As a Child, Strangers Knew Intimate Details About Her Life
Someone in the comment section said, “I always used to love family vlogs, but it started to feel really icky when parents say things like, âwave to your friends!’ to their toddlers who are busy doing something else. I think OP was probably too old when it all started to answer this, but I wonder when and how kids start to realize that the âfriends’ are actually many strangers? It must feel so creepy and invasive when it finally clicks for them.” She replied, “It didn’t really click until I was 11 or 12 that most of the people who knew me were grownups with boundary issues. Viewers forget that although they know every detail about your life, they’re a complete stranger to you. People I had just met would ask me about intimate moments of my life without a second thought. I still find it creepy now.”
A commenter asked, “If you don’t mind, and feel comfortable, would you share how vlogging affected your overall social life? I mean with kids your own age range.” She responded, “Most friends I have are people I was friends with before the channel started. Some parents didn’t want their kids around us, and some parents did everything they could to make their kids be our friends. I find it hard trusting anybody.” In later posts, OP would go on to say that she has a very difficult time trusting anyone. This is understandable. Imagine growing up wondering if people were truly your friend because they liked you, or if they were chasing fame.
The Parents Stopped Their Child From Going to College Because of YouTube
Someone asked in the comments, “Have they every encouraged you or maybe asked you if you would start your own channel or streaming? Like keep riding off the fame from your family vlogging.” She responded, “Not now. They didn’t let my older sister go to college right away when she wanted to, because her own channel was starting to pick upâ¦She is currently in college and is completely no-contact with our parents.” Apparently, nearly 50% of parents are in favor of their kids taking some time off after High School before they jump straight into college. However, encouraging their child not to go to college because of her YouTube channel isn’t very wise. YouTube channels don’t last forever, and she is going to need at least a backup plan with her education. Thankfully, she went to college eventually.
The Vlog Affected Their Relationships With Extended Family
A commenter asked, “What did your extended family and friends think of this?”She responded, “Most of them dislike it, mainly because they knew how unhappy it made us.” Later, she went on to say that it was very obvious that the kids didn’t like it for at least 5 years. She also mentioned that she no longer lives with her parents, even though she is still a minor at 17 years old. It’s likely that she lives with her grandparents, or another member of her extended family. Hopefully, now that the vlog is over, she can repair any damage that has been done to isolate herself from her extended family.
Even Years After the Vlog is Over, The Damage Has Been Done
One of the commenters asked, “I hope that things are better now that they have stopped? But they might start vlogging again once things are deemed stable. I am not too familiar with this kind of situation, but is it possible to get help? Does this count if you call Child Protective Services people?” She responded, “They’d never registart now, and they hugely regret starting in the first place. Things have gotten better in some ways, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a great relationship with my parents. And my siblings and I are still recognized in public often, even though it’s been a while since we stopped, which we hate. I don’t know about CPS or anything. They weren’t doing anything illegal though, I don’t think.” In another comment, OP says that she no longer lives with her parents, even though she is still a minor.
There May Not Be a “Healthy” Way to do Family Vlogging
Someone commented, “I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of family vlogging. It definitely results in the child’s emotional needs not being met and most of the time, exploited. I know there is a healthy right way of doing it, but I barely see that being practiced.” She responded, “I don’t think there is really a healthy way of doing it, to be honest. Because of family vlogging, I’ve been in therapy as a result of this for years. I find it hard knowing I didn’t consent to my entire life being shared online forever. My parents have tried to erase everything, but they can’t erase the entire internet. So it’s still out there.”
The Parents Ignored Their Children’s Pleas to Stop Vlogging
A commenter asked, “Did your parents listen to you at first when you expressed not wanting them to continue on YouTube or did they completely force you to be on camera even then?” She responded, “They didn’t listen. We probably told them hourly how much we hated it.” It’s truly sad when parents don’t listen to their children’s desires. Some parents treat their kids like objects, as if they aren’t capable of feeling and making decisions on their own. It’s important for parents to respect their kid’s wishes, if they want to have a relationship with them later in life. These parents are going to be sorry one day when they’re left alone in a nursing home.
Privacy Concerns Are So Extreme, She Needs to Change Her Name
A commenter said, “Maybe at some point you could consider legally changing your name to give you a little more privacy.” She responded, “I plan to when I turn 18.” On top of that, she explained that she already goes by another name in order to give herself a new identity. She also uses a social media account that doesn’t have her real name on it. Hopefully, she can move somewhere that she won’t be recognized as often. And as she gets older, her features will change. Hopefully fewer people will recognize her face as she ages.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who watch family vlogs seem to forget that these are real people. They treat them the same as watching characters in a TV series. Someone commented, “My mom (who is elderly) watches an Australian family all the time. Maybe I should let her read this… or just leave it be and not mess with the “fantasy”? The original poster replied, “I think that’s a huge part of it. People consume content on YouTube in the exact same way they consume content on Netflix so although they consciously know they’re watching real people’s lives, their brains can’t always make the distinction. Parasocial relationships are terrifying, I cannot physically emphasize that enough”
There are multiple comments asking the OP if she believes family vlogging should be illegal. She responded several times saying that she absolutely believes that it needs to be against the law. She wrote, “I truly believe no changes will be made until a child is killed as a result of their parents oversharing online. It shouldn’t have to get to that point”. Right now, it’s completely legal for people to post photos and videos of their kids online, regardless of how their kids feel about it. As long as they are minors, they really have very little say as to what their parents are doing.
Someone commented, “After a lifetime of that, how do you feel about social media now? Do you feel safer now? I am so furious at any and all parents or people that choose to share every aspect of lives of people who do not consent. Just no.” She responded, “I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe if I’m being honest. But I feel fairly safe online, because all my accounts are private and not in my name. In the real world though, I don’t feel safe. I still live in constant paranoia that I’m being watched. And I can’t sleep alone because I know people know where I live. I don’t like people knowing who I am.” In a later post, someone asked OP how often she gets recognized, and she said it happens daily.
One of the commenters said, “I can’t imagine having parents that just blast their and your whole life online. That must be some kind of mental disorder right?” She replied, “Think it’s an addiction just like anything else really. My mom grew up in poverty with an alcoholic father. She thought that by throwing money at us we’d have a better life than she did. In reality she just replaced one trauma with another” According to Orlando Recovery, Children of addicts are eight times more likely to develop an addiction. In this case, this woman may not have been an alcoholic, but she was clearly addicted to vlogging. It didn’t matter how much it was hurting her family. She was addicted to the money, and the dopamine rush that you get from views and YouTube comments.
One of the most heartbreaking things the OP said was, “We weren’t a family, we were a group of work colleagues with the same last name”. How tragic is that? Everyone needs a family. I sincerely hope that this person can become close with their grandparents, siblings, and members of their extended family. Hopefully they have some sort of support system around them. And when they get older, she can have a family of her own and finally experience what it’s like to have a “normal” family dynamic off of social media. You can’t choose your family, but you can have a “chosen family” of friends in your inner circle instead.