A Malaysian reality star is facing backlash after posting an online video “rope swinging” with this 2-year-old daughter.
Redha Rozlan, winner of Fear Factor Malaysia, posted a video on March 17 of him jumping 60 metres off a bridge with his daughter Mecca strapped to his chest. The reality star claims the jump with outdoor adventure group Rentas Adventures in the country’s Hulu Selangor district wasn’t forced, World of Buzz reports.
On Instagram, Rozlan said his daughter Mecca was the one who wanted to go swinging. Translated from Malay, Rozlan wrote Mecca really “enjoyed the first jump,” and requested to go a second time. He also told people who were outraged to “chill.”
Following media coverage both locally and internationally, the outdoor adventure group released a statement in Malay on Facebook that it will temporarily ban kids from jumping with an adult.
“We will only encourage them to play mobile legend and also bike,” the translated statement said. Organizers note jumpers who want their kids to join in were “special cases” and the company took safety measures for the child and adult before the jump. In regards to Mecca not wearing a helmet, the company said it was only for the GoPro.
“Logically, there is no object that can fall and hit the head. It’s not rock-climbing,” the statement continued. The company also wanted the public to know this was not bungee jumping and in fact a rope swinging from side to side. “Whiplash does not happen.”
Social media users react
On Instagram, several users criticized Rozlan for bringing his daughter with him, even though she wanted to go.
“Please be the child’s voice and do not allow this. Their little bodies can not handle this. Please establish a minimum age and have appropriate safety equipment for older children,” user mefernie wrote.
“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Hopefully no one that you foolishly allow to endanger their child ends up getting your company into some serious trouble,” user em_lenore wrote.
“The force from that fall can cause serious injuries in adults. The risks are greater in children. The reason this was allowed to happen is most likely because the country in which it occurred doesn’t have proper regulations or enforcement,” user em_lenore continued.
Others, however, note the child appears to be safe. “If there are additional safety measures needed to be put in place in order for adults to participate in outdoor activities with their children, I can understand that. Looks like it was a lot of fun,” user msharlemsunshineChild wrote.
Others commented how the North American reaction to this story, in particular, indicates a gap in parenting.
Either way, some human rights lawyers in Malaysia note parents could be charged with endangering a child’s life, Free Malaysia Today reports.
“The company operating the rope spring jump was also negligent for not preventing the parent from having the child tag along,” lawyer Andrew Khoo told the website. “Yes, action can be taken under the Child Act. This clearly breached safety requirements, too.”
In Ontario, for example, the province’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority Act requires riders at amusement parks, like Canada’s Wonderland, to obey warnings and follow directions. The amusement park also has a rating system and most roller coasters would be considered “aggressive thrill ride” not for children.
Parenting expert and early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski of Vancouver tells Global News there is no reason for parents to introduce their child to these types of extreme sports, even if they are deemed safe.
“The risks are so high for so many reasons, for so many of the people involved. Even if they are safe, there is no developmental benefit for this for any child in early childhood,” she says. “As a parent, our role and responsibility is to help keep children healthy and safe, avoiding and protecting them from risks and danger.”
And while she understands some parents have an interest in extreme activities or sports, this should be saved for later in childhood, and not at two.
“Young children, under one to five years are just beginning to develop their bodies and minds and require a variety of activity that is age-appropriate to do so,” she said.