Laura Donovan
May 21, 2014 6:00 am

Last week, my friend’s mom mentioned the uncharacteristic bratty behavior my friend exhibited as a 2-year-old. After arbitrarily trashing her own room one day, she marched into the kitchen, stuck her nose in the air and said, “I made a mess,” all while avoiding eye contact. It seems so unlike my good-natured buddy, but when I asked the mother how to properly respond to a child acting surly like that, she said, “I knew my daughter was going through something as all kids do at that age and just let it pass.”

Sure enough, the girl grew up to be a wonderful, well-adjusted young lady and there’s no footage or photographic documentation of her being anything other than a sweet angel as a youngster. Toddlers these days, however, aren’t so lucky. One questionable, annoying or rude move and they could be all over social media looking like an inconsiderate fool.

Now that dog-shaming is yesterday’s big thing, kid-shaming is making the rounds on the Internet, providing parents and adults the opportunity to write embarrassing signs next to their ignorant babies who can’t read what’s being written about them.

Some images, like the first one below, are amusing and harmless, but others could be seen as humiliating once that little one grows up and understands what’s been posted about him or her online:

While some moms and dads might find it endearing that their children have really bad gas or accidents in their home, it’s not so funny for the kids when they’re old enough to know better. It’s common for parents to stash away embarrassing pictures of their kids, and perhaps it’s even therapeutic for parents to cope with the rough times by broadcasting jokes about it all. I know my mom has a bunch of hideous pictures of me wailing as a 1-year-old in our house, and I never want to see any of them show up on the web. Maybe one day the little ones getting kid-shamed will laugh about these snapshots, especially since they appear so innocent alongside the entertaining descriptions. but that’s for them to decide when they’re ready.

Awhile back, I babysat a couple of kids whose parents asked me not to post pictures of the little ones on Instagram, as they should be able to decide what kind of web presence they want to have when they’re mature enough to understand how it all works. I said they were right, and this is a good tip for parents everywhere so children will be able to form their online identities when they’re prepared, not when their parents want to make a joke at their expense before they even know what that means.

What do you think about kid-shaming? Is it cruel or cute? Share below.

Featured images via and via.

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