Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Kids online

Opinions are sharply divided on whether parents should post pictures of their kids online, especially those depicting embarr-assing, outrageous or unruly behaviour. Are they just innocent records of childhood or are they unethical invasions of privacy that might horrify their children at some later date?

An intriguing question for those of my generation, since there was no internet when we were young, and often very few photos. My parents weren't much interested in taking photos, and there are virtually none of the childhood me.

Since my childhood was so long ago, and since my memory is crap, I would love it if there was a vast collection of photos I could trawl through to fill the gaps in my memory and see all the crazy or clever things I got up to.

Journalist Kashmira Gander is firmly against parents sharing photos of their kids online. What will those kids think years later when they see themselves smashing their face into a birthday cake, throwing a massive tantrum or being sick on the carpet? Surely they'll cringe and ask what possessed their parents not just to take the photos but to post them all online?

Personally I wouldn't be too bothered. We all know kids behave badly so why should photos of the bad behaviour be a problem? Obviously I'm now grown-up and I behave normally so why should it worry me? It would just be an amusing trip down memory lane.

In any case, if grown-up kids look at their childhood photos and they're horrified, all they have to do is ask their parents to delete them all. Or at least the especially mortifying ones.

I just wonder why parents are so intent on capturing every moment of their child's life for posterity - no matter how trivial or obvious or boring. Isn't it enough to have watched them growing up and got pleasure from it?

Not any more.


  1. Recently a friend said, as I took a picture, that she was do unable to handle a camera there is no record of her children growing up. As her sons are 17 and 15, that is unbelievable. I'm far older than she, and have no problem with pictures that are not embarrassing. As my computer guru friend said as he set me up with gmail and associated stuff, it's a new world. Get used to it.

  2. I would NEVER post any photo of my two children in a social media. This is private life. My husband is a passionnate photographer of our children but only for family use..There is an unspoken law in my country not to publish photos of kids who cannot agree and I have a friend who found the photos of his little boy on a pornos site. Just scaring.
    By the way photos are memories of family history.I have hundreds of photos of my childhood in Namibia and are thankful for it.
    Mia More

  3. Joanne: I think "not able to handle a camera" is just an excuse. How hard is it to point a smartphone at someone and press a button? Perhaps she just doesn't want photos of her children for some reason.

  4. Mia: It's very risky to post pictures of kids online. They can so easily be misused, as your friend found out. But how come your friend was looking at a porn site?

    I presume all your childhood photos are on some kind of computer. Before computers of course, people had photo albums. In fact Jenny and I have photo albums as well as digital photo collections. One advantage of photo albums is they can't accidentally be deleted!

    1. My friend is a laywer working for researches for Internet criminals concerning children abuse.My childhood photos are not on a computer but in photo albums so are the photos of my children. Traditional use of a camera.My husband uses old cameras.
      Mia More

  5. We used to let out houses for holidays in France...and I was astounded by the number of parents who spent their time photographing or videoing their kids exploring the houses and grounds rather than doing the exploring with them.
    Daddy wanted to video little daughter collecting the eggs...wouldn't she have preferred it to have daddy collecting them with her?

  6. I've not seen any embarrassing type of photos of kids I know online, but my kids (and friends' kids) were past that age by the time of social media.

    I'm now at the age of knowing friends with grandkids, and I enjoy seeing their photos on Facebook. I understand the need for privacy though, and hope that people have privacy settings established, but who knows?

    I'm curious about those who wouldn't post a photo of their child. At what age would that end? Because I've seen very young kids with cell phones! Lol

  7. I think most people will take it for granted whatever their parents did. Maybe all their frieds' parents did it too and they will think it's normal. I do't think it's a good idea to dwell on kids' feelings etc. in public though. They might feel they are stuck with them.

  8. Most of my truly high-tech friends ((working for Google et al) would never ever put their kids' photos on line and wouldn't hesitate to cite the many reasons.
    There is no such thing as privacy settings.

  9. I know bloggers who put pictures of their children in password protected posts. That lets them share the photos with friends but not with the whole world. That sounds sensible to me.

  10. Helen: Yes, taking photos can become a type of detachment, can't it? You're never fully involved in what's going on, you're preoccupied with getting it all on camera.

    Mia: Ah, I get it! A very contemporary occupation! I like photo albums, but they do take up an awful lot of space!

  11. Bijoux: I'm never quite confident about privacy settings. In theory, everything's private, but there's so much hacking, who knows? Some extraordinary things somehow find their way into public circulation.

