As a photographer, I'm constantly taking photos.
As a dad, my kids have grown up with a camera pointed at them their entire lives.
We lived in Virginia when my son was born and sharing photos with our family and friends was not as easy as it is today. I still remember the first time I heard of Flickr and instantly signed up for an account.
Since then, it has been the place I publish almost all of my photos and certainly the number one place photos of the kids end up.
As a parent you need to be protective of photos you post online of your family. There are no rules, but it your responsibility to determine what is right for you and your family.
My personal rules have always been:
- No "tubby time" photos or anything involving nudity. While my family would have loved to see more of these, I knew that there are sick people in the world and there was no need to give them anything they might like. Sure, I took plenty of these photos, but they were shared offline or in private areas.
- Licensing set to All Rights Reserved so that no brand or anyone else can use the photo. This gives me the power to sue anyone who uses a photo without my permission and as someone who sells my photographs I always make sure that proper licensing is set.
- Investigating anyone who favorites a photo of my kids and I don't know them. Every so often I'd get a name I didn't recognize favorite a photo of one of my kids. In each case, I'd click through to see what other photos they are favoriting. It is amazing what you can assume about someone based on the photos they favorite. In most cases, I would end up blocking them so that they could no longer see any of my photos. In a few cases where the favorites worried me, I reported them to Flickr.
Until this week, those had all served me well.
But, then my son brought up the fact that one of his friends was having fun going through all the photos of him online. He mentioned off hand that he wished I hadn't posted so many photos of him over the years.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that unlike when I was growing up and the worse I had to worry about was my family breaking out the family photo album when I had a serious girlfriend or at holidays. But, here I had created a family photo album online that anyone could view.
I realized that I had the power to easily fix this and thank you Flickr for making it so easy to go in and batch edit my photos. I simply searched for each of my kids names and then changed their old photos to be only visible to people I've flagged as "Friends or Family."
The old photos are really there as an archive and backup for me. No one else needs them so this was an easy decision.
But, I wanted to share this story with you because it wasn't something I had really thought about. I knew I changed my writing about the kids as they got older, but somehow completely forgot about their online image.
Today might be the perfect day to look at your approach to posting photos of your children and thinking long term about how that might change.
Disclaimer: As a member of the #VZWBuzz team, I write about technology on a monthly basis. I get access to new gadgets and technology from time to time, but all thoughts and words are my own.