Saturday, 24 November 2012

Photos or no photos?

It's a hard decision for me as to if to post photos of our family on this blog, and on the internet in particular. It's something I think about a lot, but it's hard to decide.

I have erred on the side of 'no', since I'm not really comfortable with the idea of Chubs' image being freely available to anyone who has an internet connection. I'm also concerned about privacy. I wouldn't like someone to be able to know where we lived, or what our names were, or other identifing details. However, we are finding this increasingly hard to actually carry out.

I don't mind putting photos of Chubs up on Facebook - indeed I like it. All of my privacy settings are locked down, so only friends can see. However, it's not a simple as this. If anyone else is tagged in a photo, then all of their friends can see that photo. Chubs is in both my cover photo and my profile picture; and both of these are public. Where to draw the line? Allow photos of her, but not if anyone else is tagged? What about when friends put up photos of her, and their friends can see her? What if their privacy settings aren't as tight as mine?

There are more 'leaks' in the plan when it comes to interacting on Facebook. Because Chubs is in my profile pic, then her photo is available to anyone who looks at any other page that I have posted on. The simple solution to that is to not have her in my profile picture; but I like it. I have to decide if the privacy benefits justified the locked-down-ness.

There are more and more opportunities for Chubs' photo to be 'out there' - and out of my control. I could stop this, but I need to decide if it is worth avoiding opportunities for her because I'm precious about her photo. We had an absolutely beautiful photo taken of Chubs having a breastfeed, and I submitted it to a breastfeeeding calendar for consideration. I ummed and ahhhed for a long time - I didn't want the image to be out of my control (or that of those who I trust) and freely available, but it was a bea-utiful photo. I didn't want to let my fears overtake a wonderful opportunity for her.

What about daycare photos? They got individual shots and a group shot. The group shot included identifing information - Chub's first and surnames, her photo, and the name and photo of the centre that she attended, even which room she was in. Should I not have given permission for her to be in the photo? Like every parenting decision, it's a balance.

What about modelling? We said no to a modelling opportunity when Chubs was tiny, firstly because of the photo issue, and secondly because it was linked to modelling contracts with a modelling agency, and we weren't comfortable with agreeing to everything that they wanted, and the messages that we though that would send. However, another opportunity has come up. This time it is for a friend's business. I trust this friend, there is more control, there's less image/ modelling agency issues and I can't wait to see the cute photos that we will get of Chubs! I'm still not totally comfortable with her photos being available, but I don't think that it's worth missing the opportunity.

It's also important to remember that anyone can take photos of Chubs when we are out in public. I might not like it, but they can do it. Should I not let her go to birthday parties in case another parent snaps her in a pic with his child? Should I not take her to the park in case the same thing happens there? What about shopping centres? Yes, I worry about the privacy issues of her name potentially being linked with her address, date of birth or other identifing information. If someone was super computer savvy they could probably do this now; but someone could also follow us home from the shops, or steal my handbag, or break into the doctor's rooms and steal her file. Do these present a great risk?

So, what to do? I'm still not totally sure, but then a lot of parenting decisions are like that. I consented to daycare photos, I let other friends put up photos of her on Facebook and I said yes to the modelling for my friend's business. I will continue to keep Chubs off the blog and forums, since they are more public. I know it's not a perfect plan, but they rarely happen.

What about you? How do you approach photos of you child?


  1. I think it is getting harder and harder to censor images these days and whilst Facebook won't show certain images you don't want them to, they still have your photos in the system which is always a concern. I know my sister-in-law fought hard with the same issue with her kids and gave in, in the end due to daycare photos, which seemed unavoidable.

  2. Well it seems Instagram has rights to anyone's photos as of January 16, so don't be surprised if you find a photo of someone you know on promotional materials. As someone who works in the marketing and advertising industry and has to ask permission to use photos regularly, this is just wrong. I REALLY disagree with this. Please read more here and tell everyone you know on Instagram to save their photos and then delete their account before January 16!

    1. I saw this all over facebook and the news. I don't use instagram so I never really paidmuch attention, but it seemslike this is big and legit. Are you deleting yours?

  3. This is something I'm still struggling with.

    Really, really like your thoughts and reasonings. Thanks for sharing. :-)


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