I recently had, what in my experience, was a unique encounter. A young man, not a stranger though also not a close friend, politely asked my permission to take a photo of my daughter. I was initially taken back but decided to consent. I felt honored as the parent and in that instance I saw no harm in it.
My first born daughter is now 4 months old. Every day I feel like she just keeps getting more adorable. So it is no surprise to a proud dad like myself that people would want to take her photo. And that they would then take the natural step to share those photos on social media. This is the digital culture we live in today. One that shows no sign of slowing. But I have to ask the question, both to parents and the communities that surround our children, should this be the norm? Even as I write this I can't say I have come to a black & white, hard lined, stance as a parent. Maybe never will. Instead I simply wanted to bring the discussion out of my living room and into this online space.
As a parent I worry about how technology will impact my girl as she grows up (Also read Dear Internet, Please Be Kind To My Daughter). How will these hundreds, if not thousands, of images being taken of her effect her future; her view on privacy and more importantly, her self-image?
After having the above experience of being asked to have my daughter's photo taken I threw the question out on Facebook. What did people think about this? It conjured responses from many of my friends that are parents. Ones like;
It doesn't bother me.
It depends on the person.
All are absolutely valid responses. Made valid in the fact that they alone are the parents. It is their role to nurture and protect their children in the way they see fit. Though I don't think it is simply the responsibility of those taking the pictures to respond appropriately. I think we also have a responsibility as parents to communicate our expectations. I am still in the process of discovering these expectations though I think it is important for all parents to consider the following:
-Be Aware Of Who Is Taking Photos Of Your Children & What They Are Doing With Them.
-Consider The Impact & Reach The Images Can Have Online.
-Communicate Your Expectations To Those Around You.
I would love to hear from parents and those that make up the communities around them. What do you think about this? What do you expect?