David and Elana Barnes provoked outraged cries of ‘irresponsible parenting’ after they posted a video of their 5-year-old daughter swimming with sharks onto YouTube.
However, they still would have let Anaia, 5, swim with sharks during their vacation in the Bahamas because ‘life is too short to be boring’, they argued on ABC’s Good Morning America today.
The Youtube video became an internet sensation with some users slamming the Connecticut parents‘ decision as ‘dangerous’ and ‘reckless’ while others praised the couple’s adventurous nature.
Adventure: David and Elana Barnes have had to defend allowing their five-year-old daughter, Anaia, swim with sharks while on holiday in the Bahamas” title=”Adventure: David and Elana Barnes have had to defend allowing their five-year-old daughter, Anaia, swim with sharks while on holiday in the Bahamas
The video, which has been viewed more than 21,000 times since it was put up on June 20, shows 5-year-old Anaia swimming with reef, lemon and nurse sharks.
The footage shows that Anaia is swimming with instructors and a group of adults.
In the Youtube post, Elana wrote: ‘We swam with Reef, Lemon, and Nurse sharks, all very low on the aggression index, yet still very thrilling! Put it on your bucket list!’
Nurse sharks and lemon sharks are generally gentle and not aggressive towards humans whereas reef sharks are considered to be more of a threat to humans.
The 9-minute video has divided opinion with some commentators arguing that letting your five-year-old swim with sharks is stupid not ‘thrilling’.
‘Precariously endangering the life of your child is something which obviously shows a complete lack of common sense,’ wrote one user.
However, another user argued: ‘You have a better chance of being mauled by your family dog, struck by lightning, or getting into a car crash on your way to work then being attacked by one of these sharks.’
While comments have described the parents’ behaviour as ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’, Elana said on GMA ‘at no point did I feel like this was dangerous.’
The mother also wrote on the Youtube post that there had been no attacks in the 20 years the company had been running the shark-swimming experience.
Anaia’s father argued on GMA, ‘There’s just always risk assessments in life every day. I’m more concerned that they don’t put seatbelts in school buses.’
The video begins with footage of a worker feeding the sharks with chunks of fish. Alana tells her daughter: ‘The sharks are hungry. You have got to wait till they are full.’
At the end of the adventure, a fellow swimmer jokes to the girl: ‘Nothing had us for lunch.’
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