Bikini-clad girls and footprints; New classes
A quick blog today about the impact of social media on a child’s digital footprint. I was made aware today of a YouTube video made by some local high school kids (several whose parents I know). In the video, nothing bad or illegal happens. Just a bunch of high schoolers having a good time. But in the video, the opening scene is of three bikini-clad girls rubbing suntan lotion on a boy and feeding him strawberries. Another scene shows four girls in bikinis around a boy on a motorcycle, one girl straddling behind the boy on the motorcycle seat, arm draped over his shoulder, her hand grabbing his chest while he flexes. The rest of the video is pretty silly, benign, harmless, etc. Throughout the video though, the girls are wearing bikinis and lounging around the boys or serving them food. I get it. They thought it was funny and silly and I’m sure they thought it would only be seen by their high school friends. Unfortunately, it also got posted on Facebook by an adult. And it’s publicly available to find on YouTube. So now it’s “out there”. Out there for sororities/fraternities/clubs/organizations to find. Out there for universities to find. Out there for potential employers to find. Out there for others to decide what that tells them about those kids.
My son has an Instagram account and he mostly uses it to keep up with friends and watch sports highlights. My husband and I actually made him sign a contract before we let him open the account. Our “Rules of Instagram” include: no mean posts, no followers that aren’t people they actually know, no posting of another kid who doesn’t have his own Instagram account unless I get permission from their parent, and no posting of anything they wouldn’t want shown in front of the entire school.
Kids and especially teenagers need constant reminders to “Be smart. Don’t do anything you’ll regret. Make good choices.” Please monitor your child’s social media accounts and make sure they aren’t leaving a footprint that you’d frantically try to erase if you knew about it. Nothing wrong with girls wearing bikinis. Nothing wrong with hanging out with friends around the pool. A video of your daughter in a bikini serving a boy food and rubbing oil on him? A video of your son laying poolside with girls in bikinis “serving” him? If you’re aware and okay with it, great! If you don’t want that shown to the school, shown to their grandparents, shown to their church pastor, then do something about it!
Also, discuss with your close friends what you want them to do if they find out about something your child is doing that you might want to know. My close friends know what to do: TELL ME. If my kids do something questionable/inappropriate/mean/rude, I want to know about it. It won’t hurt my feelings. Don’t judge my children; help them! It takes a village, right? Help me raise my kids to be good, kind, and honest. Help me teach them to be respectable and respectful. Help me and I’ll help you.
*****The next Camp Careful classes will be held on June 9th and June 13th at First United Methodist Church in Waco. As always, there will be 3-6 year old classes and 7-14 year old classes. This will be the last dates this summer, so if your child is going to summer camps/activities, SIGN UP QUICK! Hope to see you all soon. You can sign up for your next Camp Careful class with this link.*****
Thank you, and as always, empower your kids and stay safe!
Soo Battle, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website/blog is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the relationship that exists between you and your pediatrician or doctor. Please contact your doctor for medical advice and/or treatment recommendations specific to your child.
I love you Soo!!! Thank you for those good words. My kiddos don’t have Instagram, snap chat or Facebook- personally I don’t have time to police. My kids are fine without it and they don’t even ask, they by now know the answer.
We are just trying to do what we can to raise the kids right!! Love you too Jodi! 🙂
Good stuff there Dr. Battle!! Great post and totally agree, please PLEASE tell me if you see Wood kids acting cray.
Haha! Will do, Angie!
And likewise, tell me WHEN my kids do their next silly/stupid/crazy thing!
Nice read and good advise. Thank you for adding me
Odds are you are financially stable family and you kids where already indoctrinated with a proper upbringing from a young age. All these steps to make sure your kids are safe on the internet is complete unnecessary. Honestly if I was you child I would probably hate you for being hover too close to my social life. TRUST your kids, they are smart.
You’re right! We are financially stable. However, in my work at the Advocacy Center, I know that child safety on the internet has nothing to do with socioeconomic status. I hope my kids don’t hate me! I do trust them and they are smart. I will still do whatever I can to help them be safer. Actually, this blogpost is more about social media and digital footprints than internet safety, but thanks for sharing your comments!
It’s a proven fact that if you over parent a teenager then they will find a way to rebel. Even if your just trying to help the truth is your not helping them. They need to start making their own decisions at this age and if your trying to make it for them through your cloud of unnessaray rules you will end up failing. Trust me. I have seen it time and time again.
Please look at the Woodway Public Safety Departments Facebook page and look at the post regarding their most recent arrest.
