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Keaton Jones and the Ethics of Filming Your Kids Online

Milkshake Duck is an internet notion when a viral internet star is adored, until its uncovered they have some distasteful or horrible characteristic–such as being racist. Dedicated the speed at which viral people explode into internet stardom, it’s no wonder their sunlight can just as quickly become consumed by the black hole of reality. A recent viral star, Keaton Jones, famous for a video recorded by his mother where he calls out alleged bullying, might now be facing his own Milkshake Duck: His mom, who recorded the video, posted suspected racist commentaries on Facebook .

However, the focus for me isn’t whether his mother is racist, disturbing though that discovery is. Many of us seem to have glossed over an earlier troubling question: Why was a mother recording her exclaiming child?

If someone is in a state of shock, sadness, and pain, my first reaction is not to whip out my phone to record their tears. This is particularly the example for someone I love. Yet, that’s precisely what occurred. In the video, Keaton, apparently, has just experienced painful bullying. He describes the kinds of things even I was bullied for, with some part of your body( or your name and your skin color in my example) singled out for mockery. His mom, in a stern but apparently supportive voice, asks her child questions to get him to elaborate through his tears.

Now, Keaton, being a child, can’t properly consent to many activities. Did he know or consent to being filmed and posted for the world to find?

Seemingly, the answer is yes: Keaton’s mother claimed on Facebook that he asked her to cinema the video. Nevertheless, Keaton’s a child–so should Keaton’s mother have posted the video in the first place?

Parents too often treat their children as property , not caring whether they should post images or videos–regardless of how cute or inspirational–of their child’s activities. Even in 2014, Victoria Nash, of the Oxford Internet Institute, noted what parents should consider when it comes to sharing any information, data or images about their children 😛 TAGEND

” There are two things to be careful about … One is the amount of information that you give away, which might include things like date of birth, place of birth, the child’s full name, or tagging of any photograph with a geographical location–anything that could be used by somebody who wanted to steal your child’s identity. The second issue is more around consent. What type of information would children want to see about themselves online at a later date ?”

Parents can garment it up as being for good causes, but there are plenty of ways to achieve those same causes without utilizing children as props in videos or images made for sharing, likes, and retweets. The problem is we’re not asking these questions and we don’t seem to demand them of parents, because we get sucked into the compassion or adoration that comes from seeing a younger person fighting back against universally bad acts or performing something supposedly adorable. Being a mother doesn’t grant you immunity from actions considering your child( just ask courts of law )– indeed, it’s mothers who are most answerable since they are meant to be responsible for the child’s care and well-being.

Again, I don’t think the instinctive outpouring of support from an audience is bad, but that doesn’t mean we can’t simultaneously stress ethical practice when it comes to personal conduct online. After all, it’s the parents–the so-called adults–that are often the problem , not the children. Adults who have a responsibility to these individuals who can’t yet consent, and who may come to resent such actions at a later date. When we consider a child being recorded, we should immediately ask who is doing the recording and does the child actually know what’s happening?

In Jones’ suit, many of us get swept up in standing for a proper moral cause: Bullying is bad. Within apparently seconds, Jones get invited by the Avengers musicians to the film’s premiere and, I don’t know, will probably soon have his own morning show.( It was not lost on people of color what a difference black kids and white kids being bullied has on the internet’s barometer of care .) But, on find such content, we should also immediately consider young people’s well-being when they’re recorded.

Social media is a nightmare landscape where we’ve painted our horrors and fears and a major reason Americans elected a reality star to the Oval Office. But its newness is precisely why there’s more reason for us, as ordinary people, to think about the moral dimension of our actions, to recognize ourselves not merely as audience but producers and content creators. Social media is a river of user-generated content, after all. It’s important to demand these considerations from ourselves and others, especially those who have a responsibility for the care and well-being of young people.

More people, including and especially parents, should place others’ well-being and consent above the number of likes and retweets they’d receive from some media they’ve created. And we, on the receiving aim, should be more hesitating about sharing content featuring children , no matter how “cute” or “brave” they may be. We can stand up for bullying without needing a mother to cinema their crying child for us to care.

We all know what bully does, we know it exists. No one needs a reminder, especially the bullied child later in life, who was recorded.

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