Since You Asked…
By CAROLINE SPOSTO
My granddaughter is three, and her little brother is 18 months old.
My son and daughter-in-law constantly film them to make cute videos for YouTube and TikTok. These aren’t simple home videos; they come up with ideas and often prompt the kids to say and do funny things or even stage a little cute mischief. They’ll have the kids repeat things a few times until they get the “take” they want, and then they edit, add music, post it online as if the moments were candid.
They aren’t making these videos for money. My son has a good job. They’re certainly not mistreating their kids, who often seem to have fun participating in these antics. Yet something about this makes me heartsick.
Am I being narrowminded?
No. You’re not being narrowminded at all. It’s concerning when parenting turns into “sharenting.”
Your grandkids are too young to know that thousands of people are watching them, let alone understand the concept. In that respect, these videos are an invasion of their privacy that could expose them to problems in the future since the internet can be a dangerous and unforgiving place.
Videos that are cute when a child is three years old won’t necessarily disappear when he or she is old enough to find them embarrassing or, worse yet, be bullied or harassed over them.
These days, people Google before they hire, go on a date and so on. I think that trend is here to stay. Few people will be well-served by having an internet history that goes back to when they were in diapers.
I think you should have a serious talk with your son and his wife at a time when their kids aren’t present. Remind them that they’re the gatekeepers regarding strangers having access to their children. Tell them that these videos normalize a lack of boundaries and privacy that could one day lead to severe, unintended consequences for those kids.
You might also point out that if their kids get angry with them in the future, those videos stand to become a very sore and irrefutable point of contention.
Hopefully, you can convince them to channel their creativity into home movies that will be nothing more than family keepsakes or clever YouTube and TikTok videos that don’t feature their small children.
Your partner in privacy.
Do you have a problem that’s been on your mind for a while? Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.