So I’m going to be a new father, and yes, that’s very exciting. This is news which has made me excited, nervous, happy and afraid. A whole mix of emotions and sometimes all at once. I’m very much into taking photos and I believe my child will be one of the most photographed children ever and that I will take photos of all their little and big moments. He/she nearly rolls over? Yep, gonna be all over that! He/she does their first wheelie on a bike? Yeah, I’ll be there! I’ll pretend to be somewhat annoyed, but I know I’ll be proud of them! However, I will not be sharing any of my photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine or any other social network you may think of or that crops up in the mean time. I know, seems a bit paranoid. Have a look at these for a moment:
Yeah, they’re funny. But think about the fact that most of those photos probably had their origin in their parents just taking a cute, innocent and perfectly timed photo of their beloved bundle of joy. The resulting photo was probably shared online and was then copied by someone who decided to add a humorous twist to it. It’s not so funny when it becomes a little more real. None of the kids in the photos decided to become a symbol for a cheap and lazy joke, but there they are, up there for all the world to laugh at.
The internet is a funny auld thing. It’s a great place to learn, grow your horizons and connect with people. It’s also pretty scary. Once you put something up there, it’s never coming down. That’s a fact! Yeah, you can delete it from your own account, but the image you uploaded stays uploaded and that’s that. So, you’re in effect releasing your child’s image for all to see. No matter how safe you think your account may be, it’s not. It never will be. You’re also forfeiting the ownership around your photo. I upload a lot of photos, but that’s OK, I’m not making money from them at the moment. But do you honestly think that any of the parents of the kids in the photos above chose for their child to become the poster kid for a crappy joke? No, probably not. Do you think that child will appreciate the photo in years to come? No, I would imagine not. Do you think it will be easy to have it deleted from the internet? No, it doesn’t really work that way.
When my kid grows up and becomes an adult they can do what they like, whether I like it or not, but I will not be ruining their image before they’ve had a chance to do it themselves! They make a mistake and someone snaps a photo of it? Yeah, it happens, and they’ll learn from it. They could definitely do without me exposing them to that world before they have a chance to defend themselves!
There’s another far scarier reason I won’t be putting pictures of my kid online. If you were in a playground with your child and a dubious character comes up to you and asks if they can use your child to help trick a group into thinking they have kids so they’ll trust them and let them in, would you? No, not a bloody chance! When something goes online it’s there for everyone who can access the internet to see and keep. Trust me, your privacy settings on anything are not as secure as you think. You put it online, you’re giving it to the world and there are a lot of sick people in the world. It’s creepy, yes that’s a given, but you will never know when your child’s image is being used without your knowledge and you will never know for what purpose.
Yes, I may be being too paranoid, but there are a lot of freaks online and offline. I will do my best to protect my child in the real world, but you are very limited in protecting anything online.
So yeah, I’ll be paranoid, I’ll be weird, I’ll be obsessive about it, but I’ll protect my child.