Jump to content

Our children's right to privacy. Where do you draw the line?


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 AmityD

Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:27 PM

A pregnant performance artist is going to give birth live on stage later his month, as part of a work about childbirth. Marni Kotak will spend the rest of her pregnancy at the Microscope gallery in New York, until the baby arrives in a public display of ‘art’ titled ‘The Birth of Baby X.’

Wow, brave woman. As much as I wouldn’t have cared if all of New York had walked through the ward in the final pushing stages of my labours, I can’t imagine being too thrilled about being on display in those earlier, still coherent but not overly presentable, moments. But, each to their own. If Ms Kotak wants to make a public performance of her baby’s birth it should be her right, shouldn’t it?  

At least that’s what I thought until I started to read the online comments to the story, where many questioned what rights her baby has, if any, of it’s first moments in the world being publically broadcast.  Which got me thinking about our children’s rights to privacy in general and where each of us draw the line.

With the rise of ‘Mummy bloggers,’ Twitter and Facebook we are all sharing stories and pictures of our offspring more than ever. On hugely popular sites such as Dooce.com mothers write about the daily lives of their children, complete with photos, to an audience who lap it up, engaging with their stories and forming an emotional attachment to children they have never met. And closer to home many members on Essential Baby regularly write about the experiences of their children through their comments, photos and blogs.

As, of course, do I. My life has been a fairly open book to my followers on Essential Baby over the last four years, as have many of my children’s first experiences. However, over the years I have changed the way I write about them somewhat, when I became conscious that perhaps one day they wouldn’t want everything they did as babies to be shared with the world. But then, if I ever get too concerned about that I remind myself that they will be two of billions of other people who have had their whole lives documented since birth, so they’ll all be in the same basket!  

From photos of pregnant bellies and ultra sound scans, to the first happy snaps of a screaming baby entering the world, we naturally love to share the joy of parenthood with those around us. But for all those parents who love to show off photos of their kids, there are plenty who are far more wary and pedantically guard their children’s privacy, refusing to have any photos of them online at all.

I sit somewhere in the middle. Clearly I write about my kids on EB and I have done many public photo shoots with them throughout their lives. But I also mostly keep my online pictures of them to my personal Facebook site, rather than my public one, and I try not to write about things I think they would one day have an issue with. Me writing about their refusal to sleep through the night, or throwing a ripper toddler tantrum won’t exactly make them special or unique amongst their peers in future years, so I think I’ll be ok.

And as far as MY experiences of motherhood and pregnancy go, well they are my stories to share and I will continue to be as honest and authentic about them as I can be. I believe one of the best things to come out of the new online world is the knowledge that we all go through the same struggles and joys as each other. And experiences shared make for a less daunting and isolating time for all of us.

I also don’t want to let the fear of the lurking predator impact on everything I do. I was at my nieces netball game recently, where my father in law was told he was not allowed to take photos of the game in an attempt to protect the children’s privacy. That makes me incredibly sad, and angry. What has the world come to when a proud grandfather can’t take a photo at a public sporting game?

The dangers are ever present, no doubt. And we do need to protect our children, but for each of us that means a different thing. So for those of you out there, where do you draw the line? Do you write about and post photos of your kids or keep their stories and images off the net all together? And what do you think our children will make of their online lives being so well documented in the future? Or will they be so busy trashing their own reputations with Facebook updates of teenage misadventures that a few embarrassing baby photos will be the least of their worries?!




#2 joy07

Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

I enjoy your articles Amity.  Good questions.  We do not share photos of our children anywhere on the internet. This might change a little soon.

I think they probably will be caught up in their own internet worlds, but I think we need to be a bit careful that you can't just google their name and up pops many images or writings about them.

We do not give our real names these days and haven't for many years. We don't want search engines picking them up.

It really is kind of like a history journal that we are all creating on the internet, isn't it. Instead of in photo albums or with the hand written words in journals or letters.



#3 flakyfish

Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:24 AM

I try not to post anything about my child online. My husband and i believe that once something is posted on facebook or a public forum, that information is essentially available to anyone, and we're not comfortable with that.

