question

Should Parents Post Photos of Their Children on the Internet?

I stumbled across an interesting AskReddit thread posing the following question:

Within the next 10 years, a generation of children whose parents posted their entire lives online, without their consent, will become young adults. How do you think they’ll feel about it?

Pause. Think about that. It is a really great question. We all know from this article titled, “How Many Kids Do You Want?”, I am rather dog obsessed and not child obsessed. My only “child”, a 5 year old, is very hairy, walked from day one, and still hasn’t talked. Do I post photos of Kang Kang online? Hell yes… he has more followers than I do (follow him!). Do I ask him if I can snap photos and post him on social media? Hell no! But again, he is a dog and he can’t talk back. This is why dogs are man’s best friends and “children”.

IMG_2857

@oclhasa — doing what he does best: act cute!

But would I care as a human being? The best way to answer this personally is to think back through all of my photo albums sitting in my mother’s home. You know, the Polaroid and Kodak moments where every snap counted because you only had limited film. As a baby, I was often told I looked like a monkey… I had fine, static-infused hair that stood straight up, huge cheeks and deer-in-headlights eyes. My mother also had an interest in taking naked photos of me. I often wondered if Instagram was around in the 80’s, would I go viral as @NakedMonkeyBaby? Transitioning into a pre-teen, things were not looking up in the appearance department. I had awful hand me downs from my older brother who was 7″ taller. His shorts were my high-waters when high-waters weren’t in. I often cried, “Why can’t you be a sister?!” I wore these really ugly coke-bottle glasses with metal frames that took over half my face (you can’t even pass them off as hipster). I grew up surrounded by 4 male cousins and as a result turned into a bit of a tomboy. There is actually a photo of me at a park in the scorching AZ summer – topless – with 4 topless boys. I have to admit I could really pass off as a boy, especially with my identical bowl-shaped hair cut that matched my brothers. My hair was never brushed and I never wore dresses. As a teenager, things started finally looking up. I started to blossom and became more confident. I was able to save up my own money and bought new clothes that actually fit. In the final year of high school, I registered for a Facebook account and started posting photos of my teenage self on my own. I liked having the say in which photos were Facebook-worthy and which were to be deleted and never surfaced on the web.

184653_531622507171_7368_n

Brother & I (with monkey hair)

Going back to the original question, I think it’s safe to say I’m just thankful my parents still don’t know how to use the photo function on Facebook. My response is out of sheer embarrassment of being an ugly duckling monkey growing up. I’m not sure if I would feel differently if I were cute or pretty. What I can say though is I do enjoy gathering in the living room with family and friends, browsing through physical photo albums, and allowing them to laugh at my expense. There is something sentimental about not having all of your photos visible to just anyone online. Funny side note: My mom is on Facebook and she is my friend. I once posted a photo of my brother and I. She commented, “Good picture. Put on Facebook.” This illustrates how technically savvy they are (thank God).

My advice to parents if they want to post photos of their kids is 2-fold: 1.) Make sure it is a flattering photo – save the embarrassing ones for a private album and 2.) Make sure metadata or geolocation settings are disabled. When I posted photos of Kang Kang on Instagram I had my “Add to Photo Map” setting on. Chris pointed it out and said to remove it because if you zoom in you can actually see where we live! It’s pretty spot on. God forbid any dognapper knowing my routine over the course of 10 posts and one day dognapping him! Apparently there are stories of this happening to children so be diligent. The other thing to consider is your photos can end up anywhere as you’ve given permission when you accept the Terms & Conditions on sites like Facebook. There was a Facebook lawsuit when a girl realized her face was part of a sponsored advertisement photo. Facebook won (surprise!); lucky for the girl it wasn’t an STD campaign. Oh, and don’t forget about the creepers. Child pornography exists. I would be mortified if my physical photo albums ever become Facebook albums. Which leads me to the next point – don’t accept friend requests from strangers. I keep getting weirdos inviting me to be friends. To which I say:

DeleteDeleteDelete

Let’s discuss! What are your thoughts to this question?

Advertisements

Checkout Charities – To Donate or Not To Donate?

TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: OK. So total today comes to $86.43.
Me: OK. I’ll put it on my credit card.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: Would you like to donate to Save the Children Foundation today?
Me: No thanks.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: Are you sure?
Me: *awkwardly* …Yes.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: [in a condescending voice] Okay. (Shoves me my bags of pillows and other decorative items clearly necessary for daily survival.)

