Family Friendly Fakery or Respectful Restraint?

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During a recent podcast interview, a well-known breaker suggested those of us who dwell too much on being family friendly are being fake.

Could he be right?

I certainly cuss as much as anyone during normal conversations, but I have yet to let a single word of profanity slip out through more than 300 live breaks (it will happen eventually because I’m human). Am I being fake because I don’t talk the same way during live breaks as I do when I’m having a beer with my friends?

Here’s why I emphasize the family friendliness of our breaks: I decided on Day One exactly the type of community I wanted to host to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone, and the best way to let people know the boundaries is to inform everyone from the start of the live videos.

When I first joined a group break, it was an exciting experience for my whole family. I won the auction for the St. Louis Cardinals spot in a National Treasures break, and my wife, son, and I sat together in the living room on the edge of our seats. When our only hit of the break (a Stephen Piscotty patch auto worth maybe 10% of what we paid for the spot) was pulled, we were all thrilled!

In the months that followed, I joined dozens of breaks and watched hundreds. My son, whose interest in the hobby now ranges between obsessed and completely disinterested, watched a lot of them with me. Some of the language in the breaks (from the breakers and/or their communities) wasn’t family friendly, and it turned me off. Even when my kid wasn’t watching with me, I didn’t like it…and I’m anything but sensitive to strong language. I simply didn’t enjoy it when profanity overlapped with the breaking experience. Although I know most break viewers aren’t usually watching with their families, I run the breaks so families can safely enjoy viewing together in their living room.

There are some people whose hobby is hating everything about the hobby (and sharing their hatred of the hobby with everyone who will listen). I think it’s a vocal minority, maybe 5-10%. They hijack hobby-related posts with all their grievances about the hobby and berate anyone who does enjoy it. I suspect they’re simply unhappy people who want to spread their unhappiness and who feel some flicker of achievement when they bring a little darkness to someone else’s world. When those people hijack a break with their excessive negativity, profanity, bullying, and other unpleasant comments, I stop following the chat entirely, and if the breaker doesn’t keep his community in order, I’m gone for good. When I began exploring the idea of hosting my own group breaks, one of my first objectives was to build a community that was neither appealing nor welcoming to those people.

I also wanted the community to be free of politics and polarizing social issues. Social media used to be fun, but I’ve stopped personal use almost entirely because most of my friends and family turned my Newsfeed into a political battleground. The hobby, from my viewpoint, should be an escape from that, and that content isn’t welcome in my breaks.

Some people might see this as being fake: I don’t. I see it as showing respect to a community that’s filled with people from a variety of backgrounds who have different boundaries on what makes them comfortable.

You (hopefully) wouldn’t cuss or tell off-color jokes during a job interview. Does that mean you’re being fake? Of course not. You can have a candid interview while still having the restraint to filter out language and content that could dissuade the interviewer from hiring you.

Did you have enough respect for your significant other’s parents to show some verbal restraint when you first met them? I hope so. That wasn’t being fake, either.

Some people aren’t into the family friendly scene, and that’s fine. There are countless breakers, and anything goes with some of them. But many enjoy the Cardboard Treasures community the way it is, and those people will continue to be my target audience.