A video of a young girl's reaction to her father's fatal shooting of two unarmed neighbors has spurred debates on social media, raising the questions on the root of such behavior and how it should be handled.
In the viral clip, the suspect Corporal Jonel Nuezca, can be seen with his young daughter in an altercation with Sonya Rufino Gregorio and Frank Anthony Rufino Gregorio in Paniqui town, Tarlac.
At one point in the argument, the child aggressively shouted "my father is a policeman," to which Sonya replied that she does not care before Nuezca shoots her and her son, Frank Anthony.
The child's apparent lack of surprise over her father's actions, as captured in the viral video, has divided netizens on whether minors should be spared from vitriol on the internet.
Why do children react the way they do? It depends on how they grew up, said life coach and psychologist Dr. Ali Gui.
"They react according to how they were brought up. Many, many things sum up and help the child become who they are, that's why we have to be careful with our children," Gui told reportr.
Family environment, community, playmates, schools, and people children interact with all play a role in how they are molded to become the persons they are.
Based on the viral clip alone, it would show that it was not the first time the child was exposed to violence, Gui said, noting that normally, children would be afraid or surprised if they are first exposed to such incidents.
"Baka hindi niya naiintindihan ano ang tama at mali dahil hindi naman natin alam ano ang itinuturo ng magulang niya eh. Hindi natin alam kung ano ang itinuturo ng tatay niya."
How should the internet react?
While the child's reaction would shock many, Dr. Gui urged netizens to go easy on their criticism as she noted that the girl is still a minor.
"Let us go easy on criticizing because, again, according to the law, the girl is still a minor. Yung feeling, yung bugso ng damdamin ng mga tao doon sa nangyari ay understandable. Of course, we feel for the victims but then again we don't know the girl's background or history," Gui said.
Chances are, according to Gui, the girl was brought up to believe that her father can do whatever he wants just because he is a police officer.
The girl's unflinching reaction to the crime also suggested that she has been exposed to violence and has developed a high tolerance for it, Gui said.
"That child has a high level of exposure and high tolerance to violence. That was murder. This child should really be rehabilitated because her thinking might be different," she added.
For Gui, the girl is a victim too, in the sense that she has been widely exposed to violence at such a young age.
"We do not know what happens in the family. To be exposed to high violence, at a very young age, victim siya," she said.
What should be done?
Subjecting the child to psychological assessments is best, said Gui, so proper intervention can be given.
"There is hope. As long as properly assessed and given the right treatment, kaya pa siyang baguhin," she said.
If not acted upon, Gui said there is a chance that the child might grow up to be very fearful or on the flipside, engage in bullying.
"That child is a victim but if we are not careful, that child might grow up to victimize other people."