Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

Summer camp is supposed to be an opportunity for children to get away from home and do something different from what they do every day. It's also supposed to be a welcome respite for parents with bored children underfoot in the summer. But modern communication devices (phones) have changed that. Kids are used to having their phones with them to play games, watch TV, and stay in touch with family and friends. Camps often have children hand in their phones, and they usually adjust pretty well when there's so many other things to do. Their parents are the ones having a hard time being out of touch. Barry Garst of Clemson University tells us what's going on.

"We started to hear from camp directors a number of years ago that parents were the most problematic areas of a camp experience," says Garst. Not weather, not water safety, not grizzly bears. Nope, it's parents who call daily demanding reports on their kids, who expect to hear from the camp director about every skinned knee.

Meg Barthel, the lead girls' counselor at Camp Echo, carries a device with Wi-Fi around camp. "I have to respond to the mothers who are used to this constant communication with their daughters," she says. How many messages a day? "Up to 100."

Garst says thanks to mobile devices, parents today are conditioned to hour-by-hour check-ins. "The No. 1 concern is the separation that parents feel, and the difficulty in accepting a different type of communication with their child when their child is at camp."

Hence, the phones buried in luggage, mailed to campers, or even, he says, stitched into a stuffed animal.

Summer camps report another difficulty is getting their college-age camp counselors to put away their phones, even if just for the time they are interacting with campers. And they also have helicopter parents. Read more on the modern problems at summer camp at NPR. 

(Image credit: Suharu Ogawa for NPR)

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Young Explorers

Filmmaker Jacob Krupnick's project Young Explorers follows children who have barely learned to walk, as their instincts for exploring are kicking in. This isn't easy for urban parents to negotiate.

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In a recent interview at ICP, Krupnick tells a story to illustrate the disconnect between child's instinct to explore and a parent's instinct to protect them.

While filming my daughter walking around Coney Island, she passed a boy her age who was tied up in one of those child nets, tethered to his mother, unable to experience life outside her reach. Ada, my daughter, marched past him. His look of astonishment read something like: what is that creature? Half an hour later, they met again along the boardwalk. He was still attached to his mum. He looked at Ada tentatively and tenderly offered her a piece of popcorn. In these moments, you come to see how desirable freedom is.

I can relate. While watching Bejla above and Tristan below, I had to keep reminding myself that not only was Krupnick right there filming, but the child's parents are no doubt just out of camera range. At the same time, in the back of my mind I wanted to reach out and hold their little hands.

(vimeo link)

Krupnick has ten episodes in the series filmed, but only two are available on the 'net so far. We look forward to seeing more. -via Metafilter

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People Share The Funniest Gifts Kids Have Ever Given Them

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It's sweet that kids care enough to buy, or even better make, a present for their parents, and many elementary schools encourage their students to create crafts and holiday cards for their folks so they're from the heart.

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And sometimes when the kid presents you with their handmade gift you want to bust a gut laughing at the adorable ridiculousness they've just handed you, but you know the kid might be hurt by your laughter.

So you keep a straight face, saying "wow" and "cool" a lot to emphasize how great you think their gift is, secretly knowing you're going to have a good laugh about that wonky gift later on.

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But these hilarious kid gifts really are the best because they'll always make you smile, and the fact that the kid cared enough to give you something to crack up about for the rest of your life is priceless!

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See more from Share The Funniest Gifts You Got From Kids here

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Little Girl Mistakes Bride For Princess From The Book She's Holding

Some little girls become so obsessed with princesses they start dressing like them, acting like them and telling everyone who will listen that they want to be a princess when they grow up.

They may even mistake real life people for princesses from fairy tales, like this little girl did when she came across a bride named Shandace Robertson decked out in her wedding dress.

In the little girls mind the beautiful white dress she wore made Shandace look just like her favorite princess from The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins, a book she was carrying around when she met the bride.

This happy coincidence was captured by photographer Stephanie Cristalli, who was busy shooting post-wedding pics of the bride and groom on a sidewalk in Seattle when the little girl and her mom Kelsey Edwards approached the "princess".

Now that little girl can live happily ever after since she got to hang out with a princess in Seattle, and the bride has an extra heartwarming element to add to the tale of her wedding day.

And BTW- The Woman In White is not exactly what I would call a kid's book, but maybe the little girl is a really advanced reader?

