I must admit, having read that some parents are earning thousands of pounds from videos of their kids posted on Youtube, I experienced a fleeting second of temptation. Flipping mentally through the Rolodex in my head, I recalled the hundreds of film clips we have of our daughter stashed away on the computer and dreamed of
a two week break in Bali putting the money towards her university fund.
Even though that film of her actually peeing in a show toilet in B&Q (plus a close up of the salesman's face) would surely get hits, therefore making us rich beyond our wildest dreams, I would never do it. Why not?
a) Because it is exploitation
b) Because the internet is swarming with the most depraved and deplorable of individuals
Your son having a fit of the vapours because he didn't get the birthday present he wanted or your daughter getting her groove on to Rhianna and tripping over the cat, may be amusing to you and me but should you really be showing the world?
An admittedly unscientific straw pole of friends and family confirmed that I am not alone with my uneasiness at the thought of videos of my child floating around the World Wide Web. The majority of comments pointing out internet insecurity and the obvious and appalling consideration of interest from paedophiles. As one mum pointed out, "An open arena for undesirables."
I found it difficult to find anyone to disagree, though a few good points were thrown into the discussion. Where does one draw the line? If your child models for a catalogue or acts on a TV advert and was willing and happy to take part, is that exploitation?
For me it's about balance. My reasons for not wanting my daughter to model are more to do with the message I believe they send to impressionable minds regarding materialism and perceived beauty and less to do with child labour.
There is, I believe, a danger in the growing trend of making money from these videos. Financial gain begets greed and I suspect the temptation to force your toddler to "do something cute for mummy" will be overpowering for some people. And whilst it seems that many parents justify their decision with the insistence that their child "doesn't mind", I remain unconvinced that a child under the age of 10 can truly understand all the implications of having a video of them sleeping in the dog basket or breaking wind in the bath going viral.
Moreover they have no choice in the matter. The irony being, most of these parents would refuse point blank to post a photograph of themselves on a public forum unless they were photo-shopped to within an inch of their lives. Yet they are more than happy to post embarrassing and/or humiliating videos of their own children to make a fast buck.
It simply doesn't sit well with me.
What do you think?