It’s not that I don’t care for children despite my article of potentially never wanting to have children of my own. The same interaction generally happens at Petsmart, except there is no human asking you if you would like to donate, it’s on the credit card screen as:

Would you like to donate to your local humane society?
No Thanks   $1   $2   $3   Other

That is smart. Automated computers never get tired or forget to ask the question. The man in front of me donated, and as the cashier handed him his receipt, he announced, “Thank you for your generous donation today.” Then it was my turn to be rung up. *Gulp*. Now that my wallet is out and it’s clear I have $60 to spend on Kang Kang’s grooming, I should donate at least a dollar to a poor homeless dog, shouldn’t I? I’m sure the woman behind me heard the other man’s donation. Will she judge me and think I am a selfish, awful human being with no heart if I click that ‘No Thanks’ button? Will the cashier smile at me the same way he smiled at the donating man?

That is the problem I have with Checkout Charities. It has capitalized on human psychology and was invented to make a consumer feel trapped, guilted, and selfish if they decline on donating. I once asked a cashier at Albertson’s, “Can you tell me more about this charity? What percentage of the donations go to the actual charity? How much of it goes towards their cause?” She didn’t know how to answer a single question, not even the mission. Well, that is just fantastic.

It really is astounding. According to Cause Marketing Forum’s report, retailers raised $358.4 million in 2012 through this method. Its great for retailers because it makes them look like they actually care about non-profits and great for non-profits because they can profit. All the meanwhile the donations come from the consumer who really has no idea where the money is flowing to.

An article came out in the NY Times recently, titled ‘4 Cancer Charities Are Accused of Fraud‘. Everyone can relate to knowing someone who has been affected by cancer, right? Its devastating and we all want to find a cure or at least make the cancer patients remaining life better. So we slap pink ribbons on everything and hundred of millions of donation dollars later, there goes the executives taking a trip to Disneyworld… without the cancer patients. Only 3% of proceeds actually went to cancer patients?  This is ludicrous.

Not to be confused with Ludacris, a rapper.

Going back to human psychology, I find it really interesting that many stores now ask, “Would you like to round up your change to the next dollar?” I almost always say yes on this one. I don’t know what it is about nice whole round numbers. And for some reason knowing you are donating less than a dollar almost makes it feel like 0. What? My total is $3.01? Sure, let’s round that to $4. Add 99 cents …pfft that’s not even enough to buy a junior cheeseburger post tax.

Anyways, my point is, don’t get scammed into donating. Donate to causes you care about and donate anonymously. Unless you’re in the PAC party, there’s no need to share with the public who you support unless your end goal is to get others to donate to your cause you’ve researched and feel passionate about. Look at every charity as if they are a homeless drunk man asking you for a dollar. Would you trust this person?

Let’s discuss! To donate or not to donate?

– Emily

The Real Life Modern Day Disney Princess

Belle. Cinderella. Ariel. Snow White. Sleeping Beauty. What do all of these Disney princesses have in common? Opera voices. Perfect dance moves. Gentle demeanor. Dashing princes running to their rescue. Size 0 waists. Long, thick, shiny, perfect Pantene Pro-V hair.

Disney has built itself an empire over the princesses that so many girls fantasize about. This success didn’t come without scrutiny or controversy, however. Over the decades, Disney has responded to some controversy by diversifying its princess line from classic white beauty to Pocahontas (Virginia Indian), Jasmine (Arabian), and Tatiana (African American). To combat other controversies of princesses being too weak, they created heroines like Merida and Mulan. Still, the controversy continues. Many mothers and feminists report Disney is hurting girls’ self esteems because Disney is what it is… fantasy. Much like Barbie, it’s really hard to achieve the ‘perfect’ look unless you are willing to go under the operating table. That got me thinking…

Who would be a great real life modern day Disney princess?

In my opinion, the real life modern day princess can still sing and dance, but she is her own prince. She doesn’t need to act helpless to have a prince save her in the end, because she is independent. She doesn’t have a size 0 waist, she is whatever size, and feels confident in her own skin. She has a great sense of humor and charms strangers by showing her authenticity. She doesn’t have the perfect tousled hair but she embraces it in an Orthodox Jew ponytail.  The real life Disney princess creates her own happily ever after.

