The problem I have with David After Dentist

If you are not familiar, the latest viral video making the rounds is David After Dentist. Briefly, Dad with video camera shoots video of son sitting in minivan stoned out of his gourd after a dentist appointment. At last count, it has over 5 million views.

Not to be the wet blanket at the party, but this does raise a troublesome point for me that I seem to be riffing on lately, which is the responsibility we, as parents, have in protecting our kids digital identity.

Set aside the issue of what will David think 20 years from now about this video – and, who knows, maybe this will go down as being one of the greatest things that happens in his life – but let’s take a look at how David is being exploited.

Right now, David’s video is being remixed, mashed and reconfigured by hundreds of people. The vast majority of them benign, respectful and doing it for the love of recontextualizing something old into something new. But there are a lot of people who are making money off David.

Already the remixes are showing up, and getting significant traffic. Many of these remixes have Google Ad overlays and embedded links to other sites as people try to cash in on David’s 15 minutes of fame. In some instances, the video has been downloaded and uploaded to another users account in hopes of driving traffic to that persons website or product. David has become a commercial, and right now there is a feeding frenzy at this Warholian trough.

I’m not casting any stones here at David’s parents. I’m pretty sure David’s Dad had no idea this thing would go viral when he posted it on YouTube. Instead, I think the people who are exploiting this kid to make money are the real problem here.

Not that this would fix it entirely, but one strategy that would help mitigate the risk of commercial exploitation of future David’s is to post your videos on a video sharing site that allows you to add some kind of copyright protection to the video. For example, blip.tv (and others) allow you to attach a Creative Commons license to your videos that would at least give parents some recourse for legal action. YouTube has no such copyright mechanism.

If you do want to use YouTube but want to reduce the risk of your video going wild, then check out the private sharing options that allow you to share your video privately with up to 25 people.

If you have been reading my posts lately it might seem that I am down on social networks. In fact, I am not. I think that as a society we are better off with social networks and the concept of being open and transparent. But when we use these tools with our kids, we have to temper our desire to share our kids most private and intimate moments with the responsibility we have to respect their privacy and, in this case, protect them from being commercially exploited.

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6 responses to “The problem I have with David After Dentist

  1. Thats the first time that I have seen this clip. Two things happened. At first I laugh my ass off,then when David sits up and yelled I felt horrible. Here is a little kid who obviously had some hefty work done and he's cooked. " is this real life?", wow if I was the father I'd be a little more concerned about the well being of my kid. I stopped the video at the moment, having read your post I realized that I was part of the problem by just watching the video. My Youtube channel is going private today…

  2. That's a tough one. I'd say that if you put something on you tube then you are open for business. So don't do it unless you want that kind of vulnerability. Any copyright protection can be hacked, so it's either make it private, or roll the dice. What a strange world.

  3. @angryaltf4 Yeah, when he tried to stand up and scream that's when a part of me went," whoa, wait a sec". The Truman Show-esque quote 'is this real life" is really an interesting one and, if I were a bit more academically inclined, I might spend some time trying to analyze the metaphorical levels of that phrase in relation to the YouTube phenomena it has become.

    @ryan "If you put something on youtube then you are open for business." Kind of. The problem being is that I don't think we can always anticipate the full ramifications of becoming "fair game". Maybe I am preaching to the converted here with this blog post, but I just think that we, as parents, need to be very aware as to how things like this can get quickly out of hand.

  4. Mr.LearnMore

    First of all you guys are a little strange thinking that he is exploiting his son. He found it humorous, hes not letting his kid hurt himself he is being watched by his father. As far as the "trying to make money" off him, thats a load of crap you may have over lays but the only way you make traffic money is if you have to click a google link to get to that persons website. As far as there being google links on his video "You Tube" Does this to make money not the father. If your going to complain about something get all the facts first. When he got up to scream he wasn't trying to "Stand Up" he was just doing it to scream. I'm sorry I did not realize that this dad was writing a script and getting movie deals for his sons "stoned time" if you look into it his son was cool with it there is another video of the son. Now if your going to fight back with hes only a little kid he doesn't know whats wrong or right thank you are a less thank smart in almost every case. If a child at the age of 4 or 6 or even 10 can make a choose to get in trouble at school than I would say he has complete control over his own actions and responses. I find this video every time I watch it extremely funny. His father is watching over him making sure he did not get hurt. As well as he found it funny and cute so he put it up online. Same reason you have a website that you can voice your stupid little opinions on about some parent making a choice. Good day to you and learn more about how the internet works before you start talking about crap you don't even understand.

  5. thats not the problem, you're labeling all the capitalists, if you may, as bad people, and the remixers, too, but the problem isn't them of course, if no one was too even consider it wrong, nobody is exploiting anybody so calm down,

  6. I'm not labelling ALL capitalists. Just the ones that exploit a kid to make a buck.