Why You Need to Be Tuned Into Your Kids Meme Habits

Jamie Cohen
4 min readSep 15, 2022

Children will encounter memes and internet content more often than you think — the stakes are too high to ignore the conversation

A meme with the caption 99% of people can’t tell the difference. On the left side of the image is wrestler John Cena and on the right is a blank spot. The meme plays on John Cena’s quote “you can’t see me” and there is an ongoing meme where John Cena is invisible as a result.
If you get the meme, you get it, if you don’t, learn it, because your kids know it.

On Wednesday, parents in several states opened their Seesaw app to find one of the most infamous and disturbing images on the internet. Potentially thousands of users saw the image when they clicked on the disguised bitly link or saw it previewed in the app.

The image? Goatse.

If you don’t know what Goatse is, DO NOT GOOGLE IT.

This story isn’t about the unfortunate image that burned the eyes of hundreds of parents and possibly their children, it’s a reminder to maturely incorporate internet literacies into family discussions. An incident like this is unfortunate. While there is no current suspect, I imagine that it is a prank by a student that harkens back to the “early days of the internet.”

Seesaw is an app used by parents, teachers, and students for educational communication purposes. The link to the image was disguised by bitly, a URL shortener, and sent in direct messages to thousands.

The incident is an important reminder about memes, internet use, and child safety. Unfortunately, young people are going to come across disturbing images more times than you can even imagine. When you aren’t around…



Jamie Cohen

Digital culture expert and meme scholar. Cultural and Media Studies PhD. Internet studies educator: social good, civic engagement and digital literacies