Alexis’ Final Blog Post


For this blog post, we were asked to write about how nonverbal communication can be used to discipline, control, punish, or surveille others. Discipline is the practice of training people to obey a code of behavior. Control is the power to influence people’s behavior. Punishment is defined as the imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense. Surveillance is described as the monitoring of behavior or activities of people for the purpose of influence, directing, or protecting them. I will relate these ideas to three of the four units we went over in class. The three units I selected are mediated communication, visual rhetoric, and interpersonal communication.

Mediated Communication

Mediated communication is the use of technology to interact with others. This can be done through social media, texting, blogging, webcams, and so on. This form of communication can be used to punish others. A fairly new example of this would be parents social media shaming their children. It has become quite popular on Facebook for a parent to post a video of their child after they have done something wrong. Some guardians make their son or daughter publicly confess their wrongdoing, while some go as far as recording them getting an embarrassing haircut. The boy pictured below was being a bully at school and his father was not going to put up with that. He recorded himself shaving the top of his son’s head to make him look like an old man. The video went viral on Facebook. Mediated communication can also be used to surveille others. An example of this would be law enforcements using social media to help crack cases or catch suspects. Police have found that some people like to brag about the crimes they commit on social media. Also, witnesses can post clues, such as hearing gunshots or posting a video of the events. Most social media users are unaware that law enforcement watches what they post.


Visual Rhetoric

Visual Rhetoric describes how images communicate other messages. This form of nonverbal communication can be used as discipline and as control. It can be used as discipline by street signs that tell you not to do something and include the repercussions that will happen if you do not obey. For example, handicapped parking spots often have signs that say “tow away zone” and “fine up to $250.” These signs will make people think twice before taking a handicapped spot when they are not handicapped themselves. Some are not considerate enough to leave the spots to those who need it, so a potential penalty is necessary. States are continuously becoming more and more strict to people who violate this law. Visual rhetoric can be used as control by things such as stop signs and do not enter signs. Stop signs are controlling drivers to halt and look both ways before continuing on. Drivers would have no idea of knowing what crossroads they are supposed to stop at without stop signs. Do not enter signs inform people that they are trying to go down a one-way street or an exit ramp on the highway. These signs put control into our communities and make them a safer place.


Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication occurs anytime people exchange information through verbal and nonverbal messages. This type of communication is seen often in discipline, such as when mothers scold their children. If a child does something wrong, a mom will give them “the look” and point their finger at them. The child reads their mother’s actions, realizes he or she broke the rules, and makes an effort not to do it again. It has been found that those who use pointing gestures often are obeyed more often than those who do not. Interpersonal communication is used as punishment when a child is spanked. A child is usually so surprised that one of their parents would hit them that it hurts their feelings. This type of example falls under the touch part of nonverbal communication. The spank is a result of being bad, and hopefully like the stern face, makes them not do the act again. Although spanking has declined in popularity in America, a majority of Americans still support it.


In conclusion, discipline, control, punish, and surveille can be found very easily in the topics we covered in class. As one can tell from my examples, nonverbal communication serves to watch and control. I believe this is an important subject matter and more people need to realize just how important nonverbal communication really is.


Burgal, Jenni. “States Cracking Down On Accessible Parking Abuse.” Disability Scoop. N.p., 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

Dwoskin, Elizabeth. “Police Are Spending Millions of Dollars to Monitor the Social Media of Protesters and Suspects.” The Washington Post. N.p., 18 Nov. 2016. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

Knight, Susan A. “Social Media Shaming-Parenting Strategy Failure.” Social Work Today. Great Valley Publishing Company, Dec. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

Machuga, Dominick. “The Importance of Road Signs And Why You Need To Pay Attention to Them.” Self Growth. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

Parenting, PJ. “Statistics on Spanking in America.” PJ Media. N.p., 16 May 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

Waugh, Rob. “Getting the Point Across.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 02 Mar. 2012. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.


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