After having a tooth pulled last summer, seven-year-old David was having a hard time coming off his anesthetic, babbling and hallucinating. So what did his father do? Why, film it and post it for all the world to see, of course.
The resulting YouTube video, called David After Dentist, has attracted more than 6.5 million viewers since being posted just over a week ago.
"Is this real life?" David asks from the back of a parked car, amid head flopping and even blood-curdling screaming.
"Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?" David asks.
While many of the thousands who posted comments on the site found the clip hilarious, others condemned the dad for poor judgment.
"What's so funny? Dentist gives helpless child drugs who don't know how to deal with its effects and it is funny??" wrote one YouTube viewer. Some worried that the child had been given too many drugs and that the father did little to allay the child's fears; others considered the video an invasion of the child's privacy.
Almost immediately, versions with sound tracks, remixes - yes, there is a mash-up of David with Christian Bale's recent on-set rant - and animation popped up to further cement the video's longevity.
But what might be the long-term implications for David, the unwitting comedian? Might he face the cyber-infamy of the "Star Wars Kid," the teen whose classmates posted a video of him wielding a faux light sabre? He dropped out of school and needed psychiatric care.
Toronto child psychiatrist Marshall Korenblum says he's appalled by the David video because of both the current and potential effects on David's mental well-being.
"It's humiliating. You're showing the kid when he's impaired," he says. "So we've captured this kid at a vulnerable moment, when he's clearly anxious, frightened and confused. And the father has not done a lot to reassure him."
As parent blogs, YouTube and Facebook dramatically alter the fate of once-private family images and antics, new questions of where the ethical lines should be drawn continue to arise. Take another recent YouTube phenomenon: a chubby-cheeked nine-year-old named Sam singing The Cuppycake Song. It turned out that Sam has kidney disease, hence the full cheeks - but that didn't stop Sam's family from agreeing to TV appearances.
Catherine Connors, who blogs about her family from Bowmanville, Ont., at HerBadMother.com, admits she'd be tempted to post something like David After Dentist, "but I wouldn't do it." While she has posted, for example, a video of her toddler daughter (from the waist up) playing the piano while naked, she says the video was not humiliating and she was performing for the camera.
Toronto parent blogger Kelly Graham-Scherer, of DonMillsDiva.com agrees. "For instance, if my child gets older and wets the bed and/or has any number of icky-but-kinda-funny incidents related to puberty I will NOT be discussing them in detail," she says. "... I will never use his antics to elicit outright laughter."
And Dr. Korenblum says episodes involving a child that are considered funny can easily come back to haunt an adolescent - especially in the form of cyber-bullying.
"This now has the potential to be replayed over and over again at different points in his life," he says. "Why would you inflict this on your child?"Report Typo/Error