In parallel with all of the disturbing news surfacing about the bullying going on in the online world, I’m seeing an increasing number of Twitter accounts for babies and toddlers. I’m seeing videos and images on Facebook featuring little kids and their names. I’m seeing foursquare check-ins listing kids and their names.
About a month or so ago, I got involved in a conversation with someone on Twitter who had created an account for her infant child. I said, “Man, that just seems really dangerous to me. You’re putting her name out there, her face.” The person I was talking to disagreed. She said she felt responsible for claiming her child’s personal brand early, so that when her daughter was ready, it would be all set up for her.
I can’t help but think that we are opening an awful Pandora’s box with this kind of behavior. We’re seeing the effects that online communication gone wrong can have on teenagers and adults. Do we want to thrust our children into that world before they can even speak? Do we want their pictures, their names, and our addresses all tied together?
I often sit and remind myself that this digital, virtual, online world of Facebook, Twiter and all the rest is just a sidebar to the real world. I use this thought to guide how I talk and how I behave. So, in that context, would you go around your city, your state, your country, handing out pictures of your kids with their names on the back? Would you announce to your local radio station that you are checking in to your kid’s school at the same time every day?
Are we considering fully all of the ramifications of securing our childrens’ brands while they are still teething? What do you think?
Image by David Duncan. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/D-squared