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I've been accused of doing two "highly inappropriate" things today . . .

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  • I've been accused of doing two "highly inappropriate" things today . . .

    I'll try to summarize as best I can. I've been teaching elementary-age children's church for nearly 20 years now, 15 of those at my current church. Back in 2006 at the beginning of the year, I took a short video of the kids in my class, going around the room asking them their first name and favorite animal. This video was to help me learn their names in a fun, memorable way. I never showed the video until anyone until last night when I posted an unlisted YouTube video link of it on our church's private Facebook group and tagged all the kids (now adults) and their parents. I thought it would be a neat thing to share from all those years ago and that they'd get a kick out of it and some great memories. And that's precisely the response I got from a lot of people!

    However, this afternoon I got a private Facebook message from one of the parents who said it was highly inappropriate of me to 1. post that video AND 2. to have even made the video in the first place without parental consent. I responded to him clarifying that the group AND video were private (an unlisted YouTube video can only be viewed by people who have the link - you can't find it by searching for it) and that the kids were all now adults. I also responded that if pictures/videos without parental consent were a problem for private use, then the church directory should be a bigger concern (entire family pictures, last names, addresses, etc.). Now, my actual message was longer than that and more diplomatic - I'm just summarizing my main points here.

    Anyway, at the end of my reply to him, I put the ball in his court and told him if he still objected, I'd ask one of the group admins to remove the post. I don't feel I did anything inappropriate, but I don't want him to cause a big stir and blow things further out of proportion. I'm still waiting for his reply (it was only an hour or so ago that I replied).

    But am I missing something here? What possible bad thing could come from this video being posted, even if some "stranger" got ahold of it? Like I said, the video is 15 years old and these kids are now all adults. I really can't seem to come up with any rational reason for a parent to be upset about it.

  • #2
    I think it was a great thing to do. I see nothing wrong with it. And grew up as a preacher's kid in a mega church. But there's always 1 "Karen" in the crowd.
    MamaDuke

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MamaDuke View Post
      I think it was a great thing to do. I see nothing wrong with it. And grew up as a preacher's kid in a mega church. But there's always 1 "Karen" in the crowd.
      Thanks for the feedback. So far you and one person whom I called (fellow teacher) agree there was nothing inappropriate with it, but I just want to be sure I'm not missing something that could possibly be a legitimate concern. Probably just a "Karen" like you said, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I just hate that such an innocent thing made somebody so upset for no good reason that I can see. It's not so bad when it's a stranger like a tenant, but when it's someone from your church, that's a little closer to home. And our church, though fairly large, is definitely no mega church.
      Last edited by RMRSS; 20 July 2021, 07:02 PM.

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      • #4
        Like MamaDuke said, I think he just wanted something to be mad about. I would personally love to see a memory captured like this of my childhood or my sons. If all else fails, exclude him from the link and blur his face out so everyone else can still enjoy it.

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        • #5
          Sounds like he was just complaining to complain. Don't take people like him personally.
          Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

          Vince Lombardi

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AngelaESSTX View Post
            Like MamaDuke said, I think he just wanted something to be mad about. I would personally love to see a memory captured like this of my childhood or my sons. If all else fails, exclude him from the link and blur his face out so everyone else can still enjoy it.
            I thought about the face-blurring option for his child (again, this child is like 23 years old now, LOL!) like you mentioned, but I'm not even all that sure he's upset about just his child being in that video. It almost sounds like he's upset about the whole thing, including the other children. Anyway, if he responds, I guess I'll have my answer and know what to do from there.

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            • #7
              There are lots of people who want to control your actions with their complaints. It is just how our society has devolved over the past few years that social media has become so invasive. I wouldn't give their complaint a second thought. You did a good deed, and it was long ago. My motto is: "Let it roll off like water off a ducks back" and never give in.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SteveMac View Post
                There are lots of people who want to control your actions with their complaints. It is just how our society has devolved over the past few years that social media has become so invasive. I wouldn't give their complaint a second thought. You did a good deed, and it was long ago. My motto is: "Let it roll off like water off a ducks back" and never give in.
                Thanks. My only concern is that if he decided to go behind my back and complain to the church leaders or something, they might overreact and say that we're not allowed to take any videos or pictures anymore in the children's ministry. That's why I didn't want to end my response to him with a "I'm leaving it up no matter what" kind of statement, but rather make him feel like he was still in control. So far he hasn't replied back.

