Before You Back A Kickstarter, Read Thoroughly And Think Critically (Even If It’s Your Friend)

Posted By Debbie on August 25, 2014

A LinkedIn connection who was barely an acquaintance recently sent me a request to back his Kickstarter. When I saw what it was, I was horrified. I was then horrified that it already had over $8K. And then I was horrified that it was labelled as a “Kickstarter Staff Pick.” I wondered how something becomes that… friend? Paid? Someone didn’t read the whole page?

Your friends and acquaintances may not have awesome ideas.

I’m sorry but not everybody has an amazing idea or an idea that should get funded. I openly hope this Kickstarter project never happens because I think it might actually be dangerous. Let me tell you about it.

It’s a children’s book with a puppet. Sounds pretty good, right? You might donate right away thinking hey great! Someone I (kind of) know is writing a children’s book with a puppet! I’m not sure the world was lacking children’s books or puppets, but you might want to support your friend.

You might, until you read the plot of the book and why you have a puppet.

According to the Kickstarter page, the book opens with a Professor character warning (warning?) the reader that another character (a gender non-specific character given a female name) is looking for kids to kiss. Both the professor and the other character are strangers to your child. OK, maybe kids are going to learn something about strangers, safety, not letting random adults “kiss” them. This COULD be really good and match what parents are teaching their children about not just strangers but any adult that seems overly affectionate, touchy, etc…

The book soon reveals that the Professor is the genderless character in disguise. OK so we have an adult we’re supposed to trust (he’s a professor!) even though he’s a stranger. He’s warning us about another character, but it turns out he IS that character. So he’s been warning us about… himself???

I’ll let the Kickstarter explain what happens next.

“For the rest of the book, [character]—with the help of the accompanying hand puppet—delights in kissing the reader on the elbow, the back of the neck, the bottom of the feet, and more ticklish spots! Completely spent, [character] ends by thanking the reader for a wonderful “kiss fest” and remarks that she sure will sleep well tonight…”

The last time I had a “kiss-fest” with someone and felt completely spent and like I was going to sleep well that night… Wait, are we still talking about a children’s book?

Is this book recommended by any child psychologists?

I didn’t see any on the Kickstarter page. Just “testimonials” from parents saying this is great for “affection” play. I didn’t know parents were having trouble showing affection to children, and needed a book and a puppet for that.

I ran it by a friend of mine who is a school psychologist. He wasn’t for it.

I told the guy who contacted me that I thought his idea was actually a dangerous one, and I suggested that he run it by a pile of psychologists specialising in children and especially abused children to make sure this is the message we want to give toddlers. This book is aimed at toddlers. Teach them young. But teach them WHAT? Teach them to love kissy play time with a stranger? This just doesn’t seem right.

Last I checked, this book now had over $12K in backing. I can only assume that people don’t have thinking caps on. Or they see a staff pick and think this must rock. Or they’re pedophiles and child predators who are really excited that this book is going to teach children to let adults kiss you all over in an exhausting kiss fest.

“But my child is very, very smart and knows to not let a stranger touch him/her.”

Really. Your child, who thinks Mickey Mouse is real, who thinks monsters are under the bed or in the car. Your child, who pretends all kinds of things all the time and may not be sure what’s reality. Your child, who can barely eat, sleep, or poop without your involvement. This dude is going to know that a “kiss fest” with anybody other than you wearing a puppet is WRONG? How about if someone approaches the child and says he’s the Professor? How about a “bad” babysitter who finds the book in your house and “reads” it with the child? How about a child predator who has the puppet and approaches your child for kisses? Do you want your day care workers kissing your child “all over” with a puppet?

Are you absolutely sure that your little 1 year old, 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old is going to know this is the puppet that’s OK to kiss me and this it the adult that’s OK to kiss me and this is how much kissing is OK, and these are the bad versions of that so I should say no, run away, and tell someone? Are you SURE? What if you’re wrong about your child’s understanding of boundaries? Do you want to take the chance that your child now thinks that kiss fests with adults or puppets are something to agree to?

Please, before you back a Kickstarter, even if it’s your friend or family member, read it through. Think about it critically. Do you really want to see this product come to life? Is it really a good idea?

Please. Because poorly-thought-out stuff like this is out there and might be read to your child when your child visits a friend’s house.