Parenting in The Online Age, Where All Your Choices (And Mistakes) Are Made Public! (Pt 1)

A woman's face, overlapped with the YouTube logo, a color palette, paint splatters, music notes, and a tape measure.
Once someone has uploaded a video of you to YouTube, it can be incredibly hard, if not impossible to get it taken down again.

There’s an article up on the MI Headlines online newspaper about a horrific beating that a young girl sustained at the hands of her mother. The accompanying video, which has since been removed, shows a mother brutally beating and kicking the young girl, allegedly because the young girl uploaded inappropriate content to Snapchat. Although the video doesn’t identify either the mother or the child, comments left under the video suggest that they are from Michigan, specifically Detroit. 

Will the mother online be identified, and will she be punished?

Only time can tell whether the child and mother in this disturbing video will be identified. However, if someone sees it and figures out who she is, we wouldn’t be surprised if child abuse charges followed swiftly on the heels of identification. And that’s often the case with these types of online videos. Someone records a parent’s violent or abusive interaction with their child and puts it online, hoping outraged viewers with help them identify the culprit. From there, the videos are shared with the Facebook pages of local police departments, and criminal charges aren’t far behind.

Do people have the right to record others in a public space without permission?

Technically yes. If you’re in public, others can record you and events happening around you without your permission. On private property that may be different. Consider the number of videos of children being abused by parents or caregivers that were filmed in parking lots, stores, restaurants, bathrooms, and other public venues that have made their way around the internet, and were eventually used as evidence in criminal cases. There have been quite a few of them over the years, and the number isn’t likely to dwindle as the idea of recording people in public without their knowledge, and uploading the videos for general viewing and commentary grows.

CPS can use online videos as evidence in criminal trials

Video files found online through social media, chat programs, email, and news websites frequently get used as evidence in court. If the video can be used to clearly identify someone, and prove that they were engaging in potentially abusive behavior, then CPS and the prosecutor’s office are only too happy to take that handy evidence that some generous soul created for them, free of charge, and use it to prove their point in a case. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware that when you’re out and about, you’re fair game for anyone with a smartphone. And as a parent, that can have terrible consequences if someone misunderstands or misconstrues your discipline choices.

Being accused of child abuse in Michigan can have very serious consequences

Join us next time, as we discuss the complications of parenting in the digital age, and look at the potential complications and dangers of disciplining children in front of a camera. Until then, it’s important to remember that being accused of child abuse, whatever the evidence against you is, is very serious! If you or a loved one are accused of abusing or neglecting a child, and you need legal help, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled and highly experienced child abuse defense attorneys have decades of experience, and can help you, whether you’re facing a CPS petition in family court, or allegations of child abuse in a criminal court.