Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

7 Reasons to Share Your Child's Picture Online


 
            I'm an author, blogger, and mom of probably the most photogenic almost three year old to walk the planet. As a proud mama, I share pictures of him--a lot.
            I cannot tell you how many snotty emails I have gotten from other authors or bloggers telling me that they refuse to collaborate with me because I share pictures of my kid online. They all unequivocally tell me that sharing my child's picture online is extremely unsafe and will result in imminent harm for my child.
            Now I'm a paranoid mom. If my son is out of a direct line of eyesight, this is what our conversation looks like.
            "Hey Joe-Joe are you still alive over there."
            "Yes, Mama."
            Twenty-five seconds later. "Still alive over there, Joe-Joe?"
            "Yes, Mama." Repeat.
            As a mental health counselor who counseled sex offenders, I'm paranoid about sexual molestation. From the age of 12 months up, I taught Joe-Joe the anatomically correct names for genitalia and to scream "No" if someone touched him there.
            We also monthly role-play, "What to do if a kidnapper grabs you." By the way, Joe-Joe delivers a mean punch to the eye.
            But despite all these precautions, I share Joe-Joe's pictures online freely. Why? I believe that sharing Joe-Joe's picture online  makes him more safe and this is why.
 
1. Sharing pictures online means you have pictures
            If a child is ever kidnapped, the first thing that goes out is an Amber Alert complete with a picture. All child safety protocols talk about the importance of having a current picture readily accessible. I have pictures.
 
2. Sharing pictures online means people see them
            If Joe-Joe was ever kidnapped, I would have a leg up on other parents who are more private with their children's pictures. My thousands of followers already recognize Joe-Joe. So when the Amber Alert flashes across their TV screen, they won't have to struggle to remember the photo in the image. If they see Joe-Joe being dragged across the parking lot by a kidnapper, they will instantly recognize him and intervene.
 
3. Sharing pictures online increases Amber Alert reach
            In the event that a child is kidnapped, an Amber Alert goes out across TV, phones, newspapers etc. If Joe-Joe was kidnapped, I would also send out an alert through my Facebook author page, Twitter, Pinterest, blog, and website. That means more people would instantly be engaged in finding Joe-Joe.
 
4. Sharing pictures online invests good people in your child's future
            I write blogposts and Facebook statuses about Joe-Joe's antics. People who have never met him, fall in love with him. We always talk about the pedophiles finding your child's picture online. But there are good people finding Joe-Joe's picture online. If he was ever kidnapped, these good people would instantly start sharing the Amber Alert with all their friends, greatly increasing the probability of Joe-Joe being found quickly.
 
5. Stealing your child's picture online, who cares
            One thing that does happen when you share your child's picture online is other sites can steal your picture. Some moms get extremely upset when their baby's picture is stolen by say a Dawn soap commercial. This may happen. But honestly, I don't care. When a random cleaning product steals your picture, they won't release any details about where your child lives or their name or age. And my child is adorable. If Dawn thinks so too, whatever.
 
6. Sharing pictures online can scare predators
            Last year, I read a testimony of several convicted child predators. They said that within minutes of watching a family, they could determine whether that child's parents were vigilant enough to detect child molestation. The sex offenders would then select the children who did not have vigilant parents.
            When posting Joe-Joe's picture, I mention things like teaching him self-defense. Within five minutes of reading my page, a predator will decide that Joe-Joe would not be an easy target and move on.
 
7. Sharing pictures online is exactly what an Amber Alert does
            If it's so unsafe to share your child's picture online, why does an Amber Alert do exactly that? An Amber Alert spreads a child's picture across cyberspace. If this is so unsafe, then we would expect multiple re-kidnappings in the wake of an Amber Alert.
            Oh look, 4 year old Suzie was recovered within 12 hours thanks to an Amber Alert. But now pedophiles across the country have access to her photo so she is sure to be kidnapped again within the next month.
            But that's not how the story goes. After a child is safely recovered, their internet fame makes them more difficult to kidnap because people already know their image.
 