    Jenny: You're right, talking about kids' feelings can be a bit intrusive as well. But I guess sharing such things with other parents can help you understand if your kid is going through something difficult. Like transgender feelings.

  12. www: Well, if the people at Google don't have any faith in privacy settings, perhaps the rest of us are a bit foolish to believe in them?

    Jean: Yes, password protected pages are a good idea. Certainly when kids are involved, you need to be very cautious about what you post and where.

  13. The thing is, there are cameras EVERYWHERE. There's no avoiding them. A pervert can take a photo of your child at the bus stop, or standing in line at the drugstore. And then there are the security cameras. If people think there is any privacy in the world, they are living in 1952.

  14. Bijoux: Very true, cameras everywhere. On the streets, in shops, in offices, in buses. You never know who might be watching you. Though having said that, I've never experienced any actual invasions of privacy, so I'm not too bothered about the camera-mania.

  15. The comment about the lack of privacy in the modern world is spot on.
    We leave digital footprints whether we like it or not.
    What does get on my nerves are the social media baby bores - those who insist on posting photos of their sprog on Facebook every day under the misguided belief that other people actually give a shit.

  16. all my pictures are in a small box in the closet.
    much more satisfying to sift through them with a cup of coffee in an easy chair. more comforting somehow than online.
    but I had to laugh at the commenter's computer guru...
    "it's a new world. get used to it."
    and now we live in a selfie and picture taking world!
    not much goes undocumented anymore.
    in some ways nice. in some ways awful!
    we have to get used to it. LOL.

  17. Dave: Fortunately, not being a parent I've never been flooded with baby pictures from other parents. But yes, they may find their little darling's every move totally fascinating, but the rest of us aren't so enthralled.

    Tammy: I agree, sifting through actual photos, or photo albums, is somehow more satisfying than scrolling through online photos.

    I like the fact that so much is documented. It means just about anything can be found and checked on the net. As opposed to my younger days, when you might or might not find what you wanted at the local library.

  18. In my case, it is academic as there are no children in my immediate family, I however am against publishing children's photos online as there are unsavoury elements prowling the net and they can cause harm.

  19. Ramana: Too true. There are plenty of people with no moral scruples whatever, ready to use and abuse what's been carelessly thrown onto the net.

  20. Rowan was 13 when I started blogging. There are a few pictures of him on my blog, but they don't show his face and I asked his permission.

    I was always careful to upload photos with his say so.

    Had he been younger? I'm not sure.

    Facebook is supposed to be private, a blog isn't. I try and lock down my Facebook as much as possible, outside of that there isn't much else you can do. It remains a brilliant social media platform that allows family all over the world to check in. With small children I expect grandparents in another country are hungry for news.

    As for embarrassing photos, no I wouldn't share or pass around pictures if he wasn't happy. Because I'm not an arse.

  21. Rose: You've obviously been very scrupulous about what you post. Quite right too. As you say, putting stuff on social media is great for far-flung family members who want to keep up with your life. It's one of those trade-offs I suppose - keeping in touch with other people versus the risk of photos falling into the wrong hands.

  22. Again, two separate issues here. Most parents DO want to capture their kids' growing up years for posterity. Why wouldn't they? You've produced these little beings you love intensely and who are precious to you. It's a kind of love I think you can't grasp if you haven't had children.

    But I would never post anything that would shame my children. Ever That's sadistic. I don't have a problem with people posting photos of their kids or grandkids that aren't embarrassing. I like seeing my friends' offspring.

  23. Agent: I'll take your word for it that most parents want to have photos of their children's early years. I guess my parents were a bit unusual in that respect.

    I agree, it's cruel to post (or simply take) photos that might shame your children later on. Not to mention possibly showing those photos to others and making fun of your kids behind their back.

  24. I do post photos of my grandchildren on Facebook, but only to friends and family.

  25. Hattie: Hopefully it IS just to friends and family and not to all the neighbourhood hackers as well!

  26. Our Dad took quite a lot of photographs of us when we were growing up plus lots of cine film !!! It's good to look back on but I look atrocious in some and will only share the reasonable ones !!!!
    I'm not sure about sharing too many on social media .... many young parents today worry about who might use them but some plaster every photograph they possess over Facebook !!! XXXX

  27. Jackie: Yes, that's another consideration - the photos where you look absolutely awful (or think you do!). And any parent who pours photos of their kids onto social media is asking for trouble.