THE BLOG
12/01/2014 11:42 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

Hey, Jimmy Kimmel, Find a Different Funny

Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

Dear Jimmy,

You are hilarious! You and your team have created a vibrant show full of up-to-the-minute commentary and memes we love to watch. Celebrities Read Mean Tweets and This Week in Unnecessary Censorship shed humorous light on poor behavior and both have the chance of making the world a better place.

I have a problem, and I am hoping you can help me. As a family doctor, I see patients of all ages. A family came to see me, totally dismayed about the way their kids are treating each other. They insult and lie to each other, they humiliate one another and are constantly trying to catch it on video. "We can't make them understand that what they're doing is really mean," the mom explained. "They're just kids, they don't get it."

The kids are, in fact, pretty nasty to each other in the room. I haven't known them long and so I spent some time asking them about the behavior that is worrying their parents. A lot of families bring me their behavior questions, and I didn't immediately think of going to you for assistance. It was the kids who mentioned you, actually, when arguing with their mom. "We're not as mean as those parents who say they ate their kids' Halloween candy and give them one terrible Christmas present just to get on TV. And you laugh at those all the time!" "Yeah, we just want to get famous on YouTube!"

Jimmy, of course your show is for adults. But YouTube? 83% of kids 15 and under watch YouTube videos. They often don't get irony, or understand the line between funny and mean.

Jimmy, you're famous. That gives you instant credibility about... pretty much everything. If you say it's ok to hurt and betray our kids by tricking them, and then perpetuating the lie to get a truly horrifying reaction from our kids, and then posting our kids humiliation on YouTube and hoping for a viral post or a shot at having it on Jimmy Kimmel Live? Parents think - it must be OK! "Heck, he's a parent himself," your audience decides. "He's got two grown kids, and that beautiful baby, so he'd know if this was a bad idea!"

Jimmy, it's a bad idea. I see parents damaging their kids. Sure some kids can handle it! But, the ones who realize it's a joke and doesn't have to be a big hairy deal? Those videos don't go viral. Hell, those videos usually don't even get posted on YouTube because the reaction lacks drama. It's the fragile kids -- the ones who weep and wail and swear and throw things -- whose pain shows up all over the Internet. Because you've "challenged" parents to shock and betray their kids for a laugh.

You are an expert, and a seasoned one, in entertainment. So I'm begging you -- one expert to another -- be bold. Notice the scope of your power to influence peoples' behavior. This Christmas, tell your audience NOT to ruin the holiday for their kids by lying about their gift.

Challenge us to create videos that will go viral without destroying our children's trust in us. How? I don't know. I'm a family doc, a parenting and youth development expert. You are the funny expert. You've proven that you can do hard things, and I know you can do this.

Please, find a different funny.

All the best,
Deborah Gilboa, MD (and Second City alum)