Does this description sound familiar? Why, yes, it is indeed Fat Amy.

If Disney could make a movie with Fat Amy as the main princess, it would be the best Disney movie ever. Perhaps The Big Mermaid is a fitting title. As Fat Amy would say, “Crushed it!”* Until then, I can’t wait for Pitch Perfect 2 to release!

*If you have no idea what I’m talking about I highly recommend you watch the movie Pitch Perfect.

Let’s discuss! Which pop culture celebrity or character would you like to see as the next Disney princess?

~Emily

*Chris was conveniently unavailable to weigh in on this post.

So How Long Do I Wait to Call Her?

I love the movie Swingers – it’s undoubtedly a must-watch for every man. These are everyday guys that men can relate to because most men are living the same life.

The movie follows Mike (played by Jon Favreau), a struggling comedian who has recently been dumped by a longtime girlfriend and thrusted into the singles scene in Los Angeles. Every conversation inevitably goes back to his breakup, and he’s facing the brutal truth that this is his first time being single as an adult.

There’s a particular scene which I love. With some great advice from his buddy Trent (definitely be the rated-R guy), Mike approaches the bar and gets a woman’s phone number. The dialogue that ensues is cinematic gold:

So how long do I wait to call her? It may sound like a silly question, but is it really that trivial?

First of all, I’ve already written about how no one calls anymore, so texting can replace calling in this case. Oftentimes women make the mistake of assuming that once they give their number to a man, he’ll know what to do from there. The truth is, a lot of men have no idea what to do after this.

Should men even care? I think they should, or else there will be a large amount of this happening:

The answer, in my opinion, starts with a question, How do you want to come off to a woman? If a man gets a number and then leaves six, seven text messages later that night, surely he must know how that looks. Conversely, if he gets a number and doesn’t message her until two weeks later, she’ll probably want him to piss off. That said, I think it’s safe to say there’s an acceptable range of time after getting the phone number where a man should contact the woman. It’s up to the individual man to be aware of timing things correctly.

If you’d like to chime in on this, please leave a comment below. Everyone has their own opinion on initial contact etiquette, I’m not even sure if there’s a right answer.

– Chris

#SocialMediaPDA – When is it Too Much?

Emily: As I hit my late 20’s, it’s bad enough that I have my mother breathing down my neck asking, “When are you going to get married?” Now I am constantly being reminded (what seems to be on a weekly basis) that everyone around me is either getting married, getting engaged or getting preggers. It’s really difficult missing that big block in your Newsfeed when it’s bolded and centered every time a friend adds a life event and the standard congratulations flood the page.

While I understand the significance of these life events and am happy for them (as evidenced by my Like), what I don’t understand is all of the other general social media PDA. I guess it’s sweet to see John loves Rachel and got her just because flowers and a new pair of Jimmy Choo’s. John also wants me to know that he thinks his girlfriend is the most beautiful girl in the world. I can’t help but wonder if John tells her this in person, too, and if so, before or after the status update? It just makes me wonder, is there such a thing as too much social media PDA?

Chris: Whether we admit it or not, there exists a troll inside all of us, hungry and waiting to be fed. Social media PDA is the bacon cheeseburger for our inner troll. It’s like watching The Bachelor – on one hand you wonder how a show like this could exist only to realize you’ve watched every group date and rose ceremony. To me, I find it interesting what social media PDA reveals about us as people. There are many factors in play – from people wanting to uphold an image of a perfect relationship to viewers trolling every egregiously romantic post. I’ve noticed that women in particular have a distaste for social media PDA, because, as we all know, women love hating other women.

57926624

Emily: Women call other women bitches, sluts and whores as men call other men dicks, douchebags, and sons of bitches. These nicknames are often warranted out of jealousy – for women it’s based on insecurity surrounding physical looks, for men it’s based on insecurity surrounding the alpha desire to make more money or drive a flashier car. I can’t speak for men but I would say women are competitive and agree woman on woman hate is rampant. So if your question above is asking whether or not social media PDA is stemmed from the desire to make others jealous, I think very much so. I can’t see anyone really wanting to tweet or Instagram themselves kissing because they genuinely think people see this as a measurement of their true love. And if they do think others are dying to see their newest love status, it goes back to my original question, when is it too much? Do we have societal pressures to put on a happy face for the web all the time? Is this the modern way of demonstrating true love?

