Monday, May 14, 2018

Before you hit share, did you ask your kid?

By Louise Kinross

A week ago Rebecca Cokely wrote an interesting piece for Rewire.News called
On parenting and consent: When sharing isn't caring. "While nondisabled parents generally raise nondisabled kids to not let strangers touch their bodies, or not to talk about their private matters to people in public, disabled kids are taught to share everything," she writes.

Rebecca is the senior fellow for disability policy at the American Center for Progress. You may remember her, and her family, from this fabulous CNN video: A disabled, biracial (and totally normal) American family

In her recent article, she says she was planning to write a parenting piece about bullying by drawing on her son's experience. Then she asked him if that was okay, and he said no. "He was right," she writes. "It's not my story to tell."

Rebecca notes that the medical world often strips children of autonomy and privacy. For example, she writes that as a hospitalized child, she was given the message that educating medical students came before her own need to assert personal boundaries.

Rebecca suggests parents may be putting their own needs above what's best for a child when they post about a child's disability online. "When it comes to consent and disability, the internet is full of families of disabled people sharing stories, asking for tricks of the trade, and just plain venting. These exchanges walk the line from being informative to being exploitative. For every thoughtful question about what car seat works best, there are five posts of parents sharing photos of their children in various states of undress asking if an impairment or ailment 'looks normal.'"

What do you think?