Viral videos in which a woman organises three children to steal from two Swan Street businesses have drawn the ire of child rights advocate Shelly Ross.
In the first video, CCTV footage captures the woman with a young boy and two girls inside a mobile phone store.
One of the girls removed items from the counter and puts them in her backpack while the woman watches. At one point, the woman stands in front of the camera in an attempt to block the view of the girl”s actions.
Moments later, the woman signaled to the girl to reach over the counter and steal a phone.
But a passerby who witnessed the incident entered the store and demanded she return the phone, which she did just as the store attendant returned.
In the second video, CCTV footage shows the same quartet clad in the same clothes entering another Swan Street store.
This time, as the girls distracted the cashier, the little boy walked to a section of the store, took an item and walked to another area of the store where he is seen putting the item into his haversack.
The mobile phone business confirmed to Barbados TODAY that the incident occurred on Tuesday and authenticated the video.
The police had also been alerted, management said.
After viewing the footage, Ross told Barbados TODAY she was very concerned by what she had seen.
She said both the girls and the boy appeared to have already perfected the art of stealing.
The children’s advocate said encouraging children to commit these acts amounted to child abuse.
Ross said: “If this is what she is doing then that is child abuse. There has been a lot of talk recently about the need to address the issues among our youth and violence in schools, but I have heard nothing about what we are doing with the adults.
“We need to break the generational curse. Children copy the behaviour of adults, so if that is what they are seeing the adults around them do we can’t expect them to do anything else different.”
Ross called for an intervention for parents and adults. She said the only way behaviour among children could be changed was for adults to behave more responsibly.
“If children are growing up in an environment where they are exposed to cursing, fighting and stealing, chances are that is how they are also going to behave.
“The environments in homes and schools first have to be improved if we are to see any significant improvement among the younger generation,” Ross said.
Police spokesman Sergeant Michael Blackman told Barbados TODAY he could neither confirm nor deny if police had seen those videos.
Efforts to reach director of the Child Care Board Joan Crawford and deputy director Denise Nurse for comment proved unsuccessful. [email protected]