Chris: I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too much. Social media PDA always serves a purpose, whether it’s for John to show everyone how awesome he is for having someone like Rachel, or for people to troll on him for his over-the-top gushing. I don’t mind it at all. It’s like gratuitous nudity in Game of Thrones  – are you really that upset about it? I’m not.

But does this mean someone loves someone less because there’s a lack of social media PDA? Of course not. Girls should think about fighting the urge to find these hidden underlying meanings behind their man’s social media activity, because usually there isn’t one. It’s fairly simple – everyone has their own level of privacy they’d like to keep – just because I don’t tell my Facebook friends how great you are doesn’t mean I think it any less. As long as I tell you how much I appreciate you face to face, the social media stuff is irrelevant.

Emily: You mean after all this debate you’re not going to tell me you love me on the web? Because I love you!!! ^____^ ❤ ❤ ❤ Did that gross out any readers out there? Get used to it. #socialmediaPDA is going viral!

Copenhagen – How Young is Too Young?

We recently came across a movie on Netflix – Copenhagen. Released in 2014, this movie is about William, a man in his late twenties, searching for a grandfather that he has never met, hoping to deliver to him a letter from his father that he never really knew, in the city for which the movie was titled. But something unexpected happens along the way – he falls in love with a local girl, Effy. This in itself is odd for William. As an American backpacking through Europe, he’s used to one night stands and casual flings. But the real kicker to William and Effy’s romance is that Effy is only 14 years old. Their affair is terribly inappropriate; she’s just a kid, after all. But as the story unfolds, you can see something pure and genuine about their affections for one another. William’s no pedophile (at least in his own mind), and Effy is quite mature for her age (at least she thinks so). So this got us thinking – How young is too young?

Chris: First of all, I think we should eliminate anyone under 18 years old. We shouldn’t be promoting crime here. A real life William is a scumbag with severe mental problems. That said, I’ve always subscribed to the rule of thumb of half your age plus seven being the cutoff line. So in the case of William being 28, the youngest he could go would be ((28/2)+7) 21 years old.

Emily:  While that is the most popular calculation, I don’t think it’s appropriate for all relationships. We will call that math equation “the solution for minimum creepiness”. But following a basic math equation is difficult because we are complex humans. There are so many factors such as life stages, maturity and values. For instance, at 28, don’t you think you’re over the clubbing and partying as opposed to 21, when you’re just finally able to enter bars?

Chris: I was definitely still hitting the club and bar scene at 28. Life stages and values – so I guess we’re talking about relationships then, boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. Do all girls just automatically go there whenever they see a male prospect? What about casual dating? Because how good of a girlfriend can a 21 year old chick be? I say this because I know 21 year old men are horrible boyfriend material.

Emily: Do men just automatically jump to casual hookups? I don’t think we can generalize and say all 21 year olds are bad girlfriends/wives or boyfriends/husbands. But okay, fine, to make this less complicated, lets narrow it down to just casually dating. I would say the “half your age plus seven” rule works pretty well. I’m just saying don’t expect a relationship to come out of the minimum acceptable age, especially as you get older. If you were 60 and I met you at 37, I would say I’m attracted to your wrinkles and wallet. What I’d like to know though is why at 30 it’s acceptable to date someone who is 22 (8 years difference) and at 60, a 37 year old (23 years difference). It’s just casual dating but why does the age range become wider as you get older?

Chris: I was kidding. So yes, let’s get off of casual dating. William and Effy, after all, were in love, albeit foolishly. When it comes to relationships, I think the half your age plus seven is a good guideline. As people grow more and more into their adulthood, the age gaps tend to fade and blur and we all just end up being in the same boat, really. This is why a 60 year old man dating a 37 year old woman seems fine. So we still haven’t answered the question, How young is too young?

Emily: Actually I don’t know if I’d sign off on the 60 and 37 year old couple. Lets say this 60 year old had a daughter at the age of 23. Is it weird that his now daughter is the same age as his girlfriend? I guess we have heard of these couples — if you personally know one — I’d love to learn how it works for them. But okay, the million dollar question: How young is too young? For casual hookups, half your age plus seven, if you can handle it. For relationships, as long as both are of legal age and your maturity level and life stages align, you have my blessing!

Chris: I’ll just add one more thing: If you have any inkling of someone being too young, then he/she probably is too young, for you.