It's Halloween, and you know what that means — shenanigans. Pure and utter shenanigans, especially from kids. They go out roaming neighborhoods, get all hopped up on sugar, and those little intrusive thoughts in their heads take over. Punch that decorative scarecrow in the neighbor's yard? Yup. Dump the entire contents of a candy cauldron into their Halloween basket? You betcha. But one mom on TikTok wants adults everywhere to keep something in mind: If your Ring camera records any bad behavior from youth this year, you don't have to plaster it all over the internet.
"I think it's weird to upload Ring footage of someone else's child trick-or-treating at your house, regardless of what they did," says TikToker Meredith Steele. "If you're putting out a bowl of candy, you have to know that, at some point, a middle schooler will come and dump the whole thing in."
Ring camera footage and the ability to share it with neighbors or police can be useful. It's great when a neighbor's car is stolen, a package disappears, or a rock finds its way through your front window. It's especially handy when you film someone licking the doorbell for three hours. Has virtual neighborhood patrolling gone too far, though? When is it necessary to share your footage with the world, and when are you just being, well, petty?
As she points out, it's almost become the norm for neighbors to out minors by uploading security cam footage online and letting other neighbors identify the pint-sized perps. The real problem: This often means kids' personal information is getting blasted across the internet.
And while older kids (aka tweens or young teens) have developed some impulse control and should know better, they're still not perfectly in control of themselves all the time — particularly when they're already hopped up on sugar and tempted by a giant bowl of their favorite candy. Tweens and teens live their lives like an Ariana Grande song; they see it, they want it, they "get" it.
Steele gets it. She goes on to share a story from her own young life of petty crime, which serves as an excellent reminder we were all young and dumb at one point — but still deserving of a little grace (or, at the very least, to be spared having our worst moments broadcast over the internet).
"One time, when I was little, I took a bag of M&Ms from the CVS," she admits. "You know what CVS didn't do? Plaster my name online and ask to crowdsource my name, my mother's name, my school."
Steele also points out how quickly these types of Ring-footage videos go from being shared in neighborhood apps and groups to finding their way to the internet at large.
"Some of these videos right now have millions and millions of views of not-their-kid uploaded, and the comments are, 'Yeah, that's Aidan. He goes to such-and-such school and lives on Forest Ave.' What?! Why are we not seeing something wrong with this? It's f*cking weird."
It's also potentially dangerous. You work hard to keep your kid's information private so that you can keep your kids safe. That shouldn't be jeopardized because your kid went feral on Halloween and took too many Twix or smashed a pumpkin. If a parent genuinely has a problem with a kid on their Ring camera, there are less-public ways of trying to locate the troublemaker and their parents. (Try contacting local school, church, or youth organization administrators.)
There's the matter of the "other" kind of Ring candy police, too: those who leave a bowl of candy on the stoop but talk to trick-or-treaters from the doorbell cam. "Sitting upstairs like a f*cking gremlin on your Ring camera and yelling at kids for taking too many Snickers? That's weird," Steele admonishes.
And, sure, sometimes you have to run to the bathroom or check on dinner. Sometimes, you desperately want to participate but are too sick or tired to sit on your porch in the cold. If leaving a bowl of candy on the stoop and watching trick-or-treaters from your couch helps you feel involved, awesome! But, if you want to be involved in the fun, maybe don't ruin it by acting like a creepy, invisible guard dog over your candy.
Let the kids live, be free, and even be wild this Halloween. It's been a rough couple of years for everyone, and if the worst thing a kid does is take too many Butterfingers one night a year, maybe let's just look the other way.