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The 36-Hour Day

with Lylah M. Alphonse

I'm a full-time editor, a part-time writer, and a mom and stepmom to five amazing kids, ages 1 to 14. For me it's not about finding balance, it's about the daily juggle-- my career, my commute, freelance work, homework, housework, married life, social life, and parenting-- and finding the time to get it all done.

To learn more about Lylah, check out her Work It, Mom! profile and read her blog at writeeditrepeat.blogspot.com.

Should we ban kids from online videos?

Categories: Hacking Life, Parenting

6 comments

For all the flak mommy bloggers get when they post about their kids, I have to think that it pales in comparison to “reality” shows like Jon and Kate plus Eight. If having a film crew follow your family around all the time isn’t exploiting your children for money, I don’t know what is.

But what about your own videos, posted on YouTube, Vimeo, and the like? You intend those clips to be seen by far-flung family and friends, but what happens when a video of your kid goes viral?

Like most parents, I think my kids are pretty amazing. I shoot videos of them singing or playing or putting sunglasses on the dog or whatever silly snippet of their childhood I don’t want to forget. I embarrass my teens and tween by hauling out their old artwork or retelling stories about the funny things they did when they were little. I’m proud of their accomplishments and their talents and want to share their triumphs with the world.

But posting them online? Not so sure about that.

By now, most of you have probably seen the YouTube video of a little leotard-wearing girl dancing along to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video. On one hand, it’s a cute snippet of a precocious toddler. On the other, if a 2- or 3-year-old can mimic Beyonce so well, what else has she been watching? And who else is watching her?

MomLogic talked to clinical psychologist Dr. Cara Gardenswartz about six of the most popular viral videos out there, and the analysis really makes you see these videos in a different light.

The videos show kids mispronouncing words, acting hyper, or freaking out over innocuous things. They’re funny — sort of. But there’s something about them that’s unsettling. The viewer is being invited to laugh at these children — by their parents. It’s one thing to embarrass your older kids in person in front of family and friends; it’s another thing to expose your child to the world when he’s vulnerable.

Maybe I’m being too harsh; I’m sure most of the parents of viral video stars never intended the clip to be viewed by anyone other than out-of-state friends and family members. (In which case… set your account to private, not public.) But there are some to whom I can’t give the benefit of the doubt. The videos of children who are clearly upset about something… why are the parents still taping? Drop your camera and comfort your child.

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6 comments so far...

  • I don’t think we should ban kid videos from the internet, but maybe we should ban stupid parents from raising children. If a parent is doing something harmful to a child (like not comforting them when they are freaking out at a puppet show), banning the video they made is not going to make the child’s life any better. In fact, maybe it’s better that their bad parenting is out there for all the world to see…maybe someone will do something about it.

    The link to the six most popular viral videos is interesting…although I’m surprised that I had only seen one before. The “analysis” is a little much…come on, we all know the kid just had a painful dental procedure…it’s still funny. My son went through the same thing after a dental visit, and I’ve replayed it (in words) hudreds of times to tell other parents what it’s like to have a kid on that sort of medication. And trust me, my son thinks it’s hilarious too…not scarred at all.

    The TV shows about the funniest videos have been around a LONG time and many of them contain stupid kid things…probably things that an expert would analyze as “harmful” to a child’s self-esteem. So I sort of see this as a version of those shows.

    Karla E  |  June 4th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  • I recently posted a blog here about this. The way I see it, if we respect our friends or family member’s wishes to be anonymous in our online lives, why wouldn’t we extend the same to our children until they’re old enough to decide for themselves? Besides…the internet can be a very creepy place and I don’t want anyone outside of the few people I share with, in person, to laugh at my daughter’s trials and entertaining moments.

    As for the crying kids, parents really need to wake up. It’s not funny.

    Phe  |  June 5th, 2009 at 7:13 am

  • Phe, I missed that post of yours! Just went back to find it… I really relate to your going from 70 “friends” to 70 FRIENDS and how you handle family photos.

    Phe’s great post is here: http://www.workitmom.com/blogs/member_blog_post/8265

    Lylah  |  June 5th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

  • Yes, I totally agree. There are just too many things on the internet and without even meaning to kids just come accross videos that never in your lifetime would you ever want them to see. All you’ve got to do is type in the wrong word or click on the wrong post and suddenly their looking at something they shouldn’t be. And it’s not just videos, there are certain sites (most teenage sites where there just isn’t enough supervision nor will there ever be aka myspace). Your child could be seeing anthing from cusswords, violence, sex, and a number of other things. The internet should have parental supervision if they are going to be allowed to those things.

    Lindsey  |  June 5th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

  • Lylah,
    It’s amazing at how kids make us prioritize things. Like friendships, for example. Thank you for the plug too. ; )

    Phe  |  June 6th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  • PS - In reference to my blog post, I will cop to macro-ing an ultrasound or two of my child…but never posted them publicly. Like I noted, I don’t want any old idiot to macro my kid, but I’m not above doing it myself.

    Phe  |  June 6th, 2009 at 6:18 pm

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