-Via Bored Panda

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Clearly, He's a Winner

A group of two-year-olds are competing in the Dutch Championship walking bike race on July 8. Senn Swieters pulls out in front, giving it his all on his green walking bike, having the time of his life. Senn's headed straight for the finish line. The crowd cheers him on!

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Or maybe not. Don't celebrate until the finish line is crossed. Considering how much the average two-year-old cares about winning, he's probably avoiding the finish line because he doesn't want the event to be over. A good time was had by all.  -via Mashable

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Mother Uses Forced Perspective To "Dress" Her Daughter In Food And Flowers

Forced perspective is a simple way to add your own creative touch to a photograph, and since forced perspective pics are best taken with a partner they're also a simple way to bring two photo fans closer together.

When oil painter Alya Chaglar asked her daughter Stefani if she'd like to play with her food she lit up, but Stefani must've had a hard time understanding how mom holding up a piece of food and taking a pic equalled fun- untile she saw the pic.

Then she really got into the spirit of the project, her pose and facial expressions matching the food and flower dresses her mom used forced perspective to dress her up in, and the pics are gloriously adorable.

See more from Mom "Dresses" Her Daughter In Food And Flowers Using Forced Perspective here

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The Most Adorable Father Daughter Photo Series Ever

Dads have some bad sides- they're hostile and angry when woken up from a nap, grumpy and groggy when they don't get enough sleep, and sleepy and gassy when they've had too much to eat.

But one of dad's good sides totally overshadows the bad- when he's being an adorable goofball by playing dress up with his kid.

That's when you can see a dad at his most adorable, as exemplified by silly doting daddy Sholom Ber Solomon and his tiny daughter Zoe.

Sholom was eager to set up a father daughter photo shoot with Zoe, a bit too eager to wait until she'd learned how to walk, so he dressed them both up and took them out on some silly staged adventures.

See more from Dad Takes Hilarious Pics With His Baby Girl In Costume here

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Homemade Virtual Reality Roller Coaster

KentuckyFriedIdiot said, "Daughter wanted to go to Disneyworld, but since it's too expensive we did the next best thing" which meant a roller coaster in a plastic tub powered by Daddy, while watching a POV video of a coaster ride. Genius!

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If she were any bigger, he might have had trouble pulling this off. As it was, I felt like I was riding right along with her. -via Tastefully Offensive

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These Incredible Galaxy Paintings Were Created By A 5-Year-Old

When we hear someone talk about their 5-year-old painting we usually envision messy finger paintings and a parent who has to clean up one masterpiece of a mess for the sake of their child's artistic enrichment.

But Cassie of CassieSwirls isn't an ordinary 5-year-old in that way, because she creates paintings of galaxies that look so good you'd never know they were painted by a kindergartner...unless you look at the signature.

Cassie's galaxy paintings have been blowing people's minds with their incredible detail and rich use of color, and Cassie even adds glitter and metallics to make her paintings "happy".

So far young Cassie has sold over 100 of her galaxy paintings, and like a true citizen of planet Earth she has donated nearly a thousand dollars from the sales to charity, so her paintings can bring people happiness in more than one way.

-Via Bored Panda

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Mad Max Junior

Remember the guy that turned his kids' Little Tykes Cozy Coupes into Mad Max-style vehicles? It turns out he works in the film industry. Ian Pfaff took his daughter Junior and his infant son Benji out to the desert and let them loose. A few specials effects later, they've recreated the apocalyptic world of the car chase movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Just like the movie, this is short on dialogue and heavy on mayhem. Uh-oh! -via Digg

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Baby Enjoys a Rocking Horse

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This horse knows what babies like! Just a slight push on the baby seat handle rocks the child and produces smiles and squeals of delight from 8-month-old Ruby. Her mother, Stacey Storer from Nottingham, England, said Ruby was tired and upset before Red started rocking her. That's a good horse. -via Tastefully Offensive

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Why Your Baby Doesn't Sleep Through The Night

Babies wake up during the night because they are hungry/wet/lonely, and because it's natural for them to awaken. Buzzfeed talked to Darcia F. Narvaez, professor of psychology at Notre Dame University, and other experts about a human baby's natural sleeping and waking cycle, and found out a lot of interesting things.

Human babies are born earlier in their development than other animals – they need close contact or an "external womb".