                Part of what makes this different than a random "Karen" (or "Ken" in this case) is that I've known this family for many years and taught 3 of their children. I just feel awful that he reacted this way. Just because he's being unreasonable doesn't change the fact that he now views me as somebody who has "wronged" him or his family in some way. But I guess I have no control over that. Hopefully he'll have a change of heart.

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                • #9
                  I could see if the kids were still kids, but if they are all grown, the kids themselves would probably like to see it, that parent just wants something to complain about. (some people are just like that! They are angry people!)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SBAZ View Post
                    I could see if the kids were still kids, but if they are all grown, the kids themselves would probably like to see it
                    Precisely, and a few of the kids have already responded about it thanking me for sharing it along with even more of the parents.

                    I hate how paranoid our society has become regarding children and just privacy in general. I understand you don't want to be careless, of course, but some people are so knee-jerk and draconian about everything that you feel drained of all joy around them. I do try to be mindful of people's sensitivities, which is why I make videos like this unlisted and share the link within a limited circle of people, but for some people it's never enough.

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                    • #11
                      Only taught Sunday school one year, youth Baseball/Soccer coach many years and assistant Boy Scout leader/merit badge counselor for many years. Boy Scouts has come under turmoil for a while on these and worse issues. Above you have the positive re-enforcement, so I won't come with the same for your benefit.

                      Couple of angles; then it becomes a degree of concern on each one. Each one can be dismissed or argued against; its a question of whether your looking for positive re-enforcement or seeing if there is a growing moment.

                      1. Since the internet is a public forum, you have to consider the other peoples concerns. The fact this was on a private Facebook page and you are thinking it is in a controlled environment, means you need to have a discussion with some of the teenagers in your group as to how exposed it still is. More importantly this is a good dialog for the church group on protocols. Realize this is probably not the Church's Facebook, but it doesn't matter. Its still the church, they will be the ones who get tagged.

                      2. Read the three RRR's. Forget whether your instance tripped these, but is there anything in your organization/church that "supports" this communication/response.

                      3. Online take the Boy Scout Youth Protection training. Forget if your not involved with Boy Scouts, not about passing the test. Take those concepts and try to apply them to your Church and its activities. A wise person learns from other peoples mistakes.

                      4. Okay at 23 years old? 20? 17? 13? 9? 5? Who gets to make the decision? In this instance, you made the decision. Again, forget whether you did anything wrong or not. Take this as a moment to have a discussion.

                      5. Church is personal. Some people want to shout from the mountaintops, and others want to keep it as their moment and experience. Again, take the moment to have a conversation on guidelines, perspectives, etc.

                      6. Church- exposure? if something bad, then a greater chance for exposure. I always tell my son for each wrong, it takes 10 rights before you regain trust. You can leave the church, but it can't leave.

                      7. Your work- exposure? probably very little exposure.

                      8. We are a small town, but have a lot of "High Exposure" people living in our community from the city near us. Doubt they want their names and their children's baptism, camps, etc. known on the internet. Just because I have either run into them or been exposed to them, they are not seeking notice in our community due to their professions or celebrity. Point is, we don't know their stories and their aversion to publicity. I do know they want to control it.


                      I can shoot down every concern and comment above. My recommendation is to take the above and do a comparison against the Church and its activities. Involve the person who reached out to you. They obviously have a concern and this would rebuild any trust that has been lost. They probably didn't respond because "no good" would come from it, in their minds.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
                        Only taught Sunday school one year, youth Baseball/Soccer coach many years and assistant Boy Scout leader/merit badge counselor for many years. Boy Scouts has come under turmoil for a while on these and worse issues. Above you have the positive re-enforcement, so I won't come with the same for your benefit.

                        Couple of angles; then it becomes a degree of concern on each one. Each one can be dismissed or argued against; its a question of whether your looking for positive re-enforcement or seeing if there is a growing moment.

