Apr 13, 2017

To Share or Not to Share?

I'm sure you've all noticed my remarkable self restraint and the lack of baby pictures.  No?  Just me?

Well, I have noticed and I am very proud of myself.  It was actually on my list of things to figure out before baby arrived.  "Discuss Internet privacy with Ryan."  And then we didn't.  And then I felt like if we hadn't bothered to make time for it we obviously didn't care and I had a free pass to post whatever I wanted!

But after my first baby post, Ryan gently said, "Hey... maybe we shouldn't share Orion's pictures where the whole Internet can see them."  And I reluctantly agreed.  But why?

I think when we first made this decision, we just had a vague sense that it's safer somehow.  We actually do have a private Facebook group where just family and close friends can see what we post (which is ironic because we should only be "friends" with family and friends, but with all the networking I've been doing lately I have a lot of people who I just don't know that well).

So I guess I'm glad that I don't have to worry about the pictures floating around in Google image search or some weirdo running across them on my blog and using them for whatever gross purpose.  But I also realized that, outside of the unlikely event that some pervert would find my blog/various social media accounts/etc and enjoy baby photos in a way I don't want them to be used, there's other things that can happen too.

Do you guys remember when Helene's photo was used by some right-wing Facebook group to make fun of "bleeding heart liberals"?  She asked for people's help in reporting it to Facebook to get it taken down since it was literally a photo of her and the group didn't have the rights to it.  I thought for sure Facebook would help her out since stealing her image is a copyright violation, and I sent in a report to try to help.

Their response?  Basically fuck you.

Did not care one bit.  It wasn't sexually explicit or offensive to a religious group (funny story about that - see at the bottom), so it wasn't worth doing anything about.  The theft was not their problem.

So yeah.  To me that seems far more likely, with the sheer number of people who think it's ok to just grab images off Google and use them for their own projects and I don't want Orion's image to be used for that either, even if it's less revolting than my first example.

That's one side of the coin.  The other is that, even if no one outside of family uses his photos for anything, as Orion gets older we might realize that we're using his photos in ways he doesn't want.

My mom was telling me just the other day that one of her Facebook friends posted a video of her kid pooping.  Potty training - ok, it might be cute or funny or whatever, but when your child is 15 that video is still going to exist on the Internet (nothing goes away on the Internet - just ask all the celebrities who have had photos leaked or tried to get images removed.  It's impossible) and, if someone was really determined, could be found and watched and used to make fun of your child later on.

We all know cyber bullying is becoming a huge problem and I doubt that's going to go away in the future (kind of like Facebook - I think Facebook is the most timeless of all the social media sites simply because it's the most widely adopted).  Again, if my Facebook was locked down tight, I wouldn't have to worry about it.  But it's not, and who knows how far technology will have gone in 15 years.  Will I still be tech savvy enough to keep my accounts from being phished?  I hope so, but I'm not going to make any plans based on it.

The bottom line is that, even if none of this stuff happened, we want Orion to have some amount of control over his own image.  If I throw photos around the Internet like glitter on New Year's Eve, then by the time he's old enough to express an opinion, it's too late.  Nothing can be done.

But if I set up a specific outlet for sharing - one private Facebook group - then I know who's viewing AND if 12-year-old Orion says, "No, I don't want those photos available for anyone to see.  Screw you, Grandma!" I can delete the group and all the photos with it (after giving him a talking to about his potty-mouth, of course).

So that's our reasoning!  I'd be curious to know how other people feel about sharing or not sharing.  (And I absolutely don't want to shame anyone who does share - when it comes to my own image I've always felt that anonymity is safety enough.  Basically in the deluge of photos from the millions of people on our Earth, who is going to care about yours specifically?)

How do you approach Internet privacy?  Would you/do you treat your child's images and privacy differently than your own?

Oh!  And my story.  So my friend is an artist (she makes gorgeous shadowboxes) and she was putting together a Facebook page for her art using her name, which is Deanna Zions.  Facebook kept telling her she couldn't use that page name/url because it was inappropriate.  We must have checked a dozen times trying to make sure she didn't spell something weird and trying to see where a bad word could possible be.

Have you figured it out yet?  The url would have been facebook.com/deanNAZIonsart.

After we figured it out, and I laughed my ass off, she changed it to be www.facebook.com/dzionsart (which you should check out because she's awesome or her website www.deannazionsart.com because I designed it).

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  1. I don't have kids yet, but have a feeling I'll be the same way for most of the reasons you mentioned. I don't really like putting pictures of anyone in my family (or myself even) on the internet, because you never know where they might end up!

