where a doctor confirmed that she had been assaulted.
The next day the girl's parents went to the playschool and questioned the in-charge. The school authorities were clueless and when they examined the CCTV footage of the previous day, they were shocked to see the violent episode.
Jurisdictional police from the area visited the school on Thursday and interacted with the principal and parents of both the children. However, the police did not register any case as the parents refused to make any statement and refrained from sharing details of the incident.
The boy had joined the school four days ago and the girl had been attending classes from June 1.
The school asked the boy, who had joined four days ago, not to come from the next day. The family of the girl, who had been attending the playschool from June 1, pulled her out.
“The parents are also shocked by the child’s behaviour. We have recommended that the child be counselled,” the school head was quoted as saying. “We have been telling parents to cut down children’s screen time. With the pandemic, socialisation among children has also been poor,” she said.
What Do Child Experts Say?
Child experts blamed parents and screen time for the violence. Children do not have the impulse to control or self-regulate and that is why they need parents and others to help them regulate their emotions and understand what is socially acceptable, experts were quoted as saying in the media.
Experts also felt that a child’s behaviour is influenced by what they see around them. Much of the aggression and violence is either because of domestic violence or because such acts are highly glorified in movies and serials that many parents watch along with their children.
“Children mimic what they see around them, something that s/he watched on TV or at home. It could be coming from any kind of exposure. They replay things that they see around them,” one expert said.
Authorities in the field of child education underlined the need for trained staff for dealing with children in playschools and also for the need to maintain a healthy ratio between the number of children and supervisors.
Experts also said there is no distinction between playschools, day care centres and pre-school, a highly sensitive field that is left in the hands of untrained people.