My Thoughts on Parenting · The Inner Workings of My Mind

Using Your Child’s Picture on Blogs and Public Domains

I recently read a really fabulous blog about shaming children on social media for inappropriate behavior.  In addition to being well written, the writer had a unique way of giving her readers a chance to put themselves in the child’s position.  It got me to thinking about other things that parents may do that may not be the best thing for their children.  I started wondering about mommy bloggers who include pictures of their children for all the world to see.  Most of these blogs that I read are well-intentioned and these women are simply sharing pictures of something related to the blog topic.  Though I don’t think these types of blogs are even remotely close to the parents who post pictures of their children in order to humiliate them for behavior they don’t approve of, I do wonder about the effects of posting pictures of your children in any respect.  
I do admit that I post pictures of my children to my Facebook page about once a month on average.  My Facebook page is private, but I do have “friends” on there that I haven’t talked to in about twenty years.  So, while I can use the “my Facebook page is private” defense, I am still sharing pictures of my children that they are unaware of.  If given the choice, I’m not sure my girls would be thrilled about having their pictures posted on my page.  However, my focus right now is more about posting pictures of your children to your blogs, which are public and can be seen by anyone around the world.
For me, I tend to dwell on the scary side of this.  The ability to locate a person in a photograph using metadata is a very real threat.  There are mentally troubled people in this world, and those are the people I worry about when posting pictures of my children.  Not to scare the pants off of everyone, but a friend of mine once had a picture posted online of her child.  It was not posted by her, but by the town’s junior baseball league web site.  The picture was public and the parents of the children in the picture signed a waiver to have that picture posted.  After some time had passed, a child molester was arrested in her area.  In addition to child pornography on his computer, the police found an uploaded copy of the baseball team’s picture.  The parents were contacted asking if they knew the man who had downloaded the picture.  I’m assuming the police may have thought that one of the children was related to this man.  Of course, none of the parents had ever heard of him.  After hearing this story, I decided that I will never allow a photo of my children to be uploaded onto a public web site.  As proud as I may be of my children’s accomplishments, I will never again sign a waiver allowing a sports team or a school or a newspaper to publish a photo of my children.  The thought of someone looking at their photos in an unnatural way torments me.  To me, the risk is just too great.  Because my blog is public and can be seen by anyone across the world (for some reason, I’m very popular in Germany), I choose not to post photos of my children on it.
Maybe this is an overreaction on my part, but I would rather have the peace of mind that no one other than the people I choose can look at a photograph of my children.  I also feel that it is unfair to use pictures of my children publicly when they are unaware of it.  They aren’t begging me on a weekly basis to be a part of my blog.  This is something I do for me.  If I ever feel the need to put their photos on my blog, I feel that they should get a say in it.  I think they deserve to be informed that their pictures may be seen by people all over the world, most of whom are strangers.  I think they deserve the opportunity to voice their opinion.  But that’s just me.
I would love to hear more, especially from those with an opposing view.  Thanks for reading!