When i gave birth, we did not post anything on facebook, we told everyone by SMS or phonecall. I only shared photos with people via email or sms and asked people not to post them on facebook.

Perhaps we're over cautious, but i think it's better to be safe than sorry. It should be my son's choice when he is older as to what information is publicly available about him. The only information about him on the internet is his first name and date of birth, and even those are on restricted access pages.

On the other side of the coin, i do enjoy reading about other people's children and what they are going through (I love 'parenting with crappy pictures!') and i think it has a valuable role to play in increasing awareness and educating new parents.

I agree it's a hard line to balance, and we have probably chosen an overly strict (i.e. paranoid!) approach. However, we have the choice to relax our stance in the future, whereas people who have started out sharing everything will probably find it harder to change or undo it.



#4 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:29 AM

I don't post anything online that I would think DS would ever be embarrassed/ashamed about. So there's pictures of him on Facebook (with privacy restrictions) but no bath photos, etc.

I'm not a believer in posting pics of every minute online anyway.



#5 matt1972

Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:32 AM

Funny how after 2 days there hasn't been a single comment in here from anyone with a sig that contains photos of their kids.

#6 missgeorgina

Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:33 AM

I don't really see the issue about posting pictures of your children.  Why wouldn't you want to post photos of your child on FB or the web?



#7 RedBob

Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:34 AM

I draw the line at anything which could conceivably be posted on STFU Parents  laugh.gif

I put photos of DD on FB but not that often.  And when I do, I make sure they're cute and clothed. No nudity, nothing she'd be embarrassed about in the future. She'd better not be embarrased about that Clash hoodie, anyway!

On FB I also use a version of my name that is not in common usage, which seperates me online from me IRL. When DD  is older, I'll recommend she does the same.

#8 Taffabella

Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:33 AM

I refuse to post photos of my DD online and although my hubby doesn't agree with me, he has not posted any photos of her either.

Whilst there are no photos of DD up online, I will occasionally write about her progress in my FB status update (oh "DD" just woke up with two teeth, that's a total of 4 now) - the kind of things I would like to remember but she would not necessarily be fussed over when she gets older.

#9 flakyfish

Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:31 PM

QUOTE (missgeorgina @ 20/10/2011, 11:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't really see the issue about posting pictures of your children.  Why wouldn't you want to post photos of your child on FB or the web?


Well, one reason we don't do it is that i don't post photos of anyone without their permission, as i think it's kind of rude to do so. When he's old enough to give permission (and understand the consequences of doing so), then it might be different.

Another reason, specific to FB, is that anything you post to FB can then be used by them.

(From FB terms and conditions - For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it)

I just don't have enough confidence in FB (or any online site really) that my private information will remain private, so i strictly limit what i put on there.

As i said, we're probably on the extreme end of things, but it's just not something i am comfortable doing at this stage.


#10 opethmum

Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:42 PM

I am adamant that no photos of my daughter are shown on facebook unless I have specifically vetted them. I only have three up there and that is a photo of her as a newborn.
If she is in the background of any photos then I do not mind but I ask people to not tag her or make any reference to her presence at an event. I am not ashamed of my daughter but I think she has a right to privacy online. She has a right to dignity and respect and I am protecting her online reputation and I will guide and instruct her to have a positive reputation on the internet.

#11 limequarter

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:44 PM

QUOTE (opethmum @ 20/10/2011, 02:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If she is in the background of any photos then I do not mind but I ask people to not tag her or make any reference to her presence at an event.


Thanks PP for this. We don't put photos of our DD online either, but I've never been sure how to go about restricting other people putting up photos from events. I hardly want to keep DD out of the group photos, because we want her to feel a part of our extended family!

It seems fair enough that you say that photos with a baby in the background are not a big deal. I suppose in the end we don't want her to be searched for by her name, with tags and so forth.

Edited by aleithaki, 20 October 2011 - 05:46 PM.


