Pictures of your kids on the internet…..

This is a topic with more than a little controversy attached to it.

On one side you have the parents who, like I, post pictures and videos of their children, often identifying them by name and not doing anything to lock  down the info.  We do not perceive this as risky, inappropriate or dangerous.

On the other side are the parents who are very concerned about strangers being able to identify their child by name and pictures.  There are certainly enough people telling them they should be scared-Facebook has an application that tells you how many sex offenders live in your zip code, and the media makes a huge deal out of the “risks” associated with publicly posting images of your children online.  Now, that app doesn’t tell you how many of the “sex offenders” are actual pedophiles as opposed to say an 18 year old senior in high school who sent a picture of penis to a 15 year old friend, or someone who had to register because they were busted soliciting sex from an adult prostitute.  Hell–until a year ago in MA, I could have been arrested and forced to register as a level 1 sex offender for publicly breastfeeding as it was not exempted from indecent exposure laws here.

A third side is that it’s the child’s image and they didn’t have a say in putting it online.  Do you want their future employers capable of finding a picture of them at the aquarium when they were 3?

I think it’s the second argument that bothers me most because it’s part of that larger culture of fear surrounding parenting that I just find exhausting.  I do think that there are a lot of things worth being afraid of, but assuming that every stranger (and let’s face it, the argument is really that it’s every strange MALE)  has disturbing or sexual intentions towards her would rob Elanor of meeting a lot of cool people.  Everyone is a stranger initially, and most people have good intentions.  Teaching kids to be afraid of everyone (or every male) only creates timid children.  The best skills I ever learned were how to talk to strangers wisely, and how to evaluate a person.  You can’t develop instincts about people unless you actually meet them.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned about people…they’re lazy.  You really think there’s someone who has that kind of time an energy to find your facebook profile (assuming you haven’t friends locked it) or youtube channel just to watch your 8 month old drool out applesauce.  While I find my child that interesting, I doubt anyone else does.

So when I encounter someone who has those beliefs (hide teh pictures…teh interwebs are full of pedophiles just seekin out ma baybeeeeez), I’ll respect them (as in I won’t post pictures of Elanor with their kid), but privately I roll my eyes.

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2 Responses to Pictures of your kids on the internet…..

  1. Sam Caldwell says:

    I can appreciate people’s fears. However, the facts differ from “media-reality.” The world is not a CSI episode.

    (1) According the the national center for missing and exploited children, the majority of child abductions are a family member or someone the child knows.

    (2) According to US Dept. of Justice statistics, only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returne to prison for a new sex crime. This statistic seems pretty consistent for the general category of all sex offenders before the 1994 period and since. While there are specific groups of sex offenders who are legally defined as “predators,” and who represent a significant danger, this is not reflected in currrent sex offender registries–where politics has defined risk level rather than objective science.

    (3) According to the California Attorney General’s office, “90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender.” (Citing “Facts About Sex Offenders,”

    (4) As a person who remembers once being a geeky, shy kid I would fear my parents posting my childhood pictures more because I would NEVER want a co-worker seeing some of my more embarrassing moments.

  2. Larissa says:

    I tend to agree, mostly, and I think most parents do. I have many kids posted on my site and blog (though no names or locations), and most parents haven’t had a problem with that. For those that do, I don’t take photos.

    As far as future employers, if it’s really just a shot of a 3-year-old at the aquarium, I’d think it can only leave a good impression. To me that shows a good parental involvement in the child’s life and practical education for the child at an early age. What’s bad about that?

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