Not sure what financial status has to do with looking out for your childs safety, but I agree with Soo. I’d rather be proactive in helping them along their way in social media. I trusy my kids, the problem is that I don’t trust the people that may have access to them on social media.
Either you are a still young yourself, you do not have children, or you just don’t care what your kids do. That being said you are WRONG! Kids are dumb and they do not understand future consequences. Their brains are not fully developed to understand these things even at 18! The Internet opened up a whole new world of problems for parents to monitor. It is up to adults to make sure kids, all kids, understand that what they put out there on the Internet is there to stay….forever….for all the world to see. I would absolutely want a parent to tell me if they see something that my 13 year old or my 18 year old put on the Internet that was inappropriate. It will have future consequences for them. That is not hovering or helicopter parenting. That is raising your children right and teaching them to respect themselves. It is fine for you to have your opinion, and I can assure you not everyone is going to agree with it, but it is rude of you to voice that on Dr Battles personal blog. Start your own blog if you don’t like what she has to say. Stop trolling on her page.
I’m the filmer of the video. I understand the premise of what your saying but making an example out of it is not right. Look at my channel and what it stands for. It’s not bad… I got permission from everyone in the video and they agreed to everything that we did. Also it’s a school tradition and the editing makes the video seem silly and doenst focus on the girls. This was never shown to the school so we arnt forcing it into anyone’s face, everyone that watches it is choosing to watch it. Understand the situation before you use it as an example. Thank you
Friendly Filmmaker, thank you so much for reaching out to me! I don’t know you personally but if you’re anything like the other teens in the video that I DO know, you are probably smart, bright, respectful, successful, and are raised by wonderful parents! I agree the video was not bad, everyone agreed to and clearly wanted to be there, this was all for fun/silly, and it was never intended to be shown to the school or anyone outside of your group of friends. I said all of these things in my post. My example was made to show that it was harmless until/unless it got posted more publicly on FB and you guys or your parents weren’t aware. If you look at all the Facebook comments on my Camp Careful blog, people were commenting about social media and digital footprints and teaching kids to make sure they’re ok with what will be out there forever. I never gave details about the school, kids’ names, parents’ names, etc. and clearly people didn’t even care about who was in the video. I honestly don’t think the city of Waco knows what video I’m talking about or who is in it. I had a few friends from different school districts text me to see if it was their kid! 😊 I know you and your friends are great kids. Continue to be great! Just continue to watch what you post online in the future. What may be harmless and fun to some may be perceived in a negative way by others and they can use it against you. I have the benefit of knowing a couple of these girls (and they are fantastic) so it didn’t change my opinion of them or their parents at all. I really appreciate your respectful discussion and comment!
FYI. There is another reply to your comment but it got posted below in a separate thread.
I am the co-founder of the The Mothers of Midway. The Mothers of Midway is a liaison between MISD and parents. We are the ones that first brought this issue to the forefront. We have some parents in our district that are uncomfortable contacting the district directly when they have concerns or questions, so they go through us for direction. Last week we received a variety of concerns from a number of parents on several fronts, all relating to social media.
Because the video was shared publicly on a parent’s Facebook page, people that were probably not suppose to see it, saw it, and that drew it into the spotlight. At first glance it looks like something MISD related which might explain why people chose to watch it. In addition to the video, there were incidents last week at the Middle School where some students accessed pornographic websites on their cell phones during lunch; there were also concerns about the “Midway Choice Awards” Twitter account. In keeping with our mission statement, we hoped to facilitate a thoughtful discussion and address these concerns in a constructive manner, which is why we posted information on our Facebook page. Like Dr. Battle, at no time did we share the link to the video, the title or names of the students.
While there were concerns raised about some specific scenes in the video, which, I am willing to share with you privately, the overall concern is what Dr. Battle touched on in her blog. The internet is not private, and once something is uploaded or posted, it is out there for anyone to see. People will draw conclusions based on their values; employers have been known to fire people and colleges will take away scholarships or refuse admission based on people’s social media activity.
While I don’t know you personally, I am 100% sure that you are a great kid who will do great things. And even though we don’t know each other, I care about your future and just want you to be mindful of what you post publicly on the Internet, because it does leave a footprint.
All the best in your future endeavors!
I understand. In life we all have to make decisions about who we want to be. I’m a light hearted guy that is passionate about making videos and I think this video was completely fine with how I want people to view me. If they take away scholarships and different opportunities then so beat it, it’s who I am and if people can’t understand that it’s just high school’s being silly then they need to find something else to get frustrated about. I’m an upcoming filmmaker that has values and I will never cross those values but I can’t control if my values line or don’t line up with other people’s values. I won’t loose sleep over it. Thanks