                        1. Since the internet is a public forum, you have to consider the other peoples concerns. The fact this was on a private Facebook page and you are thinking it is in a controlled environment, means you need to have a discussion with some of the teenagers in your group as to how exposed it still is. More importantly this is a good dialog for the church group on protocols. Realize this is probably not the Church's Facebook, but it doesn't matter. Its still the church, they will be the ones who get tagged.

                        2. Read the three RRR's. Forget whether your instance tripped these, but is there anything in your organization/church that "supports" this communication/response.

                        3. Online take the Boy Scout Youth Protection training. Forget if your not involved with Boy Scouts, not about passing the test. Take those concepts and try to apply them to your Church and its activities. A wise person learns from other peoples mistakes.

                        4. Okay at 23 years old? 20? 17? 13? 9? 5? Who gets to make the decision? In this instance, you made the decision. Again, forget whether you did anything wrong or not. Take this as a moment to have a discussion.

                        5. Church is personal. Some people want to shout from the mountaintops, and others want to keep it as their moment and experience. Again, take the moment to have a conversation on guidelines, perspectives, etc.

                        6. Church- exposure? if something bad, then a greater chance for exposure. I always tell my son for each wrong, it takes 10 rights before you regain trust. You can leave the church, but it can't leave.

                        7. Your work- exposure? probably very little exposure.

                        8. We are a small town, but have a lot of "High Exposure" people living in our community from the city near us. Doubt they want their names and their children's baptism, camps, etc. known on the internet. Just because I have either run into them or been exposed to them, they are not seeking notice in our community due to their professions or celebrity. Point is, we don't know their stories and their aversion to publicity. I do know they want to control it.

                        I can shoot down every concern and comment above. My recommendation is to take the above and do a comparison against the Church and its activities. Involve the person who reached out to you. They obviously have a concern and this would rebuild any trust that has been lost. They probably didn't respond because "no good" would come from it, in their minds.
                        Thanks for taking the time to write all that. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I follow it all, but one thing I can see that could apply in this particular instance is that perhaps one of the kids doesn't want a video of them as a child posted for whatever reason. Since they are adults now, they'd be the ones to decide that, though, not the parents. So far, only this one parent has expressed displeasure with the video. As I mentioned, it is indeed my church's official private Facebook group, and they ultimately made the decision to post this, not I, since all posts are reviewed by one or more admins before being approved. As for the "bigger picture," I'm not going to invite some sort of "media posting policy review" for the church based on this experience, because posting a video like this is not a regular thing I do. It's one of those special "once in a decade" type things I might feel like sharing. I don't want to open up a can of worms over it.

                        Just to be clear, the video itself does not contain the church's name in the title or anywhere in the video, and the kids only say their first names and their favorite animal. That's literally it! What, is one of these kids going to sue the church because a potential employer saw the video and didn't hire them because when they were 8 years old they said their favorite animal was a snake, and this video hadn't been posted, they would have been hired? I hate to sound facetious, but I honestly can't think of a single reason how this could become an issue outside of perhaps an individual's subjective feelings of shyness about them appearing in a video as a child. They aren't sharing personal information (beyond their first name) or potentially embarrassing feelings or confessing sins in the video or anything of that nature.

                        Like I said, I gave this parent the decision whether he wants me to have them take the post down. I didn't take it down yet because I sincerely think he may not understand the audience for this video and is under the impression that it was world-wide, not just limited to our church's FB group. It could be that once he understands this, he might be ok with it (maybe he already is and just didn't have the courtesy to reply back to let me know). But if not, I will honor my word and have them remove the post. If he doesn't want to discuss it, I can't help that. If he's truly concerned about it, then he will reply back to ask me to have it removed. Simple as that.

                        So the bottom line for me is that in light of all the facts of the specific situation (the kids are now adults, the video is unlisted, the post is in a private group, etc.), I deemed it better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, as the latter would become a logistical nightmare, since many people are on FB but rarely look at it, and two of the kids were visitors whose last names I don't even remember and thus I have no way to contact them. You'd probably say, "Then play it safe and don't post it," and I respect that viewpoint, but I don't agree with it for this particular situation. I feel the smiles it brought people were worth it. But I'm also willing to remove (or edit) it if this one parent or any other parent or child requests it. I think I'm striking a good balance here between trying to be sensitive to people's feelings and not taking all the fun out of life.

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