Is Chasing Dopamine Coming At The Cost Of Turning Our Medical Information Public
It baffles me that after having their children digitally kidnapped six times, some of these parents are still refusing to hide their child's face on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. It's great that your kids are reaching their milestones on time but you don't need to share that stuff with all of your former classmates. The person who you sat next to in second grade yet haven't seen in 20 years doesn't even need to know your child's name. Children can't consent to having their photos and personal lives online. Questions like "What hospital were you born in?" are commonly used when people get locked out of their online accounts. What's crazier is the fact that these are the same parents who preach "stranger danger".
I understand the novelty of your child being named patient of the week at the pediatric medical center. In the 1990s they may have had a star with their picture and name placed in the waiting room but now in this day and age they may have an article dedicated to your child on their medical center's website alongside their photo. One could argue that posting that information is a violation of HIPPA, even with parental consent and their signatures. The ethical dilemma lies in the subconscious psychological tricks people fall for and the lengths people will go to in order to get a rush of dopamine; as when you are searching for a short term high, you sometimes aren't thinking of the long term consequences. Parents want to share the great news with all of their friends that their child has been healed and on the other hand a child thinks "I'm on the news," and both them and their child get a burst of dopamine when they find out their photo has 100 likes instead of, "My (child's) medical information is being posted on a public website online". The medical center also benefits from those parents sharing the updates on social media; as all their success stories are online for the eyes of the parents of potential patients. Even though it's cool in the short run, it may turn into something a child doesn't want their boss to see when they are 25.
I'm not sure about how the hospital commercials are produced but it would be a lot more ethical to have former patients (who are now adults) say, “Here's how the hospital changed my life for the better,” as opposed to sick child actors and their parents in front of the camera at their most vulnerable point in life. I understand that people are more sympathetic when they see children with machines hooked up to their bodies, but at what point does the medical center's website and the parents “go fund me” pages cross the line and turn sorrows into clickbait?
One solution I have is to create a newsletter that you will only send to your closest friends and family and then to post vague monthly updates on social media like, “AJ recovered from a cough and stuffy nose,” instead of daily updates and posts saying, “Aiden is successfully recovering from his three week hospital stay due to Covid.”