Video of 5-year-old girl swimming with sharks draws criticism

A video posted by YouTube user elanajoy86, Elena Barnes, has created a stir of online criticism after the video went “viral.” The video documents a snorkel off Nassau, Bahamas in the presence of a variety of species of sharks common to the area. According to the video information, the drift snorkel took place in the presence of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris), nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum), and Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezii). Barnes describes the different species as “all very low on the aggression index.”

The criticism arose due to the fact that Barnes’ 5-year-old daughter also took part in the swim. Accusations (primarily in the form of blogs and YouTube comments) of irresponsible parenting due to the fact that a child is swimming in the presence of sharks. Barnes has since disabled comments on YouTube but notes in the video description that she appreciates those who are “greatly concerned” about her daughters well-being. She defended her and her husband’s decision to allow their daughter to participate in the swim and noted that her daughter was under constant supervision throughout the experience.

Barnes seems to have no regrets about the experience, despite some of the negative online backlash, and she even concludes the video description on YouTube by recommending the experience to others.

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