When I told my daughter that rather than taking photos of her musical theater Christmas show solo, I actually filmed it… she immediately asked me, “Can you put me on YouTube?”

I obliged.

After Cassie saw the video she momentarily didn’t want it up. Why? Because she was sick for 3 days before-hand with a fever and sore throat, and so she had some trouble with a few of the high notes… Notes that she could hit just a few days ago. I told her how much her grandparents in Toronto wanted to see this and she permitted me to put it up. I happen to also think it is still pretty good:-)

And here is my other daughter Katie and her friends in their feature song:

For her there was an expectation that if her older sister could be on YouTube, then she should be too.

I haven’t put any photos on Flickr yet, but I will soon.

How different this is from my private childhood! I think I have some 8mm film of me on a beach when I was Cassie’s age. And I know there are some photos of me at that age burried in my basement or hidden away in my parent’s closet.

Meanwhile, somewhere between 3 and 5 million photos are uploaded onto Flickr daily. And, “Every minute, some 13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. “That’s the equivalent of Hollywood releasing more than 57,000 full-length movies every week,” (Chad Hurley). That’s a lot of ‘flotsam and jetsam‘.

So it comforts me that my daughter, weeks before her 9th birthday, is concerned about the quality of her performance being publicly placed online. I wish more students thought that way before putting things on Facebook! Two of my recentposts have been about the need for us to help guide our students and our children as they engage in a digital world.

I’ve had to do just that recently. My youngest, Katie, decided to check out ‘katie-dot-com’. She was greeted with rotating photos of topless women and an invitation to become the next p?rn star. She thought it was a lot more amusing than mom and dad did!

The talk with Katie was simple enough: There are a lot of inappropriate sites, and you should only be on favorites unless mom or dad are helping you, (after all, she is only 6). But this was also good for Cassie to hear. We are more liberal with her use of the computer and so it was good that she listened in too. We talked about closing windows if you found something inappropriate and also telling us… that we won’t be mad.

The fact is that our kids already do a good job policing themselves with what’s appropriate on tv and so it isn’t a big logical jump to do the same on the computer.

Years from now my girls will be able to view their childhood memories at any time from virtually anywhere. They are part of a digital generation, and we need to help them grow up digitally respectful and responsible.

4 comments on “YouTube Generation

  1. Hi, David. I totally agree with you that we need to inform rather than ban. My kids are your kids’ age, and I feel exactly the same. I am compelled to discuss media literacy issues with my boys as they’re not learning any of it at school, where computers are being used only as typewriters and information recipients. Creation, remixing, reshaping is being done at home. I try to keep the dialogue as open as possible as it is a way of raising digital citizens who are aware of their own limits, ethics and aesthetics.

    Your girls’ performances were just great! Congratulate them and tell them that the world is glad that they shared part of their lives and accomplishments.

    Cheers from a Brazilian in Key West.

  2. Thanks for digitally recording the Frosty performance. Another benefit of the digital world is that parents like me who forgot to bring their recording device are able to share with friends and relatives around the world.

    Julia was so excited to see herself dancing around in a snowman suit “ON THE NET!!!”. She now thinks that she is famous. From the mouth of babes…

    I also had a great conversation with my kids about an appropriate digital footprint. There is a great article in the November Ed Leadership by Alan November about your digital footprint and I was twittered onto an article about a new niche market where companies can be paid to expunge your digital footprint. I think that would be a great job.



  3. Hi Dave,
    Your girls did a beautiful job!

    From a parent perspective, there’s a perception that having pictures of kids, names, identifying info on the internet is dangerous and we shouldn’t be doing it.

    This is something that’s been rattling around in my head for a while now – so I’m curious: how dangerous do you think it really is? What thought process/research did you go through before you decided to put your kids’ pictures, names, etc… on the web?

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!

  4. Carla,
    Thanks for your comment(s)! A collective ‘we’ will move mountains, AND our kids will help things along as they bring PODs to schools and expect to use them.

    Julia was adorable! See my ‘footprint’ note below.

    The answer to your question is simple: Google me… Then Flickr me… then Yellow Pages me… then…
    I have such a large digital footprint that anyone who wants to find me can find me. Find me, you’ve found my whole family.

    Schools worry about public images online, then local newspapers print first & last names of kids playing sports, what schools and teams they play for and, oh yeah, they are printed digitally too…hmmmm.

    I’d rather have my girls’ digital footprints be ones that include wholesome videos of Christmas concerts rather than video’s they sneak online behind their over-protective dad’s back, (for reasons already discussed here). My daughters are latecomers to this YouTube Generation, and they are going to have a digital footprint… I’d like to have a say in what that looks like while they are young.

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