#12 jessjess

Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:42 PM

I regularly update photos of my DS on FB. I have the strictest privacy settings, and only post photos that I feel are appropriate. I do feel we need to be cautious users of such social media and I get concerned by the younger users adding everyone and anyone as 'friends'. I also think it's a brilliant way to stay connected with family/friends living interstate/overseas and avoiding isolation. I think it's a balancing act.
On another note mentioned by Amity, my dad came to video my sister and I do our grading for kickboxing. It was a ladies class, but I was mortified for him when he was asked to leave in an obviously suspicious manner. It's a tough balancing act I think.

#13 Vulli

Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:11 AM

A friend on Fb has never shown her bub in photos and bub is about two now.

When my partner and I have kids Im pretty sure I wont post photos of them on the net, will mention them but yeah no pics original.gif

#14 Guest_Lois Griffin_*

Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:22 AM

I'm cautious about putting my kids pictures online. DH has Facebook but I don't and he is very careful with what photos he puts up.

In saying that though I love looking at the sigs here on eb.

#15 jellybean809

Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

I don't have Facebook page and don't post pictures of me or my kids online.  It really annoys me when others do.

My DDs godmother posted heaps of photos of DDs Christening and I had no idea. She was surprised when I politely pointed put that I'm not on Facebook for a reason and could she take them down.

I value my privacy.  Not sure why I'm so hung up about it, but I am!

#16 limequarter

Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:32 AM

If I wasn't on Facebook at all, I'd be scared that people would put up photos without my knowledge.

The fact that I am on Facebook means I can police everything! It's also pretty obvious to people that we won't put photos of our baby up (because there's a very distinctive lack of photos). So they are getting the message not to put photos up themselves.

#17 Mummy Duck

Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:39 AM

What a great thread!

I agree no photos of my kids on open forums like this one.  I often look at sigs and think its unfair to show photos, names and ages. Especially with some of the content of the posts!!

I do have pics on my fb but that is with the tightest privacy settings so they are only available to my family/friends.

My 13yo son would be very miffed if I photos of him on a forum like this.




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

Why I breastfed my son until he was three

The fact that I not only breastfed my son, but breastfed him for three and a half years, seems pretty incredible in retrospect.

Do babies and young children see ghosts?

Do babies and young children see ghosts? If you’ve pondered the question, you’re not alone.

15 years with Essential Baby: meet Therese

"Life has a funny way of giving you what you need when you need it the most."

Mum causes a stir by taking a stand against leggings

A mum has found herself the subject of debate after claiming tight bottoms cause lustful thoughts in men.

Don't set a parenting goal for 2015 - do this instead

The problem with goal setting as a parent is the measure. How do we really know if we’re succeeding?

5 pregnancy myths that just won't go away

When you're expecting, it often seems like everyone is keen to offer advice about what you should and shouldn't do in the interests of your health and wellbeing.

RPA hospital contacting mums after discovering vaccine storage fault

Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) is trying to contact women who had babies at the facility after discovering a fault in a refrigerator containing vaccines.

'Nutella' not a baby name, French court says

A French court has blocked parents from naming their baby girl after the hazelnut spread Nutella, arguing it would make her the target of mockery.

Why I'm never calling myself 'just a mum' again

I’ve grown three human beings. I feed them, dress them, teach them, care for them and love them 24 hours a day. Yet for eight years, when I meet new people and they’ve asked me what I do, I tell them: “I’m just a mum”.

Rosie Batty named 2015 Australian of the Year

One year ago, Rosie Batty could not have imagined she'd be where she is. Tonight the grieving mum who put domestic violence on the national agenda was named Australian of the Year.

Five reasons to hug more

Hugging – some of us thrive on it, even depend on it – and then there are those who don't care for it really. So, are they missing out?

Help - my three-year-old has started throwing tantrums

My daughter never went through the "terrible twos" but began throwing wild tantrums shortly after her third birthday.

That's commitment

First peek at Sonia Kruger's daughter Maggie

"She smells so good, I could eat her," Kruger tells co-host David Campbell.

Mum assists in own caesarean surgery

A mum who partly delivered her own twins during a caesarean has encouraged other women to take control of their birthing experience.

How to handle common childhood regressions

Regression can be a natural and common part of development prompted by a variety of factors, but that doesn't make it less frustrating.

