A couple of weeks ago, somebody brought to my attention a website called Dogshaming. People submit pictures of their dogs wearing signs around their neck that are meant to be confessions of bad deeds. As the owner of two dogs who do some pretty stupid things, I thought it was hysterical in a twisted sort of way.
Shaming a dog is funny.
Shaming a child is not.
Yesterday I tripped across this apalling article on Huffington Post. Basically, this dad thought shaming his toddler for having an accident in the tub was hysterical. He went to the trouble of making a sign and having her autograph it, he then hung it around her neck and had her pose smiling with it and then, well then he posted it on the internet.
And this is where my head explodes.
Because it’s not just this guy. Humiliating children on the internet is epidemic. And the worst part is it’s the parents that are doing it. Whether it’s declaring favourites, shooting up laptops, admitting you don’t love one, or the double whammy, making them stand in public with a sign around their neck AND posting it on the internet, it appears that embarrassing your kids is the new trend.
And it’s disgusting.
Blogging in particular has brought about a new breed of bullies. Parents that use their children as pawns for page views.
I understand that quest for page views.
If a blog is monetized then page views matter. I’ve written those posts that get tremendous hits and I’ve watched my traffic sky rocket. The flip side of that of course, is that when the herd moves on to the next big thing, your traffic dies and you start to stress about bringing them back. After all, you’re only as hot as your Google Analytics, right?
Being a parent means your children give you scads of material to work with. Heaven knows my kids give me loads of good blog fodder. And then I quickly forget about it and post another recipe or a song that gets me hopping. Because in the end amusing you is not worth embarrassing them.
The internet requires restraint. It means you have to think every single time you put a word on it or every time you post a picture. You have to ask yourself if this will hurt someone you love. Because I guarantee you, those people behind the keyboards don’t love you. They’ll be long gone years down the road, as you’re left picking up the pieces of a broken heart.
When I blog about my children, I ask myself will this embarrass them in any way? I don’t ask my child. At 10 and 8 they don’t have a frickin’ clue what’s going to embarrass them at 16. That’s up to me to use my better judgment. If I’m not sure I ask my spouse, who does not blog, but consumes the goods. If he says no way, then it doesn’t happen. Also, and this is important, so come very, very close so that you understand me — what goes around, comes around. Blogging isn’t going anywhere. Many of our children will have wonderfully popular blogs of their own in the future.
Me thinks there will be a lot of sorry parents in the future. Comeuppance can be a beautiful thing.