Stop Posting Your Kids on the Internet – A Rant!

Hi Parent,

Your kid is cute and clever and can sing and dance and act and be funny and get mad and stoned and all sorts of things. But remember this: you are not legally required to video it and post it online.  It is perfectly acceptable to record a video or single image of your incredibly bright and/or goofy kid and share with only friends and family.  You know, you could learn to burn a DVD or save it on your computer. You could even watch said event without recording it and then relay it by storytelling!! Try remembering one moment in your kids life without your phone plastered to your face, without worrying how many Comments or Likes your project is going get, and planning your trip to the Ellen Show that might occur if the video takes off. Does your kid even know what you look like? I bet if they drew you a picture of you, you’d appear to be half-human, one side of your face resembling the newest camera phone.

Obviously a toddler or child doesn’t know anything about privacy or consent, and have no concept of what a viral video is, so of course, go ahead and do it!!   Remember when you were a kid, in a room full of your parent’s friends or other family members and they begin to talk about how you barfed at the dentist’s, cried at a hair cut, or ran the wrong way at the t-ball game or something else that may not have been your greatest moment. Good times! Nothing like feeling all eyes on you as your worst day is broadcast to a room full of people. But your the adult now. Times have changed. Why not broadcast it to the entire world?


Seemingly harmless video of a toddler ‘pooting’

Kinda funny. Little kid doing a funny thing. Not the end of the world, of course. But, the mom in the video spells out exactly what the video can be used for – to embarrass the girl later when she begins dating boys. Hilarious! I’m sure the four year old completely understands how the internet works. Teenagers learn quickly that their parents are on the earth to embarrass them and make their lives miserable. This little girl has fair warning in that regard. I’m sure the Mom will be just as thrilled when the girl perhaps makes her own, ahem,’ video’ her first year in college with her boyfriend.

If you are unsure whether taping your kids for online fame is the right choice try this:  if you have one, let your teenager shoot video of you for a week – in the bathroom, at work, out to dinner, getting dressed, driving, or getting fired from your job. Now allow them to post whatever they capture and describe it without any control on your part about the content. Pretty awesome, huh?

Here’s what Parent is thinking:

Ooh, look at Johnny stick the garden hose down his pants and shoot it at the dog! So funny! Let me record it, upload it and maybe, just maybe it will go viral and EVERYONE on the planet will see Johnny being silly with the garden hose and he’ll be called Garden Hose Boy and then we’ll get invited to the Today Show where Johnny can fuss, crap, or barf on the couch while Meredith Vieira asks ME questions about MY child.

This is another:

The mother feels obligated to record her drugged-up-just-been-to-the-dentist* son for about 8 minutes while still driving the car (making the road safer for us all, of course! For you mini-van drivers, this is Exhibit A why you suck. This lady has no business driving). Sure, maybe the kid later agreed to post it since he’s older and probably understands the internet a little. Perhaps he thought it was hilarious.  Or maybe he posted it himself? I don’t know.  I’m sure in twenty years when he’s going for that job promotion, he’ll be thrilled when this video is passed around, and he’ll be taken more seriously.  “Hey, Johnny, did you marry your sister, yet?!” I have a feeling, though, that this kid and his sister have bigger problems, having to live with this parent whose idea of being a good driver means a dolly shot across the interior of the van.

Parent, you do know your kid is not a pet monkey, right?    I don’t have kids. If I did, I would share their lives with family and friends, of course.  But to a degree that is respectful of the little person that is being raised, especially if it’s a video highlighting an embarrassing moment (which I wouldn’t make in the first place so would not happen). Parents will say you can’t understand unless your parent. That’s the same excuse you hear while they let their kids run around in a store like gremlins.  I would counter that it’s not so much about being a parent as it is being a person using another person for your own thrill have having an online presence.  Even if your kid can play the drums like a maniac or sing like an angel, ask yourself why you are posting the video and what do you really expect from it.  Do you get depressed when only 152 people view your video and someone else’s gets a million hits? Do you feel like a loser, then? Well, you might be. I hope that knowing this allows you to move on in life. Perhaps have another kid who is more camera-friendly or more embarrassing. There’s nothing worse than having an average looking kid doing not-so-embarrassing things – am I right or what?

After writing this, I did a google search and found a similar mindset at TheStir, more about the Charlie Bit My Finger family. So, I’m not the only who is bothered by this. There’s no stopping these types of videos, of course.  Kids will say and do the darnedest things, and God forbid it happens without the whole world seeing.

*I’m amazed that dentists and medical professionals allow individuals to video record their patients, young or old, for entertainment value (ie, taping someone who’s just had a dose of laughing gas, etc). Is this legal? Even if it is, as the parent or guardian filled with excellent judgment, please don’t be too disappointed if your kid doesn’t perform well for you. There’s always next time!