Making Lemonade Out Of Limelight
I recently posted a playful comment in response to a post a friend made on Facebook. They were having one of those cute parenting moments where you realize your child is becoming self-sufficient and my comment was generic, but true to parents of any son or daughter.
I was immediately greeted with an angry response and a statement that this friend knew that my wife and I don’t care about embarrassing our kids online.
I deleted my comment without being asked to and thought that was the end of the situation, but after being unfriended I sat down with my wife and then I sat down with our kids and took the time to review how we handle raising our kids in the limelight of social media.
For those of you that might be visiting for the first time, I’ll go ahead and give a quick history of Inked Up Dad and our various platforms. I started the blog back in 2014 as a place for me to compile my thoughts on life as a father of three. At that time I didn’t really know anything about the potential audience I would find, I really just wanted to put digital pen to paper.
Along the way, I was invited into a dad blogger group on Facebook by another dad named Oren Miller. I learned a lot from the other dads in the group including that as a blogger I had the ability to monetize my content and earn some extra cash to provide for my family. I branched out Inked Up Dad to include a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.
Soon I learned about a conference called the Dad 2.0 Summit and in 2016 I was honored to be chosen as a recipient of the Oren Miller Scholarship Fund. I got to fly to Washington D.C. and spend a few days with some of the most genuine, kind-hearted and talented dads from across the nation and the world. I also got to learn about fatherhood, blogging, vlogging, content creation and collaborating with brands as an influencer.
During the 2016 Dad 2.0 Summit I saw and listened to a panel of speakers who’d expanded their platform to YouTube. I jotted down pages of notes and started researching. Then at the end of 2016 and early 2017, we expanded Inked Up Dad to YouTube as a vlog.
If you’re actively taking a count that’s five social media platforms that we’re posting pictures, videos, blogs, vlogs and stories on. To somebody who is unaware about why we’re pursuing this passion, I can understand how it might be interpreted as oversharing or not caring about the feelings of our children.
Memories, Experiences & Opportunities
First and foremost let me be clear that there are times where we are compensated for content that we’ve posted. Compensation may be in the form of money, products received or promotion of our platform. By collaborating with brands my children have the opportunity to make money and gain exposure. The money that we earn is then allotted towards taking them on trips, buying them items they might want or even investing further in Inked Up Dad.
I’ve studied and learned from some fantastically talented dads and content creators a long the way because at the end of the day my number one priority as a father is to keep my children safe while allowing them to have and do things that I couldn’t when I was a kid.
During Dad 2.0 I met a dad named Christian. You may have stumbled across one of his many projects such as Dad Sews, the Plaid Dad Blog, or What Are We Watching? When seeking expertise and opinions on raising children on social media, Christian provided some valuable insight.
“Making videos with my kids have allowed them to chat with their favorite celebrities, my son had a paid speaking engagement at 10yrs old, my daughter was made an honorary police officer (her dream) and they get paid for videos they work in.
Plus I always ask if they are cool participating.” – Christian Lee
“We have a rule. Don’t want to be on the vlog? We won’t film you. We don’t get to personal about the kids. I feel like we have found the balance of letting people in and seeing raw moments yet staying at a distance and not really revealing too many personal things. Almost like we give the illusion that you really have the glimpse into our private life. That’s not to say we stage anything or pretend because we don’t. We have just found a good balance.
If my kids didn’t want to be in it, they wouldn’t be in it. I have taken vlogs down before when they were doing well stat wise because I didn’t notice my son was picking his nose or my daughter was doing something I knew she would be embarrassed of people singing. My kids are number one. I mean I love my vlog, and I’d give anything to be a full time vlogger but the second that it becomes at the detriment to my kids, it’s done. I think we have found a balance though. When we vlog that is *ahem*” – Justin Connors
So, as you can see, I am in pretty good company. I’m pretty aligned with other content creators in the mindset that my children come first. That being said, as I addressed in the vlog, life happens. If someone farts, picks his or her nose or has a meltdown… it might end up in the vlog. At the end of the day when all is said and done the kids and my wife gets to view the vlogs before they are ever uploaded to any platform and the same goes for posts to other social media sites. If there is something they want to be removed, we do it.
Now that we’re clear on that, I’d love to hear from other parents and content creators. What are your family dos and do not’s regarding posting to social media? What have you learned by having children who are growing up in a generation of Tweets and live streams? Leave a comment below or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.
Here are some other great blogs that are relevant to this discussion:
On Exploiting Your Kids On The Internet – Michael Kwan, Beyond The Rhetoric
The Pics Not Posted – Thirsty Daddy