The Texas father who recorded his daughter's bedtime fit talks parenting and tech

By Nate Jones
Updated February 25, 2014 11:00 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Daniel Brooks

When Daniel Brooks recorded his daughter Ashlynn’s temper tantrum over not being allowed to play with her iPad before bedtime, he had no idea the clip would go viral. After all, he’d posted plenty of videos of Ashlynn, the daughter of his girlfriend, Hope, on his YouTube account without getting interview requests from media outlets.

“We like to record her life,” Brooks told PEOPLE. “Her ups and downs, her good days and her bad.”

On one recent night, Ashlynn was having a very bad day. Though her father says she’s normally a very well-behaved toddler, she had missed a nap. She played some educational iPad games on her mother’s tablet before bed. But when Daniel put it away, the result was a temper tantrum for the ages, which her father dutifully recorded and posted on YouTube. As sometimes happens when children and the Internet are introduced, the resulting clip blew up.

As also happens when the Internet encounters the subject of parenting, the resulting attention was not entirely kind. Comments critiqued Daniel and Hope’s parenting style.

Daniel read those comments – “tons and tons,” he says – but stands by his parenting. “Videos only show a short clip of our life,” he explained. “We know we’re good parents, and it’s too bad some people can’t just take a video for how it is.”

For those who see Ashlynn as the youngest example of a tech-obsessed generation, Brooks points to the iPad’s educational qualities: helping kids build hand-eye coordination, learn the alphabet and start to count. He and Hope set a time limit for her iPad use and make sure to take her outside for walks and playtime. Plus, he adds, “We would rather her play educational games than watch TV all night.”

What will Ashlynn think of her moment of viral fame when she grows up? Daniel isn’t worried.

“I’m more worried about the naked baby butts her mom puts on Facebook than how she’ll react to seeing herself cry!” he says.

“The more videos we take of her as a child, the more of her life she will be able to look back on and remember how Mom and Dad were really there through everything.”

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