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French TV campaign wants parents to stop smacking kids

Getty Images/Photodisc/Noel Hendrickson

A campaign on French television this weekend will show in slow motion a young boy being smacked by his mother, in a bid to shock parents out of the practice.

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The Foundation for Childhood is behind the idea and the short film clip, slowed down to a speed of 1000 images per second, will be shown on 15 stations from Saturday.

Dr. Gilles Lazimi is the campaign co ordinator and he hopes it will make parents stop before they hit out at their children.

"There is no such thing as a little smack", he says. "It is an act of violence, and there is no violence which does not have consequences or risks. A child's brain is fragile, and when you realise that 50% of French parents give their children their first smack before the age of two, it is time to wake up."

Several studies conclude that smacking children is harmful;

"A smack interrupts brain activity", says Dr. Lazimi. "It prevents the child from thinking, it saturates the child with stress hormones, takes away a child's control of its own body, which can, over the long term, encourage a person to endanger their own body - with acohol for example. But above all, the child will deduce that hitting people is a way of communicating, that to love is to hit. And when that child becomes a parent, (s)he too will use the same practice."

In 33 countries around the world smacking your children is illegal and in 2010, French paediatrician and right wing MP Edwige Antier tried to introduce such a law in France, without success.

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