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Lessons from "The Star Wars Kid"

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Don't let this happen to your child!

In 2002, a boy filmed himself swinging a golf ball retriever as if he were a Jedi knight. When some of his friends saw it, they posted it online without his permission--and, within weeks, millions had seen it. He was soon taunted by the kids at school and nicknamed "The Star Wars Kid." He was mortified and depressed, and now deeply regrets ever putting himself on tape at all.

Jonathan Zittrain from The Times UK suggests we find a way to code privacy tags into videos. That would be great--but, until that happens, Moms have to reinforce the idea that videos are forever with our children. We asked friend of momlogic psychologist Rosanne Tobey for her insight into the matter.

"Preventing your child from doing this is hard one because so many kids have phones with cameras and video these days. It is like there is constant access to video, and it is natural for kids to take each other's pictures doing goofy things. Miley and her slumber party pics on MySpace is a great example of that.

What has changed is kids' access to video instead of stills, and of course sites like YouTube now exist. Kids cannot conceptualize the reach of the Internet, nor do they think of long-term consequences when goofing around with a friend and a camera. You must help your child understand the potential effects of videotaping or photographing themselves in this age of electronic communcation. It's not that you want to alarm them. You just want to help them grasp that a harmless picture is not harmless if a friend posts it on the Internet with or without their permission. Therefore, when it comes to pictures, the rule of thumb is: 'If you are not okay with the entire world seeing you in this picture, do not take it.'

This is a definite buzzkill, for sure--but in this technological age, it is important than ever that we educate our kids about potential hazards. Because the less aware they are, the less cautious they are likely to be, and that is where you can really get into trouble."

Has a photo or video embarrassed your family?


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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Bebe Girl May 6, 2008, 6:14 PM

OMg..what a DORK. Seriously…WHY did he make this tape?

Doesn’t matter…’cause video or no video, this kid was gonna get teased sooner or later.

Crisa May 7, 2008, 9:04 AM

Wow I thought only adults visited this site.

Anon May 7, 2008, 12:00 PM

What a geek.


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