About six years ago, we made a short video of my son. He was (and still is) a passionate fan of Star Wars, and we used our new camcorder and my copy of Adobe Elements to throw together a 2-minute fan film starring a seven-year old Jedi warrior and (spoiler alert) his twin, Darth Menace.
We burned the video to some DVDs and shared it via email and disc with a handful of friends and family members, but it’s never made it to the internet – and likely won’t ever.
We’ve thought about it… especially as my son has become aware of and begun to take pride in his online presence, but then I try to look to the future. He might be thrilled to have it online when he’s 9, how will he feel when he’s 16?
I’ve preached to my children (and wife) over and over that we can never underestimate the “it’s out there forever” and “you lose control of what you are sharing” aspect of an online presence. As a podcaster and a blogger, I put quite a bit of myself out there, but I’m an adult. My children do not yet grasp just what might happen.
I can’t imagine how I’d undo the damage that comes from having the video you made with your friends end up being mocked on Tosh.0 or that funny picture you took with your buddy ending up on some blog targetting embarrassing photos. And that doesn’t even go into what creative people with no morals can do with your content.
I try to be cognizant of the impact my online presence may have on my children as well. Right now they are intrigued by at all, in ten years, they’ll be mortified. I know that, and try to keep that in mind in all that I do.
Facebook is a whole other venture. My oldest is on facebook, and I try all the time to remind him to think twice before posting ANYTHING. The hardest part is that his friends won’t always be his friends, and then there’s just how sincere those friendships really are. And don’t even get me started on the friends of friends.
Your chlid’s online presence is like their belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. There are a million people with no respect for it, but its something that is worth fighting to protect.
And so, the greatest movie you’ll never see sits in a folder on my PC. It’s too bad, because it’s really good.