The Internet can be a very strange place.
Also, a very cruel and misguided place.
And Jacob Roloff is finding this out the hard way.
Earlier this week, Audrey Roloff shared a seemingly harmless video on her Facebook page.
Not just harmless, but very sweet and cute and precious.
The footage features husband Jeremy Roloff playing with the couple’s daughter, Ember Jean, an adorable young lady who was born in September to the Little People, Big World stars.
Jeremy is tickling her, Ember is laughing and it’s enough to make any Internet user smile for days on end…
… or get really, really upset, apparently.
Here’s the video in question:
“These two are my favorite,” Audrey wrote as a caption.
And who can blame her?
A lot of people, sadly.
In response to this video, some Facebook followers have come out with a harsh assessment of Jeremy’s actions.
“NOT a good idea to tickle a child,” someone named Barbara Koppelman Smith says, for example, explaining why as follows:
“It renders them absolutely HELPLESS with a natural uncontrollable response of laughter. There are much better and more healthy ways to make a baby laugh!”
Adds Jo’Lene Tover:
“I remember being tickled as a child and I remember that I hated it. This family is awesome but the point being made is to do research on the effects of tickling.
“I could not catch my breath enough to say stop and if I could the tickler would not stop. It was torturous.
“Sometimes I would actually get tears in my eyes and thought I was going to die from being tickled.”
Research on the effects of tickling.
Can’t say we’ve ever heard that one before.
Back in 1997, The New York Times published an article that quoted Dr. Richard Alexander of the University of Michigan.
He did remark that too much tickling is not healthy for a young child.
“A child can be transformed from laughter into tears by going the tiniest bit too far with tickling, raising the question of whether tickling is an expression of dominance,” Alexander explained at the time.
“There are lots of people who do abusive tickling, causing great mental pain, and that raises a big question about laughter.”
Well, okay then.
We have multiple responses to this report and to the backlash surrounding Jeremy.
FIRST, it does not sound like tickling is the problem. It sounds like excessive tickling is the problem.
SECOND, we’re pretty sure Jeremy would notice if his daughter started crying and would instantly stop.
THIRD, seriously people, give these people a break.
Give all parents a break.
Audrey has already admitted to carrying around a lot of mom guilt. Can she please just share a cute example of her husband and baby having fun without hearing it from the Mommy Shaming Police?
Does anyone out there doubt Jeremy loves his kid?
Does anyone doubt Ember is being raised in a happy and healthy environment?
Can’t that be enough for now, without so-called parenting experts feeling the need to chime in on absolutely everything?
Haven’t you given Audrey enough flak for random, dumb reasons?
Let the TLC star live! Let her husband play with his child! Everything will be okay, we promise!
Little People, Big World will return with new episodes on TLC this spring.
Many of them will be dedicated to this couple’s journey to parenthood and their life as the mother and father of Ember Jean.
We vow not to judge as we watch.