            All that to say, I'm going to keep sharing my kiddo's picture online. If that makes you no longer want to be my friend, ah well. I'll go look at online pictures of my adorable toddler and get over it. ;)
 
      Share your thoughts. Do you think it's safe to share a child's picture online? Comment below.

16 comments:

  1. As a blogger that shares ALOT of pictures of my 5 kiddos on my blog and social media, you brought up points I never thought about before so now I feel even better about online pics of my kids :) I have started to watermark my blog pics using PicMonkey in case my pics are "stolen" or better yet, go Viral!!! :) I found this post interesting and I feel a lot more relieved at sharing my kids pics in cyberspace (responsibly, of course) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you watermark pictures? I've been reading about that. (Would be totally awesome for a pic to go viral! :)) And I'm glad my post was reassuring. :)

      Delete
  2. Good thoughts! I'm always astounded when I hear the reasons people decide to disown/refuse to work with/chew out other people. I try to strip geotags from pictures when I upload them, and avoid live-posting where I am at a given moment (no one needs to know when my house is empty) but see nothing wrong with routinely posting pictures of oneself or one's children on the internet. There are many protections in that transparency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stripping geotags, hmm, I wish I knew how to do that. I always turn off location services so hopefully that eliminates geotags? Though you know if you're a home owner the address of the house you bought is in the public record. So simply a google search away.
      Ah well, buying stronger locks. :)

      Delete
  3. I had never really thought about the risks of sharing your child's pictures online - but could see where it might be an issue. BUT, your post and your 7 reasons are great and to the point! What better way to have his picture plastered all over the cyberspace, IF anything like that were to happen. Thank you for sharing this information...and he IS precious!!! I LOVE sharing pictures of my grandchildren!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for reading! How many grandchildren do you have? They're lucky to have such a proud grandma. :)

      Delete
  4. I love it! I've always shared my family's pictures on my blog and never understood why people thought it was dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I understand why it can be dangerous - especially via background locations - street names, house numbers and schools in particular. However if you're smart about it (which obviously from the post you are) there should be no problem. And of course, watermarking your photos is great.
    I was recently reading an article from this lady all upset this site (completely innocent) used a close-up of her kids face. The picture was adorable - it was black and white, and the kid was crying. Way too cute. If you really DONT want your kids pictures on the Internet, DONT post their pics online!! Hearing about parents who get upset about that is so dumb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points! I think I may have read that article. The crying baby one? I always black out the street address and try to take photos in non-descript locations (like in front of a blank wall, rather than with a street view through the window). But I'm not perfect.

      Delete
  6. As a blogger I too share TONS of photos of my kids. These are some great points :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you liked my article. :) Do you ever get emails from people telling you to stop posting your kids' pictures on your blog? I was surprised when I started getting those emails.

      Delete
  7. I share photos of my grandsugars online - including the four I've reared for almost twelve years now. I have a testimony about being the world's biggest fraidy cat then getting absolutely delivered from a spirit of fear. God didn't give me that. He gives a sound mind and power to stop any enemy. Scripture says 365 time - one time for every day of the year - some form of Do NOT Fear! Fear not! Be not afraid! I refuse to live my life always thinking the worst and worrying (which truly is an insult to God) and being afraid. Christ came that I could have life, and have it more abundantly! Joe-Joe is so adorable! I'm glad you share his picture! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww . . . how many grandchildren do you have? You must have gotten very close over those 12 years. When my husband was deployed, "Joe-Joe" and I lived with my parents for a year and that was a very special grandparent bonding experience.
      I LOVE those 365 "Do Not Fear" verses! Did you ever sign up for the email alerts of them where they deliver one a day into your inbox? I did this year and it's been such a blessing.

      Delete
  8. Let me know if my post isn't just off being approved :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry it me a while to approve the comment. We were at foster care licensing meeting all night. Just finished our last class. Whoohoo! :)

      Delete