  2. So, as usual with your posts, I didn't realize I had a lot of thoughts on this until reading. Here goes. One, I think it's hard to say for our generation and for people like us—we blog, so obviously we're not of the camp that believes the internet is a bad, scary, awful place where only bad people lurk. And seeing as we both met our SOs and friends on the internet, it's clear we trust it to an extent. But we also see the rest of the internet, or parts of it, even if we don't participate in it, and we know it's not always good and pure. As obscure as we are in the grand scheme of things, all you have to do is look at Buzzfeed or your example of Helene to see that people just straight-up take other people's images and text for their own amusement and memes. And for me, the first thought that jumps out is, "That's stealing. It's mine, not theirs, and they are not entitled to use it without asking. Period."

    Then there's the perversion issue, which I have to admit I worry about only when I'm reminded of it, probably because I don't have kids and thankfully have never had a first-hand experience with this. But the threat is there, and it's disturbing, but I also kind of think that it's hard to protect every one from every thing.

    I despise when parents post intimate photos and videos like potty training or bath time on the internet. I get it that it's cute, but you can take a video and then...just keep it on your phone. Your child's development is not your accomplishment to broadcast all over the internet. Write a post congratulating baby Timmy for using the potty, I guess, but that image is of him and it is despicable that some parents don't realize what kind of humiliation they're setting their children up for, potentially. I think a lot of that is probably because (in my observation; I may be wrong) it's the Gen X crowd at the helm, who got the internet in their young adulthood and who know how to use it, but aren't so immersed in it that they understand really how it works -- how none of what you post can really be exclusively "yours" anymore, how you have no rights to anything you put on Facebook, and what people might do with that stuff. Oh, and how it will never go away, even if you delete it.

    Anyway, I think your baby is the stupid cutest and I always want to see pictures of him, but I totally respect and love that you're giving him the right to choose, when he's able to understand (somewhat) the repercussions of those choices, how much and how he wants his image to appear on the internet. Hell, even as an adult myself I've gone through different iterations to internet transparency/findability. There's definitely no one right answer, but I think when it comes to things like your baby on the toilet, there's a pretty clear preference and I'm sure said baby as a teenager would agree.

  3. I rarely post pics of my baby, even on my FB where I know everyone. My husband has many more "acquaintances" than I do (versus actual friends), and I dislike it...but we've agreed to it. I don't post on my blog though- I think I did one generic baby shot when she was born and that's it. Completely agree with you about the right of a person to tell their own story, and I don't want to take too much of that away.

  4. It's kind of funny that this isn't something our parents EVER had to worry about...
    I'd agree that you're making the right call with Orion's photos. It always makes me feel weird to see pictures of friends' kids in their underwear or in the bath plastered all over the internet. First of all, they may not appreciate that when they're 15. Secondly, what if some felonious creep got a hold of that? *shudder*
    We don't have children, but I like to think that when we do we won't be posting their face on the FB 16 times a day.

  5. I asked my kids before I started posting any pictures of them on the blog. I have a friend that has a fb account where it is written as if her child is talking. it basically reads how he is a horrible out of control kid and the parents don't know what to do. It makes me feel sad for the kids when he is old enough to read them.

  6. For me, I don't have kids. I have stepkids. One is over 18. Before I ever posted any picture of the under 18 stepkid, I got permission from both his parents. That was important to me.
    I think one of the most important responsibilities of a parent is making appropriate decisions for kids until they are at an age and level of responsibility to make a decision for themselves. You, as parents, have worked out this particular decision for yourselves and your child and others should respect it. That being said, I don't have a problem with those to choose to share either.

  7. so, i don't have kids, but i have thought about this. i think i will share some photos, but i have self imposed guidelines in my head. and definitely not when they are a 'child'. i feel like baby/toddler is okay - not okay okay because there are still creeps, but as in, when they are a child like school age, they start looking like who they are going to be. a baby on the internet could be anyone. i was born with black hair, i do not have black hair now. you know? and also, i know a few bloggers who are so big and the parents of other kids at school know them and that is just so weird to me. i share pictures of myself online and i hope they are never stolen or whatever, but i guess there isn't much you can do about that. i had a girl come up to me at the grocery store and told me she read my blog and honestly it freaked me the hell out. she was really nice and all, but it made me feel really vulnerable! i don't do well with strangers haha. i mean i know we put our stuff on the internet, but it feels safe. i know it's not, but it doesn't feel scary.
    people who post pictures or videos of their kids on the toilet deserve to have their phones taken from them. that is just weird.

    all this being said? i have baby fever hardcore and so i love seeing other peoples kids. i'm not a creep, babies are just super cute. toddlers too. so i don't mind when other people share, but i feel uncomfortable when they are over a certain age. like i shouldn't know these things about another person who has no control over sharing them - even if that person is only 5 or 6.

  8. I post pics of Kayla up on my blog but I don't really post much about our interactions or parenting advice etc because no one cares about that stuff but me.


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