Petition: BAN Videos of Children’s Autism Meltdowns

Imagine you are having your worst day. You lose your job, furnace breaks, your dog runs away and your spouse asks for a divorce. You are clearly struggling.

And then someone asks you a question that you clearly don’t care about and you lose it on them.

You yell. You get angry. You really go at it. Not your finest moment, right?

Now imagine someone films it and puts it on social media.

How would that make you feel?

Vulnerable. Exposed. Embarrassed. Humiliated.

Hello, my name is Kate and I am the mother to a little boy with autism. He is 9. He loves trains and letters. I have been sharing our world with autism since he was 3 years old. I have built up a large following.

I have made mistakes in the past with what I have said and shared. And while I do NOT remember ever sharing a video of him melting down, I am making a promise to him to never in the future.

My goal is to show the world the beauty that he brings to the world and highlight his unique gifts. And while I will reference our hard, and his, so we can all learn and do better, I will walk to the line of dignity and education carefully.

Sarah Turner of Autistic Barbie recently started a petition about the dangers of posting a video of a child having a meltdown on YouTube. As an autistic adult herself, as well as a parent, she knows firsthand how damaging this can be.

Sarah tells us:

Filming and posting videos of children’s autism meltdowns on YouTube is a clear violation of YouTube’s community guidelines. 

YouTube has the following statement on their community guidelines page: “It’s not ok to post abusive videos and comments on YouTube.” Filming children’s autism meltdowns and posting a private & terrifying experience for the minor for the world to consume at their leisure is abusive.

Simply put: Humiliation is not a form of autism advocacy. It is a form of abuse, whether the one posting had that intention or not. 

YouTube has another statement on their community guidelines page: “Posting videos that could create hate against a specific group of people OR INCITE VIOLENCE.”

Showcasing and sensationalizing meltdowns leads to fear of autism itself and could lead parents down a dangerous path to seeking to “cure” their children with radical methods.

Autistics routinely are victimized in day to day life as it is with systemic ableist views and procedures. The last thing we need is dangerous propaganda in the name of “awareness”.

This isn’t awareness. It’s abuse.

And finally, YouTube states on their community guidelines page: “Please respect privacy. Do not post anybody’s private information anywhere.”

Does this not include children? Is consent granted from these children to post such intimate videos? 

Psychiatrists and psychologists globally have condemned public humiliation of minors in relation to social media. If YouTube has any moral or ethical compass whatsoever, they need to remove these videos at once and ban them from being uploaded in the future. These videos are in clear violation of their policies. Autistic minors must be protected. 

To sign Sarah’s petition, please click here.

Written by, Sarah Turner

As a parent to an autistic child, a former caregiver for autistic children, and being autistic herself, Sarah Turner of Autistic Barbie on Instagram, possesses unique life experiences and perspectives towards the autism community.

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