Disgruntled dad's pram ad goes viral

When buying a second hand pram, there are lots of things to take into consideration. 

Man discovers he's a dad after finding 55-year-old letter

Discovering you are about to father a baby is startling enough - never mind finding out you have a 61-year-old son.

15 thoughts mums have during a tantrum

Ranging from mild to feral and triggered by events both minor and major, tantrums certainly keep life interesting.

Natural pain relief in the early stages of labour

While managing labour pains on your own can be daunting, there are a number of natural pain relief options to help you cope until you are admitted to hospital.

Win an Octonauts prize pack

To celebrate the launch of Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield, a spectacular underwater adventure live on stage, we are giving away an amazing Octonauts prize pack to one lucky fan.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Forgotten Baby Syndrome claims the life of toddler

One baby dies every eight days in the back of a car in the US, victims of 'forgotten baby syndrome'.

For a brief time, I was touched by an angel

For a brief time, I was touched by an angel. You stole my heart, and changed me into the women I am today.

Chinese woman gives birth to quintuplets

After six years of trying for a baby, a couple’s dreams have come true many times over after the mum gave birth to quintuplets this week.

Chrissie Swan has reached her "sex quota"

Chrissie Swan says she and her partner have sex once a year due to her fear of falling pregnant.

Stars help save choking babies

It's an important lesson to learn, but one that busy new mums and dads might overlook until it's too late.

New Girl star Zooey Deschanel pregnant

Actress Zooey Deschanel is expecting her first child with her producer boyfriend Jacob Pechenik.

16 times 'dad reflexes' saved the day

Of course, in some cases they may be the ones who actually got their child into a precarious position in the first place, but we'll ignore that for now.

Couple's 'non-traditional' pregnancy announcement goes viral

Knowing you are not the father of your pregnant wife's baby would usually indicate a rocky relationship ahead for traditional parents.

The trials and tribulations of identical triplet newborns

Pip Donnelly is still playing spot the difference with her newborn identical triplets, Isabelle, Georgina and Frankie.

Win an Octonauts prize pack

To celebrate the launch of Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield, a spectacular underwater adventure live on stage, we are giving away an amazing Octonauts prize pack to one lucky fan.

Earthquake baby thriving five years on

Jenny Alexis is lucky to be alive after spending four days buried in the rubble of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, but now she's a thriving five year old.

Please don't say I'm lucky because I was adopted

On the one hand I was having a regular life with friends and sports and sleepovers and school. But I was also always wondering: Did my mother love me? What was wrong with me?

An open letter to non-parents who offer advice on child-rearing

Kitty, when you’re the parent of my child you’re welcome to wade in with an opinion – but until then, I’d prefer you to have a supportive ear and a glass of wine ready.

Couple arrested over baby gun video

A US couple faces charges after investigators say they found mobile phone videos showing the woman's 12-month-old daughter putting a handgun in her mouth.

NSW Health dumps 10-year limit on frozen embryos

A 10-year time limit on storing frozen embryos that were created with donor sperm has been dropped by the NSW government.

How my happy-go-lucky husband became a monster

Sharan Nicholson-Rogers watched her husband change from a happy-go-lucky police officer into an unpredictable man prone to violent and emotional outbursts.

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes, too

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes in line with their pregnant partners, a new study shows.

'They were just doing their job': mum of toddler killed in police chase gone wrong

"They were just doing their job. I feel so sorry for them. It is all just too sad."

Miscarriages to be formally recognised by NSW government

Women who miscarry will be able to obtain an optional "recognition of loss" certificate as a formal recognition of their often heartbreaking loss.

Cafe cubby house 'too noisy' for neighbours

Teenage parties, domestic disputes, or raucous late night pubs are the things that usually come to mind when you think neighbourhood noise complaints.

Dad films baby playing with snake

Most parents would not consider a snake an appropriate playmate for their baby, but a US dad who filmed his daughter playing with a python has defended himself against criticism.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Back to School Offer

Findababysitter.com.au

We've got you covered for this school year. Use www.findababysitter.com.au to meet local nannies now.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.