Where do you draw the line between sharing images capturing innocent kids having fun and overstepping the mark and violating their privacy?
In this day and age when social media is used to update everyone on every aspect of your life, people often take the liberty of taking photos of kids and posting them on the World Wide Web, without a second thought. Unfortunately, prowling through that same media are people whose actions are not very honourable.
I recently heard about a lady who took it upon herself to go into her child’s classroom and take photos of the whole class. Without gaining any parent’s permission, this professional photographer then published the photos as a photo book and put links up to every photo on her website and social media in a blatant attempt to make money. Not only did she exploit the trust of parents by taking the photos in the first place but she did it in an obvious attempt to promote her business and profit from this exploitation. She did not password protect the photos and put the photos in the public arena with an explanation of which school the kids attended
On every level what this lady did was unethical, but more worryingly is the fact that she did not take any safeguards to protect the privacy of these children. She instead handed out enough information to make tracking down these kids an easy task! A number of parents of children in that class don’t have social media accounts, as they are weary of giving away their personal information. Such an intrusion sent shockwaves through the school community and sparked a debate over when it is ok to show photos of kids.
The general consensus seems that you should always in the first instance gain approval from parents before uploading photos of their kids and should always check your privacy settings to ensure that only the intended recipients can see the images.
My daughter just attended a birthday party where photos of the group were taken. The mother specifically emailed all the parents to gain their approval to use the photos and asked whether the lady hosting the party could use the photos to promote her business. I was happy to oblige with letting her use the photos and was grateful that she sort out approval before doing so.
This post is a timely reminder to check your privacy settings on social media and ensure that before you post an image of any child (be it at a party, school event, in the sporting arena or in a personal environment) that the child’s parents agree to these photos being used.
(Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images, freedigitalphotos.net)