The Only Thing This Video Proves is 3 Year Olds Can Be Coached

There is a video making the rounds in libraryland of a very cute 3 year old named Abby talking about what she wants from her library. If you haven’t seen it, I’ve embedded it below. I saw it when it first started making the rounds and thought cute, but clearly that child has been coached and so dismissed it. She isn’t telling us what she wants, she telling us what the person behind the camera told her to say. She is three,  she has no idea what she is saying.

But then it started to be retweeted, and librarians started holding it up as proof of something. Of proof we need to adapt and change for digital natives. Then I started beating my head against my desk. Because please, anyone can see this child is coached and this, THIS is your proof? If you showed this to me as proof your stance in an argument I would mock you. And you would deserve it.

I don’t argue that we need to change it is why I work so hard on the transliteracy issue, it’s why I started the blog. The struggle to incorporate new technology into libraries is well documented from both sides of the fray. This is an incredibly important issue. If we’re going to discuss it we need well founded arguments not props. Get a study, get anecdotes from adults who know what they are saying, get stats. (email me if you need these I have PILES of reports and pages of bookmarks in delicious)

But please, I ask you, no I implore you, do NOT use this video as proof of anything other than three-year old girls named Abby are freaking adorable.

21 comments

  1. “But then it started to be retweeted, and librarians started holding it up as proof of something.” You are kidding right? All i saw was people tweeting how cute it was. I must be following the wrong (right) people on twitter.

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    1. Aaron, I wish I were kidding. Perhaps some of them just thought it was cute but yes there were people who took it seriously.

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    2. Aaron, I wish I were kidding. Perhaps some of them just thought it was cute but yes there were people who took it seriously.

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  2. Robin Cicchetti · ·

    Bravo! Couldn't agree more. I was actually a little horrified.

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  3. jimmythegeek · ·

    Why yes, three-year-old girls are freaking adorable! I have one myself!

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  4. Yes, I am with you there. (I asked my three-year-old what she wants in a library. She said, “yittle tiny fish”.)

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  5. YouTube videos are serious business.

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  6. This just reminded me of the Will Ferrell landlord sketch (there may be hilarious adult language by a baby): http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/74/the-landlor…I agree that a baby taking direction doesn't prove anything. Small children can be pretty humorous or cute, but it seems a little like their being exploited.

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  7. I like reading your blog (in fact I follow your posts!) but I don´t agree with you regarding this video (by the way, I've posted it in my blog…). This cute girl was, no doubt, coached, she even doesn´t understand what she's saying. It was a kind of 'marketing' operation on VALA (http://www.vala.org.au/index.php) Conference 2010. The issues are critical and make us think about…

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    1. Angelina – I absolutely agree that these issues are critical and we need to be thinking about them. But there are so many real world, fact based ways we can demonstrate this and start discussions. It makes me cringe to see us holding up something that can so easily be dismissed as fabricated. which would allow the issues to then be dismissed as well.

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    2. Angelina – I absolutely agree that these issues are critical and we need to be thinking about them. But there are so many real world, fact based ways we can demonstrate this and start discussions. It makes me cringe to see us holding up something that can so easily be dismissed as fabricated. which would allow the issues to then be dismissed as well.

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  8. I read about the controversy behind the video over at Agnostic Maybe. I thought everyone knew this was coached and that it was just a cute example. I read that people were unlinking from it like it was some hoax. If people are that gullible about something online, especially librarians, there is a lot of work to be done.

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    1. I'm not sure they are gullible, but I think in some cases we are so desperate for “proof” we'll grasp at anything, we just need to be careful. It would be horrible to destroy the progress we've made in the name of cuteness.

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  9. wandaedwards · ·

    Thank you! Thank you! My thoughts exactly (except mine included cursing and rants about child abuse).

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    1. well mine included swearing & banging my head against my desk, but I cleaned it up for public consumption :-)

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    2. well mine included swearing & banging my head against my desk, but I cleaned it up for public consumption

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  10. […] Bobbi L. Newman from Librarian By Day comments on the Digital Native video I had posted a while ago. […]

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