"Human babies are born 9 to 18 months early compared to other animals," says Narvaez. "Other animals are able to walk around and start eating – we can't do that. We look like foetuses when we're born and we are.

"So that means you want to keep that baby calm while the brain systems are finishing because they only have 25% of the adult brain-size developed, and a lot of systems haven't set their thresholds and parameters yet. They're expecting good care – like in an external womb or nest. We call it the evolved developmental niche or nest."

A baby waking up at all hours of the night is not abnormal at all. What's really abnormal is the world we've created. We learn to sleep through the night because of scheduling conflicts with work, school, and the other people in our lives. Read about the way nature intended babies to sleep at Buzzfeed. 

(Image redit: Sian Butcher/BuzzFeed)

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Fun Science Projects You Can Do With Your Kids This Summer

If you have school-aged kids, then they're almost certainly out for summer. While some parents let their kiddos do whatever they want during summer break, those looking to keep the younster's minds stimulated might want to head over to Instructables and check out these six summer science projects that are interesting, educational and fun. They can learn about magnetic slime, flower disections, robotics and more!

So if you have kids sitting around bored and forgetting everything they learned last year in school, don't miss this great list.

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Caught Red-Handed

You won't find a more literal illustration of the title Caught Red-Handed. But Emma is not going to readily confess to an obvious transgression.   

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Paul Ross shared this cute video of his daughter practicing for her future political career. -via Tastefully Offensive

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Women Share the Craziest Thing People Said to Them While They Were Pregnant

Image: Baby on Board by Albo

Earlier this year, Buzzfeed asked their readers what the most messed up thing people said to them while they were pregnant and the 22 ones they selected really are eye opening. If you think it's weird for random strangers to rub your belly just because you have a bump, you won't believe what some of these people have said. A few highlights:

"Paraphrasing a coworker when I announced I was eight weeks along: 'Oh you're not really pregnant until you're 12 weeks. Before that, you'll probably lose it anyway.'"

Or there's always:

"I had a much older co-worker say to me, 'You must be having a girl, you’ve gotten very ugly. You see, when you’re carrying a girl she takes away your looks for herself.' I nodded, then cried in the bathroom for ten minutes." 

You can read the rest over at Buzzfeed

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Mom's Pregnancy Dance Video Goes Viral, So She Recreates It After The Baby Is Born

It's good for expectant parents to be excited about the new addition coming to their family, but actress Gemma Marin was so excited to be pregnant the feeling made her dance with joy.

So Gemma and her partner Israel Duffus filmed their joyful dancing and posted the video to Instagram, which promptly went viral because watching it made people happy.

At forty weeks pregnant Gemma and Israel's dancing was just as joyful only with a slightly different tone- because she was now dancing in hopes of inducing labor.

People loved their videos so much Gemma decided to post another one after baby Alexandra was born, and she promises to post more videos of her happy little family soon!

The 24th of February we posted a video dancing, just for fun. It became viral around the all world. We are so grateful for having all of you following the last part of my pregnancy, and our life with Alexandra. Her FIRST DANCE is dedicated to all of YOU. THANK YOU for all your support, we love you. . Be ready for the next ones!! . . BABYCARRIER ➖ @lillebaby #dancingalexandra . . . El 24 de Febrero publicamos un video bailando simplemente por diversion. Se hizo viral por todo el mundo. Estamos muy agradecidos por teneros siguiendonos la parte final de mi embarazo y nuestra vida con Alexandra. Su PRIMER BAILE va dedicado a todos vosotros. GRACIAS por vuestro apoyo, os queremos. . . MOCHiLA BEBE ➖@lillebaby . . . . @inspirepregnancy @fit_moms_of_ig @labkhandeshaghayegh @pregnancyfirst @pregnantandperfect @healthy.pregnancy @pregnancyworkout #panama #españa #losangeles #california

A post shared by Gemma Marin (@gemma_marin) on May 23, 2017 at 8:06am PDT

-Via Shareably

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Three-Year-Old Dresses Up As Famous Women In Honor Of Her Grandma

Three-year-olds look adorable and precious no matter what they're doing, but when they dress up and pretend to be famous people they ought to be in pictures!

The little poser in the pic above is Scout, and she has more star power at three than many celebs working in Hollywood today.

Scout began posing for these fun pics when her grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer-her mom Ashley felt the project would be a good way to keep Scout's mind off her Nonnie's illness and take some cute pics for Nonnie at the same time.

