There are numerous accounts on social media that feature parents and their children, and these pages always show various moments of the kids' youth. From their first day of school to their birthday party to an accident they had on their bike, many parents have become accustomed to sharing some of the most intimate moments of their children's lives. This is the type of content that is bound to generate millions of clicks and views, as well as hundreds of thousands of followers (if not more).
While parents often mean well, the internet can be a scary place, and there are always predators lurking around the corner to try and take advantage of your children's pictures and videos. A viral TikTok from Big Bro Bear, @barrettpall, shows that teens and young adults who grew up in the spotlight of social media are still carrying around many scars from having their lives plastered across the internet. He urges parents to think twice before making their children the focal point of their public social media pages.
Viral TikTok Shows How a Young Woman's Life Was Ruined Because Intimate Details of Her Childhood Were Shared Publicly Online
Big Bro Bear first shares a clip from a parent on TikTok who claims that it's not the parents' responsibility to protect their children because there will always be people online who "misuse and abuse innocent pictures of children." She says it's nothing more than a "virtue signal" when people urge parents to be wary of how much of their children they share on public social media.
"I got sent that a bunch," Big Bro Bear said, referring to the clip. "And I have a question to ask, but before I ask that question, I have another video I want to share with you."
The video was a virtual testimony given by a young woman who was testifying on February 14 before the House Civil Rights & Judiciary committee in relation to HB 1627, a House bill that aims to protect the interests of minor children who are featured on for-profit family vlogs and social media pages. This bill would allow children from these channels to have any and all content of themselves removed when they turn 18 years old. The young woman in the video fights back tears as she says this is the first time she has shared her legal name in three years.
"I'm terrified to share my name because the digital footprint I had no control over exists," she said. "When you Google my name, simply just my first name, childhood photos of me in bikinis will pop up, and I'm terrified to have those weaponized against me again."
Her voice breaking, she shares that the intimate details of her first period were shared online, and when she was just 12 years old, a man DM'd her to say that he saw her riding her bike and he followed her home. She was 15 years old when she was in a car accident; when the fire department used the jaws of life to remove a car door from her leg, a camera was shoved in her face. She had a severe case of MRSA in her first year of high school, and her visits to the hospital were documented online, resulting in a teacher taunting her and telling kids to "stay away from the infected girl." She said this "led to peer bullying, decline in my mental health, and which inevitably led to me dropping out of school."
"I plead you to be the voice of this generation of children because I know firsthand what it's like to not have a choice and which a digital footprint that you didn't create follows you around the rest of your life with no option for it to be removed," she concluded.
Big Bro Bear concluded the video with a question, "Who is meant to protect your children?" This message is important for parents everywhere. As tempting as it is to plaster your child's face and life all over the internet, we have to remember that there are serious consequences that will follow these individuals for the rest of their life, well into their adult years.