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 ComradeBob

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 Gentrified

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 Gentrified

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

 

Tell us what you think

to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards

Dealing with a toddler's morning tantrums

Your schedule is not important to your two-year-old, and you cannot convince her otherwise. So what can you do?

Child in suitcase 'could have died eight years ago'

A child whose remains were dumped in a suitcase in the South Australian bush is believed to have been a girl aged between two-and-a-half to four.

MP breastfeeds baby during parliamentary session

An Argentinian mum and politician has caused a stir on social media after being filmed breastfeeding her baby.

My baby's first seizure

It was 1am on a cold winter's night when I woke suddenly to the screams of my 12-month-old son. Our lives were about to change forever.

Portable pools 'more dangerous than permanent ones'

Inflatable and portable children's pools may be required to be sold with compulsory fencing to prevent backyard drownings, with some experts even floating the idea of a ban.

Heartbreaking moment mum kisses her one-week-old goodbye

At 11.07am on April 2 this year, Sarah Marriott welcomed baby Sebastian into the world.

The amazing Tee Pee bed and kid-friendly Frankie Bunk bed

These kids' beds definitely fit the brief of providing personality and personal space for little people who are moving up in the world.

The funny things kids say when you're pregnant

Since becoming noticeably pregnant, my son has taken more of an interest in the sibling he'll soon have.

The real problem with having one child

In this age of political correctness, it seems the one subject still subject to discrimination is that of the Only Child.

Six-week-old baby found dead, believed stabbed

A neighbour heard a child screaming before a baby was found dead, believed to have been stabbed, in a house in Newcastle.

The fire hazard in more than 70,000 Australian homes

So far, 206 Samsung washing machines have caught fire and some have exploded. But many remain in people's homes.

How having a baby can bring on OCD

We all know that having a baby can turn your life upside down - and it can also bring a raft of new anxieties and worries.

IVF gender selection being considered for Australian parents

Couples using IVF may be able to choose the gender of their babies and women could be financially compensated for donating their eggs.

The best age to get married (according to the latest study)

Not too young, and not too old. That's reportedly the best age to get married. Not everyone agrees.

Yes, you can get pregnant before your period returns post-baby

After giving birth, the last thing you want to think about is contraception. But you can get pregnant before your period comes back.

Fellow diner rewards mum after toddler's tantrum

Parents of toddlers everywhere know the feeling. After working up the courage to take your child out for lunch or dinner in public you are rewarded with a mid-meal meltdown. 

IKEA begins massive safety campaign after two toddler deaths

Two children were killed when pieces from their Malm furniture line tipped over.

Beaneasy: sweet nursery furniture with a twist

If you're looking to introduce an organic element into your baby's nursery but want to step away from natural timber, we have the perfect alternative.

A dad's guide to hyperemesis

I am in no way qualified to advise women on how to cope with hyperemesis, but I've learnt some lessons that might be worth sharing with other partners.

Woman adopts best friend's four daughters after cancer tragedy

Best friends share everything - and for these two life-long friends, that includes family.

Baby Leo's mum excluded from $500K trust 'for her own protection'

Samuel Forrest didn't want his wife as a trustee of their baby Leo's half million dollar trust for her own "protection", it has emerged.

Confirmed: men gain weight when they become dads

Men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight, according to a new, large-scale study

Carer investigated over washing machine photo posted 'for a laugh'

She said the photo of a boy with Down syndrome in a washing machine was taken just for fun, but no one else was laughing.

Mum's premature labour nightmare after high tea salmonella outbreak

An opulent high tea at a luxury Melbourne hotel has left 44 people with salmonella poisoning - including a pregnant woman, who went into early labour.

The day my son started a fire

Would you know what to do in a fire emergency? How safe is your home and family?

Prince George celebrates second birthday

Prince George's second birthday has been marked by the release of an official picture showing the toddler smiling as he is held by his proud beaming father.

Which beauty treatments are safe in pregnancy?

Is it safe to use fake tan, hair dye and nail varnish during pregnancy?

The five ways I know my 'baby' is no longer a baby

The truth is, I can no longer deny that my walking, babbling, somewhat-independent little miss is no longer a bona fide 'baby'.

Review: Cybex Platinum PRIAM pram

I'm not usually one who believes in love at first sight but that's exactly what happened when I first saw the Cybex PRIAM.

Get your FREE Baby & Toddler Show ticket!

Get your free ticket to the Sydney Essential Baby & Toddler Show for September 25-27 - register online now.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Tell us what you think

to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards

Why I'm choosing to be a single mother right from the start

I believe that you get out of families what you put into them, and I will give mine my all.

Mother and baby units are a necessity for mental health, not a luxury

I have had two postnatal psychotic episodes. The first when my eldest child was six weeks old, and another after my second child was born.

30 French baby names

French names are always in fashion, but a few have risen in popularity in recent years.

New mum's Spanish maternity nightmare

A British woman who gave birth in Spain has told of her ordeal after spending weeks trying to convince medics the baby girl was hers.

Preparing Rover to be a good dog with baby

Some friends of ours say that it's dangerous to have a dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for him. Is it?

Company offers to ship working mums' breast milk home

First Apple and Facebook announced they would pay $20,000 towards the cost of their female employees freezing their eggs, now IBM in the US has come up with an innovative new policy aimed at retaining female employees.

Prince William speaks of his pride at wife Kate and 'little joy of heaven' Charlotte

The Duke of Cambridge opened up about family life and his plans for the future in an interview to mark his first day as an air ambulance pilot.

'Glowing' eye saves baby Mason's life

A simple photo taken in front of an evening fire gave new mother Sarah Bowers the power to save her baby's life. 

Parenting and decision overload

Of all the advice people told me before having a baby, no one warned me about the amount of decisions involved.

Proof that toddlers can't be left unsupervised - ever

Parents of toddlers all know the moment when realise your child is being suspiciously quiet. It can only mean one thing - trouble!

Meet Jeremy Ryan, The Voice contestant with seven kids

If you have trouble recalling the ages of Jeremy Ryan's seven children on The Voice, you're not alone. So does he.

Baby's adorable reaction to wearing glasses for the first time

Getting glasses can be a formative moment in a person's life.

Police officer buys supplies for family after mum of six caught shoplifting

When a mum of six was caught shoplifting nappies, clothes and shoes for her kids, the last thing she expected was for a stranger to pay for her haul.

Why pregnant women on antidepressants shouldn’t panic about birth defect claims

The risk of having uncontrolled depression is far greater than the small increased risk of birth defects that may be associated with specific antidepressants.

Arrests made over children's birthday party brawl

Police have raided properties and arrested a number of people over a brawl at a child's birthday party at a play centre in Sydney's west.

Family shares awesome drone baby announcement

Looking for a creative way to share some big news? Look to the skies, like this family did.

Young warrior Owen defies doctors' predictions

Little Owen DiCandilo's name means "young warrior", and it's a description that perfectly fits the inspiring 18-month-old

Advice for dads: when to approach your wife for sex

The exhaustion that comes with caring for young children often means romance between parents becomes a thing of the past.

I might be fat, but I don't need saving

I've been fat for pretty much most of life, besides a few crazy moments of being less-fat, but for the most part I've existed on this earth with a little more meat on my bones than desirable.

The rookie mistakes we make as parents

Since the dawn of civilisation, generation after generation of new parents have had to rely on instinct, trial and error - and sometimes get it wrong.

 

FREE TICKET

See Pinky McKay live in Sydney

Get your free ticket to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show and save $20 - register online 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.