Remember that thing you did? No? Well everybody else does…

I’m not really sure how to write this blog without simply summarizing the lecture today. I’d like to start however by saying WHAT THE HELL? Was it really necessary to see a woman giving birth on YouTube? I realize that the point was to show that a large amount of newborns, and children under the age of two, have an online presence. But really there was no easier way to prove this other than showing an eight minute clip of a naked woman in labour? That however is besides the point.

The point of the lecture was mostly to discuss how people being born in todays (mostly western) society are living their lives on the internet. Parents are filming and documenting their children’s every move and posting them on YouTube or Facebook for the entire world to see. Because this is generally a new practice we do not know exactly how it is going to effect the lives of the children who are being documented.

For example when Harry and Charlie from “Charlie bit my finger” grow up how are their peers going to respond to them? Will the kids at school use the video(s) to make fun of the children or make their lives awkward? How long will it be before the children can walk around in public without people recognizing them? And, the strangest part is, because the two boys are so young, they will probably not ever even remember (especially Charlie) their parents making the film. If they had not been filmed doing the finger biting thing, at most the children would have grown up just having to hear the same story from their folks over and over again about how adorable they were as kids. Now however, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives, and they will have no recollection of ever even making the movie when they grow up, they’re too young to remember.

The same concept can apply to the girls we looked at in class today. The birth of Maelle on YouTube and all the movies of the two sisters growing up is something that could certainly be used against them by their peers. I mean really who would want to know that there is a video of their naked mother on the internet giving birth? The children, when they get a bit older and start developing friendships at school and day cares, are not going to want their friends seeing their mother naked leaning up against a yoga ball giving birth. It just is not something people want their friends to see.

It’s bad enough bringing home a new girlfriend or boyfriend, and having your parents or grandparent show them embarrassing pictures of you growing up (no matter how “cool” you think your mum is, at one point or another this happens to everyone). Think about how embarrassing it would be if they showed your new relation a video of your mother giving birth to you. Or even for that matter the video of Maelle singing about how she likes Brendan, what if this Brendan guy were to one day come to their home for a dinner date with Maelle and her family, and mum decides to whip out that video? I’m sure it would be extremely embarrassing for Maelle.

And I feel the worst part of all of this is the idea that once something goes onto the internet, it is impossible to remove it completely. Say for example the children featured in “sociallyskilled” videos grow  up and watch the movies and decide that they do not like them, and they want the videos removed. It would almost be impossible for them to remove the clips, because as Strangelove mentioned in one of his lectures, if the video is something people want to see, it is going to be on websites other than YouTube, someone will have a copy of it somewhere, and people will view it. The videos were all made when the children were so young that they didn’t know that one day they were going to grow up and maybe not like being shown on YouTube. Children should be able to act naturally and not have to worry about whether the entire world is going to see them. Nor should they have to worry about whether they will regret acting a certain way ten years from now.

So I guess I feel that filming your kids and posting stuff on the internet, no matter how adorable and innocent it is, is not really always a good thing. I have no problem with filming or documenting a child, as long as you wait to put it up on YouTube. I feel that parents should wait until their children are of an age when they can give a proper consent and realize all the implications of YouTube, and having a video on YouTube, before they can go and post it.

Just as an aside, I could probably write another whole blog about this, but it’s a Friday afternoon before a long weekend so i’m just going to make it a paragraph or two. I feel that we should look at the video about zombies from “sociallyskilled” … Approximately three minutes in, the last ten or fifteen seconds of the video. It is interesting how the children (mostly Kira) have over time become accustom to their mum having the video camera in front of them, and that they have learned that they can use their “cuteness” or camera presence (i don’t know what i’m trying to say here hopefully it makes sense in a second) to manipulate their mum into doing something enjoyable, something  that would usually only happen once in a while, a “treat” if you will. For example right at the end of the zombie clip, Kira asks her mum if they can make a cookie movie. Most children would just ask if they could bake some cookies, but these children have grown up in front of a cam corder and know that their mum enjoys filming them. It is clear that Kira has come to the conclusion that she is more likely to get her way if she can also please her mother in the process. She asks not if they can bake cookies, but instead make a movie on cookies. I just found that a little strange, that they have become so used to being in front of a camera that they now ask if they can have fun, and make a video at the same time. Whereas most children would simply ask to just have fun and make cookies.

look at that 1115… these things are getting longer and longer…

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