Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Why? And Stop.

This has been building in me for a while.  I am not calling out any specific person.  This is not a passive-aggressive post designed to address one person but indicting everyone instead.  This is a response to trends and patterns I've seen, no doubt a product of the season: Summer.  So, follow me here for a moment before I get to my point.

I just read an article in New York Magazine about a YouTube family.  You know, one of those ones that posted daily about their comings and goings of the children and their new homes and cars… just one of those day-in-the-life things.  My daughter has watched a couple of those families over the years.  This particular family’s story focused on an adoption for a while, which is irrelevant here, but here is what is relevant.  I just learned this.  

YouTube does not allow comments on videos featuring children because internet pedophiles would place cryptic messages to each other time-stamping glimpses of children in bathtubs or bathing suits.  They have secret code-languages to call out to each other where to find these images -- for their sick pleasure.  Here is the quote:

Last year, Google began rolling out policy changes affecting family YouTubers, first by disabling comments on content featuring young children — which cut off a crucial line of communication with their audiences — after news outlets reported pedophiles were time-stamping scenes in videos as a virtual Bat-Signal to one another (a child swimming in a bathing suit, for example, or children in the bathtub).

And here’s where I kind of lost it.  Parents, why do you post so many pictures of your young children in skimpy bathing suits?  I really want to direct this to mothers of sons and daughters equally, and it is directed to parents of children of any sex/gender.  I just happen to see this more with young girls.  And by young, I mean anyone under the age of consent.  The pictures I see range from toddlers in bikinis to tweens and teens posing like Sports Illustrated bathing suit models.

Internet pedophiles find these pictures.  I will not leave that open for dispute.  If you are concerned about the true existence of these sickos, you can look at the sex-offender registry in your town and see the crimes committed by those placed on the registry.  I bet you will see people whose record includes internet-based crimes.  I know that’s true in my town.  And maybe the children for which those pedophiles were indicted included photos beyond bathing suits, but how is it at all different if your child -- clad in anything --  ends up on any of those sites?  Pedophiles search out any photos, but I somehow think it is worse if the child is barely clad or posing suggestively.

I guess my question is, why?  Convince me about this.  Why do you need your children posing in these photos on internet social media sites?  What do YOU have to gain by posting these pictures of your children?  What does your child have to gain?  Feel free to @me on this one.  I get it; we all think our children are beautiful, playful young things who ought to be showcased for these gorgeous qualities.  I post photos of my kids.  You don’t need to @me about that.  Because of my time in the model-mom/agent world, many of these children I see happen to be in child-modeling, and let me reassure you: nothing about these photos will get you any chance at work.  In fact, as an agent, I would never put a bathing-suit photo in a child’s portfolio because I would never want to be responsible for a photo like that getting into the wrong hands.  Just convince me why you need to post anything that offers a more-likely chance for your child to be exploited?

And I’m not talking about Satanic pedophile cannibals here, so please do not think that has any origin to this rant.  This is based on garden-variety internet pedophiles that I think we can all agree do, in fact, exist.

If you feel called out, my question is kind of… maybe think about this before you post?  Maybe clean up your existing posts?  It’s not too late.  Am I making enemies here?  Feel free to wish me to eff off on this position, but it’s not changing.  We are a village and we need our children not to be exploited in any way.  (Have I exploited my child by putting her into the business?  Not wanting to debate that here, but you could have that opinion, too.  I’m just acknowledging that some might have that argument.)  If I help prevent one kid from falling into that abyss, it’s worth my time writing this.

Parents, it is your job to protect your kids.  It is not your job to rack up likes of your cuties in compromised positions.  First day of school?  Eating ice cream?  Bring those on.  Fully-clad, please.

Feel free to like the Bizzy Mama facebook group (where I announce new posts) or head over to my Instagram, @thebizzymama for kid and pet photos and also new blog post announcements.  My email is thebizzymama@gmail.com and I am definitely open to hearing your thoughts on this topic.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Things I DON’T miss during this time off

Happy quarantine!  Hopefully everyone is social-distancing and surviving in this time of COVID crisis.  I know it’s a stressful time and I thought maybe I could recap some of the things about the industry that I DON’T miss during this time-out from auditions, castings, and shoots.

Seriously though -- isn’t it a relief to not be on hold?  While holds are great in many ways because it means your child might have a job coming up, there is always that sense of the unknown and the vague stress about what plans you might have to change or back out of in the event of a booking.  We’re on hold for a job next week and I’m not even worried about it since it came before the NYC stay-at-home requirement, so I’m quite confident I don’t even need to worry about that.

Parking tickets
I’ve been cleaning off my desk and came across an old parking ticket and thought, wow, how great is it that I’m not playing parking roulette and trying to decipher whether something is actually a legal spot or not?  I used to be a “never pay to park!” person who somehow always managed to find a spot (but it took a lot of time) and I probably messed up on about three or four occasions and paid mightily. In my old age, I now just use the Best Parking app, which usually gives a good price BUT sometimes you over-pay if you reserved for over an hour and you ended up in and out under a half hour (you know, that magically cheap period of time in the parking garage that is the teaser price they put out front on the sign).  But, no driving into the city, no paying to park!

Fake families
My daughter and a fake mom and dad in their Easter finest popped up in a Facebook memory, and I thought it’s nice taking a break from fake families.  Now, there’s really not much wrong with fake families -- in fact, they have always been very professional and kind people who have been really great to my child.  Cannot complain about that! Now, what is massively wrong with fake families is that they tend to be -- no joke -- a minimum of twenty years younger than I am. Twenty years.  So when I see my daughter pretending to be the daughter of a twenty-six year-old, it’s a real bummer. They are also so significantly more attractive (and thin) than I am. So a break from feeling old, ugly, and fat?  Nice!

Christmas in the Spring
The great thing about working in the spring and summer is that you get a little taste of Christmas on many sets.  I remember the days of my daughter not understanding she couldn’t open the fake presents. (Thank you, wranglers, for your help with that!)  But Christmas in the spring can also be a little stressful. You think, wow, if I’m really in gear this year, I can do my holiday shopping early!  Get ahead of the game! Maybe even organize all of the decorations in one place in the basement! But no, that never happens. And when the holidays actually do arrive, you never got around to any of that and the whole be-prepared spirit just blows away.

Early dismissals and absences from school
This is a double bonus!  No jobs or castings/auditions means no stress about those absences adding up.  Wait, what? AND no school to actually miss? No mental calculation about what time you can do the pick-up and still get in over half the day?  Score! My daughter’s school has a very organized online program, so if she were to miss a day, we would need to call in an absence so she is not just missing from her ZOOMs and assignments.  But again, no jobs so no worries about missing school!

Friday auditions
I just had to put this one because my daughter seems to magnetically attract Friday 5:30 audition times.  And living out in CT, there is a massive amount of weekender traffic from NYC to CT. I usually figure three hours to get home on a Friday (we’re about 1:45 TO the city), so about double the drive time in.  Now, no worries about those appointments and… wait for it, even when things do get going again, apparently everyone is already in CT (the people on my town Facebook pages are so ginned up about the “NYers” coming out to the country).  I can definitely say I do not miss that Thursday afternoon email about the Friday audition!

What are you NOT missing during this time off?

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Stay safe and healthy!