Sunday, January 29, 2012

Child Abuse

A quick word on something that should be obvious, but seemingly isn't...

Little kids should not be on the Internet. Period. End of sentence. I don't care if your spawn is adorable, if he or she just did the most viral video-y thing ever, or if their very appearance will make anyone watching it melt with joy. Putting them on the Internet is right up there with trotting them out for television appearances as the gateway drug to a future in pole dancing, stand-up comedy and backyard wrestling, in terms of stunting the growth. It's just the wrong idea.

Now, I get that this will seem like a draconian measure. I get that kids are people too, and that many of them want to post their stuff for their friends and family. I also get that it's a free country, and that I don't get to tell other people how to parent.

But then there's the videos, and I'm not going to link them here or even cite a specific one, because that would just fuel the fire. But you've seen them, in the Facebook threads of people that should know better, or on viral video links: little kids who are bawling their eyes and hearts out because their favorite team has taken the pipe.

And I understand, really, delighting in the misery of others. I'm from Philadelphia; it is what we do, mostly out of relief from the misery, for once, not coming at us. That's also going to be the only thing that gets me through the upcoming Nightmare Bowl II; the knowledge that either New York Fan or New England Fan is going to be inconsolable.

But a kid?

Look, the Internet is as close to forever as we get in this culture. You have a bad day on it, it gets played for years, and maybe causes real emotional distress. (I'm looking at you, Fat Star Wars Kid.) And sure, maybe a little kid stays relatively anonymous, and is forgotten about in weeks... and maybe not. Because it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It gets picked up at school, in the community, with the neighbors and etc. And it has to -- has to -- impact how they look at that kid, and the feeling that this is a weak-willed individual, or someone who is taking life too seriously, or someone you can upset easily.

When, of course, that's nearly all little kids.

So... don't watch those videos. Don't make them, either. The crime isn't victimless, and the victims don't know better.

And more importantly, don't deserve it.

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