Things have been ticking along okay here. Widgelet tantrums are at an all-time low (Hurrah!) and subtle preparations for Christmas have begun.
One thing that has started to be “Interesting” is that Widgelet has started noticing that sometimes we don’t do things that other parents do – like put his picture all over social media – and questions are being asked. Thankfully I’ve been able to deal with this quite well so far, but other factors do not make my life easy. Other parents, for example.
Widgelet recently went to a birthday party and had a lovely time. Lots of photos got taken and lots of people immediately posted them all onto various sites before I’d even had the opportunity to open my mouth. When I asked them if they could take down photos containing Widgelet, some reacted as though I’d just asked for their first-born to be handed over for ritual sacrifice. How dare I ask them to remove a photo containing their darling child? What gives me the right to dictate what they can and can’t post? And anyway, of course no harm could come to Widgelet over it! I’m talking cobblers!
I’m not sure how many other parties Widgelet will be going to now and that makes me sad.
More subtle and yet potentially even more dangerous are things like competitions. As homework Widgelet brought home a colouring sheet from a well-known toy manufacturer. The homework was to colour in the sheet, answer the questions and then the school would send them all off as part of a competition. All good so far, the prize looked really great and Widgelet was really excited that he might win and took loads of care over his colouring. Then I read the small print stating that by Widgelet entering the competition, I was giving permission for his name and photo to be used in any and all publicity and marketing material for the company, both in print and online.
I could have cried for him. There was my little guy, working so hard on this picture because he wanted to do a good job so he stood a chance of winning and there was no way I could let the school enter the thing. He was really proud of the end result and I felt awful when I had to quietly pull his teacher aside and ask her not to send it. Mind you, she felt pretty awful too as she hadn’t realised either. I doubt he would have come any near to winning, but it’s not the point. It wasn’t a risk I could take.
However, I am bloody cross with the people who run these competitions. Why didn’t I have the option to say “No Publicity” on behalf of my child? If I won the lottery I could do that, so why can’t I if my child wins a major toy competition? Why should he have to miss out because I can’t opt him out?
Mind you, it seems such a given thing that parents are going to post everything about their children online that some companies are leaving common sense in reception when they go to work of a morning. Something that left me flabbergasted a while back was an online competition from a well-known shoe company running a Back to School campaign. The competition prize looked very appealing so I looked into what you had to do to enter but I nearly spat my tea when I found out because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing…
They were asking parents to upload photos of their children (With their names) in their school uniform to their Facebook page. The prize was free school shoes for a year and as a result the amount of photos posted was HUGE. Just stop and think for a moment and ask yourself this question –
“Would you hand out your child’s name, photo and school details to complete strangers in the street?”
No, of course you wouldn’t and yet here nobody batted an eyelid about sharing that very same information with a whole world of strangers. What were these parents thinking? What the hell was the company thinking when they came up with the idea?????
I emailed the company and asked them. If I ever receive a reply I shall let you know.