Now Nonnie is cancer free and posing for pics along with her soon-to-be famous granddaughter, and Scout is learning what it means to be a strong woman from two generations of strong women in her family.

See Our 3-Year-Old Dresses Up As Famous Strong Women, And She's Seriously Cute here

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Mother Tries To Calm Her Kids As Colorado Hail Smashes The Car Windows

For most of us mom was our comforter, therapist, soother, teacher and defender when we were too young to understand what was going on, an island of comfort in a sea of madness.

Mother of four Stephanie Vandewalker recently put her motherly skills to work as hail the size of golf balls pounded her minivan while she was waiting for her oldest child to get out of school.

Stephanie's children were really shaken up as the hail beat down and broke the back window, and even though she was just as freaked out as they were Stephanie tried to keep them calm by telling them "We're gonna be OK, don't worry":

I was outside of the elementary school waiting to pick up my first grader, and just as the bell rang the sky started assaulting us with giant hail balls of doom. The hail storm came out of nowhere, and we are very thankful none of the kids had been released from school before the hail began falling. The Honda Odyssey is battered and broken, but the kids are all safe.

(Note: the clip at the beginning of the video should actually be at around 7:22)

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-Via Laughing Squid

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Babies Who Look Just Like Their Dolls

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When people say a baby looks like someone famous, or that he/she resembles a parent, they're usually just saying so to be polite, because most babies look like babies or, in this case, like Cabbage Patch Dolls.

In fact, we should just start telling people their babies look like a certain brands of dolls, because the resemblance is remarkable.

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Since the proud parents are likely to get upset if you say the baby looks like a toy rather than either one of them maybe you should just stick to saying "your baby is a real doll".

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And if you do compare their offspring to a doll just be careful which doll you compare them to!

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See 20 PHotos Of Babies Who Look Just Like Their Dolls here

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8-Year-Old "Siberian Snow White" Surprises Modeling Agencies With Her Unique Beauty

In the tale of Snow White she is said to be the fairest in the land, with "skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony", so the snow connection relates to her beauty and her skin tone.

But having never heard the fairy tale you'd probably imagine someone who looks more like 8-year-old Nariyana at the mention of the name Snow White, because the young girl seems to embody the name.

Albinism has turned her hair as white as the driven snow, and her pale complexion makes her look like Snegurochka come to life, plus she's from Yakutia, Siberia, which is home to lots and lots of snow.

Nariyana posed once for photographer Vadim Rufov and the offers from modeling agencies started rolling in, but for now her mom wants the 8-year-old to enjoy being a kid and leave modeling until she has grown up.  

-Via design you trust

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Mazzy Makes Boba Milk Tea

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Mazzy is two-and-a-half years old, but she is learning to cook. She even has a cooking show on YouTube! In this video, she helps her daddy make boba milk tea. It's a pretty straightforward recipe, but Mazzy makes it compelling. -via Digg

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Mom Leaves Hilariously Wrong Note For Babysitter

I'm sure most babysitters roll their eyes when they see that list of rules or emergency numbers sitting on the counter when they show up, and many don't even bother to read the note.

But those of us who love a good laugh are glad Malik Brazile's girlfriend read and shared the note she found when she showed up to babysit- because it's freakin' hilarious!

The ten item list reads like something many parents would love to leave for their babysitters, unless they're members of the PC police in which case they're pretending they've never thought such things.

The best bit to me- "Don't answer the house phone unless you feel like paying bills". Sounds about right!

-Via Some Parenting

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Kids These Days

It's a sure sign that you're getting older when you realize your kids are cooler than you ever were. Maybe you'll be lucky and that will happen when they are just a bit older than these children. It's the latest comic from Chris at Lunarbaboon.

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Mad Max Toddler Cars

Ian Pfaff, of Glendale, California, has a two-year-old daughter named Junior and an infant son named Benji. Pfaff is a Mad Max fan, but he didn't get to see Mad Max: Fury Road on its opening day because Junior had just been born the day before. But the kids are getting the Mad Max bug anyway, because of what their father has created. He took two Cozy Coupes and modded them Fury Road style!

See more pictures of the clever details in these vehicles and their accessories at Buzzfeed.

(Images credit: Ian Pfaff)  

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Tiny Dancers Among Us

Children usually dance, play and explore the world with reckless abandon, but when kids are serious about developing a skill like dancing they become far more focused than they ever have while sitting in class.

