Opinion | ‘Parenting’ TikToks are immoral

The popular social media platform, TikTok, displayed on an iPhone. Columnist Sanchita Teeka argues that parenting TikToks exploit their children when it comes to making content for the app.

Photo courtesy of Solen Feyissa/Wikimedia Commons

The popular social media platform, TikTok, displayed on an iPhone. Columnist Sanchita Teeka argues that “parenting” TikToks exploit their children when it comes to making content for the app.

By Sanchita Teeka, Columnist

I love watching TikToks of cute little kids figuring out life with the guidance of their parents. It’s incredibly interesting to see little humans handle different situations and their large emotions, something that many people don’t generally see in their own lives. Because of this, there are now hundreds of accounts that are dedicated to filming kids of all ages — from newborns to teenagers.

While this is serotonin-inducing content for many people, upon further reflection it’s clear that this content is entirely immoral. When one becomes a parent, they make a promise to protect their children. Parents who post these videos break this promise to their children by placing them in a public sphere during their private moments.

The main issue is that children cannot personally consent to be filmed. While it is certainly legal for a parent to film their own children, it doesn’t mean it is right to do so. It is especially wrong to film children when they are in their most vulnerable states, which is often the parenting content seen on TikTok. These videos often showcase kids when they are crying, angry, throwing a fit or in another emotional state.

If this kind of embarrassing content was of an adult, it would be clearly seen as immoral and wrong to do so. But, for some reason, this empathy isn’t extended to the children being filmed.

A common defense for filming these TikToks is that they are being filmed for “educational purposes.” This in itself is the root of the issue. Children are not props and they shouldn’t be used to show new gentle parenting techniques or how to calm down a child. Additionally, these kids aren’t acting, they are simply growing up and having their private experiences broadcasted for random strangers to view.

Plus, these “educational” videos can still be created without exploiting children. Instead of filming the children, the parents can create skits where they demonstrate the situation themselves or simply tell the story of what happened and how they dealt with it. These alternatives still convey the message, but do so without the invasion of privacy.

Furthermore, saying something is being done for educational purposes doesn’t automatically negate any harmful impact that action may have caused.

Children are cute, but they are also real people. They have the same emotions, feelings and reactions that adults do. Parents have a responsibility to recognize that and respect their children’s privacy in growing up.

 

Sanchita is a sophomore in LAS.

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