I recently read a debate in the online magazine Slate.com regarding an unpleasant confrontation among two moms. The fuse that lit this fire – Facebook + kids pictures.
Seems Mom #1 took pictures of her own children along with other children at a kid’s birthday party. Mom #1 proudly posted said pictures to her Facebook profile. Enter Mom #2. Mom #2 saw the pictures posted on her friend’s Facebook and was not happy. Why? Well, a number of the pictures included were those of Mom #2’s kids.
Mom #2 contacted Mom #1 and asked her to remove the pictures that included her precious progeny pronto. Mom #1 was a bit offended. Hadn’t Mom #2 allowed her children to be photographed in the first place?! Didn’t she understand the likilhood that the photos would be shared in a social media setting? After all, it’s not 1991 anymore. Nobody really expected that Mom #1 was going to take her pictures to Walgreen’s, have them printed (double prints, please!), and stick them in a photo album only to pulled out again when ancient Aunt Edna visits.
I never determined whether Mom #1 removed the photos (I’m assuming she did). I could kind of see both moms perspectives though. Mom #1 thought she was doing something perfectly innocuous — sharing pictures of her delightful little munchkins with her social network. She resented Mom #2’s helicopter parenting and interference in what she could post on her own Facebook page. Mom #2 on the other hand may well have just read another disturbing article about a social site such as Reddit posting pilfered pictures from open Facebook pages.
Even if Mom #1’s Facebook profile is set nice and tight, who is to say someone in her network (maybe Grandma just getting used to this Facebook thing) might not grab the picture and post it on her open page? And from there anyone with an internet connection has free access to it. If the photo is “tagged”, they might also have the name of the child or parent. For some parents, the minuscule risk that a photo might be viewed by an unintended observer isn’t worth the larger risk of alienating a friend or being seen as a paranoid parent, but others will look at the world we are living in today and say you just can’t be too cautious.