And even though they know their bodies may someday change into a less flexible form they keep practicing anyway, pushing their tiny bodies to the limit to express their love of dance.

Photographer Jordan Matter likes to shoot pics of dancers in motion, and his latest series Tiny Dancers Among Us shows us kids may not have the choreography down pat but they're able to soar much higher than most adult dancers.

See Tiny Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter Captures Amazing Photos of Dancing Kids here

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Jyn Erso Cosplayer Handing Out the Death Star Plans to Every Princess Leia

Dino Ignacio took his daughter to Star Wars Celebration last week, and they went fully equipped. He made a batch of plastic datacards as the plans for the Death Star for his tiny Jyn Erso to deliver. In case you haven't seen Rogue One, Jyn Erso was the main character, and getting the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance was her mission.   

Jyn is actually named Harley, and she and her father Dino attended Celebration in Orlando last weekend with a special goal in mind, to pay tribute to the dearly departed Carrie Fisher. Harley, in costume as Rogue One’s Rebel Operative, would locate as many Princess Leia cosplayers as she could, and hand them a specially-crafted copy of the datacard containing the Death Star plans.

See pictures of Harley and the different incarnations of Princess Leia she found at Star Wars Celebration at io9.

PS: Harley was Rey last year.

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Co-Parenting Win

Image: @Emilee Plaayer

When four-year-old Maelyn gets on the soccer team, her four parents are there to cheer her on. Wait - four parents? That's right.

Maelyn's mother and father are divorced, and both later remarried. But they're determined not to let that get in the way of parenting.

"Because of us, I will never believe co-parenting can't work," wrote Emilee Player (Maelyn's step-mom) in this viral Facebook post, "I know through experience it can work!"

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Guy Turns The Crazy Stuff His 5-Year-Old Daughter Says Into Adorable Illustrations

Kids say such cute things it's impossible to stay mad at them for long, and if we could somehow bottle their cuteness many of the world's problems could be cured with a daily dose of kiddie cute.

But rather than bottle his 5-year-old daughter Harper's essence artist Martin Bruckner takes all the endearing, zany and just plain crazy things she says and turns them into cool illustrations.

Martin calls the project "Spaghetti Toes" after the conversation he, his wife and Harper had that inspired the illustrations:

His wife told Harper, “Please don’t put spaghetti between your toes.” Bruckner commented on how ridiculous that statement sounded. Later that night he caught himself telling Harper, “Did you drop the cheese in the tub again?” From then on, he decided to note down all the weird things they said, and Spaghetti Toes was born.

100 of Martin's mini-posters have been collected in a new book entitled "I Love You with All My Butt!: An Illustrated Book of Big Thoughts from Little Kids", which will surely be the first book of many!

See more from Artist Dad Turns His 5-Year-Old Endearing Sayings Into Hilarious Illustrations here

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8-Year-Old Drives to McDonald's

What do you do when you crave a cheeseburger, but your parents are asleep? An eight-year-old boy in East Palestine, Ohio, figured it out. He looked up how to drive on YouTube, watched a video about it, and then drove his parents' van to McDonald's! Oh yeah, he also took his four-year-old sister with him.  

Witnesses told police that he expertly drove to the fast food joint, following traffic laws and staying under the speed limit.

“He didn’t hit a single thing on the way there. It was unreal,” Koehler said.

McDonald’s workers said they thought they were being pranked when he drove up to order a cheeseburger with money from his piggy bank.

“The workers thought that the parents were in the back, but obviously they weren’t,” Koehler said.

Police said the 8-year-old burst into tears when he learned that he did something wrong. He told officers that it was his first time behind the wheel.

The children got cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries before they were taken to the police station, where their parents picked them up. No charges were filed in the incident. -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Danielk2)

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Dad Photoshops His Baby Daughter Into Marginally Dangerous Situations

Despite what people who don't know the story behind these photos believe redditor Steec is a good dad, a caring dad, one who wants to shield his baby daughter from danger so she lives a long and healthy life.

But Steec's photos are making people think he's a careless creep and a bad parent- which is exactly what he wants them to think.

Steec is using his Photoshop skills to prank the internet, and when people inevitably fall for the prank and cry "for shame!" you'll be in on the joke and ready to put those tsk-tskers in their place!

-Via Bored Panda

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