Tuesday, 25 August 2009

blogging, photos and child protection

There was a bit of a discussion in the Cartside home about my posting of my niece's photo. And I thought it was a useful one, maybe one that every blogger should have.

As you may have noticed, I don't tend to post images that show Cubling's face and I also don't use her real name. Working for a children's charity which has child protection as one of its guiding principles, I'm well acquainted with how to protect identities using the internet for the protection of children. It's simple really:
a) you need parental consent to post a picture of a child. At work, that means written consent. I also always ask the child if they are happy for photos to be used (they are generally old enough to say)
b) If you post a picture of a child, you only identify her/him with first name and city, no other details, or to be super safe, use a fake first name.

So when it comes to Cubling and this blog, I'm more than following the guidelines. Parental consent can be implied, both hubby and I prefer not to show her face. I never use Cubling's real name. However, on Facebook, I post full face pictures and use her first name, making pictures visible to my friends only.

When I posted the photo of my niece, I did not seek parental consent before posting the photo on this blog. This is clearly wrong, so I've taken the photo down and try my best in future not to get carried away. Why did I do it in spite of knowing better? An urge to share with my readers the majority of whom I know, and because after all, she's a 2 day old baby on the photo which doesn't really mean she could be identified. The face is out of focus. The face is not fully shown, I consciously didn't pick the "best" photo. These are excuses of course. I should have sought parental consent first, and I didn't. I have no right to post her photo.

There is a more general issue here though: while it's up to each parent blogger to decide to post photos of their own child(ren) or not. However, there are plenty of photos out there in the blogosphere where children other than the blogger's own are shown. Somehow I doubt that the parents of the other children have given consent.

It's a tricky area, and of course nobody expects a blogger to be an expert on child protection. It's worth considering though so this is why I put this out for discussion. What are your views on posting photos of your child? And do you think it's ok to post a photo where other children are visible? Do you use real names or not?


Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

I post pics of my own children, but don't name them (they are the 5yr old and 3 yr old). I have some great pics of my kids on the beach semi-naked but would never post them.

I never post photos of my teenage stepdaughter, mainly because she is not my child to do so. I'm sure she wouldn't mind, she reads the blog so maybe sometime I will with her permission.

I use the same rule with other peoples children. I don't post photos or mention their names. If I wanted to I would ask permission first.

It's a difficult one, I suppose I have chosen to write my blog and involve my family, my friends haven't. The husband is happy for me to post pics of us and the kids, if he wasn't I would have to respect that.

Mwa said...

I don't post pictures of my children's faces on my blog, but then I don't post pictures of my own face on there, either. I do post our faces on my Facebook page, but I've set the settings to private. Friends only.

I did cut the face of a child I know out of one of my pictures a while back, so I don't put up pictures of other children's faces. However, when I take a picture in a public place and it shows random people or children I don't know, I never care about publishing that. You could have that in a newspaper as well.

I have been thinking, though - I'm not sure what I would do about it if I had a new baby myself. I'd probably not post a picture, but I would be very tempted. They change how they look every five seconds anyway.

whistlejacket said...

A tricky one this! I saw my new nephew at the weekend and got some lovely photos of my boys with their new cousin. I very almost posted a picture of them on my post yesterday because I was talking about them, but I also felt uncomfortable about it. The reason being that my blog is accessible to anyone and I want some control over who sees the pictures. I used to put up lots of pictures on Facebook (only accessible to friends) but now I have some vaguer friends on there I'm getting wary about that too.

It's interesting to read your clarification on the rules about posting pictures of children, I didn't know about those. And I have to say I love seeing pics of other people's children, I would love to plaster pics of mine everywhere!

Potty Mummy said...

I don't use photos because I have an agreement with my husband that I won't. And that's useful, because it's stopped me putting up pictures that are just so cute I wouldn't be able to resist otherwise. Seriously though, I think my take on this one is better safe than sorry. And in addition to which I also - at the back of my mind - think that my boys haven't given me permission and whilst they might not mind about it now, in years to come, who knows?

Noble Savage said...

I very rarely post a picture of my children and if I do, try to use ones where their faces are obscured. That's just my comfort level.

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

That's a very interesting topic. It is in a way joining my post on using the real name of my children on my blog http://www.perfectlyhappymum.com/perfectly_happy_mum/2009/06/am-i-a-bad-mummy-i-am-using-my-childrens-real-name-in-my-blog.html
That's the way it is for us and I am intending to remain respectful of my children and not divulge anything that could embarrass them in the future. Saying that my wordless wednesday today is E on his potty... :) I am still as confused on the subject and sometime can turn paranoiac so I keep going and trust Craig, my husband to keep on the right track :)

A Moder Mother said...

I do similiar to you.

cartside said...

Perfectly Happy Mum: I remember your post, but didn't remember that it was on your blog, otherwise would have linked to it when I wrote this, so thanks for the link!

Thanks for everyone's comments on this, really useful to read your take on this!

SandyCalico said...

Very interesting post.
I don't feel comfortable having photos of my boys on the internet anywhere. On my blog I only use shots where you can not see their faces. I can't put my finger on why this is the case. I suspect it is because once the photos are out there, they can be seen by anyone and I lose control.

clareybabble said...

I also use nicknames for my children and don't post photos of them (even though I'd love to, they're so cute!). I have a separate facebook page for blogging purposes and have posted a picture on there for certain people only. I think I over worry about it but it's what I feel comfortable with.



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