When is sharing okay?

LiLast night I did something that I tend to do often; I posted a picture of my boys onto my personal Facebook page. My personal profile is set up so that only certain people can see pictures of my boys.

Then something happened that made me feel a little uneasy.  A close family member shared my picture on their profile; to their list of friends (most of whom I don't know) who could then share with their friends, etc. etc.

I immediately went "momma bear" on this family member and asked that pictures of my kids not be shared without permission.

I am sure that some feelings were hurt.

I am the first to see the irony in all of this. After all, I am a blogger and I am constantly publishing photos of my boys for the internet to see.  In fact most people that read my blog, I've never met in real life.

So why is it that this picture sent me into such a tizzy? Surely, sharing pictures with friends of family is better than sharing them with random strangers I've never met, right?

The fact of the matter is that the picture I posted on my personal Facebook page was a very personal moment with my boys.  My oldest was wearing simply his briefs and I just happened to capture a moment where both my boys were content, happy and together.  A moment that I wanted to share with close friends and family and definitely not one that I wanted to publish on the internet for the world to see.

The truth is, that while I am a blogger and my life is sometimes open to perfect strangers; it is always on my terms.  I am the one that decides what pictures to share, when and with whom.  I will never embarrass, humiliate or compromise my children in anyway for the sake of this blog or for the sake of a family member's feelings.  This is the same reason that I never publish pictures of anyone's children on my blog without permission.

Just because I choose to share certain anecdotes of my family's lives on the internet does not mean that my entire life is available for publication. Technology today and things like Facebook and Twitter have made it so easy to share everything with just the click of a button, but we cannot forget that there are real people behind those images.

How do you handle privacy issues when it comes to what is okay to publish?

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25 comments:

Mark said...

Although I used to live and breathe it, I haven't been on Facebooks in weeks. It happened when I clicked on a link and then people were "liking" the link that I clicked on and I felt totally exposed knowing then that I really have no privacy at all. And just like you, I do share a lot but as you mentioned, it is on "your terms". So yes, I totally agree with you and I'm sorry that you to go through that.
m.

Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice said...

That's a tough one. Though I *think* I have all of my Facebook setting as private as allowed, I still never post any pics I wouln't feel comfortable being public. And now that my son is getting older, I try not to post anything that would embarrass him (i.e. I wanted to show off his new braces, but he was embarrassed so I didn't). Sometimes he asks me to put up pics of him though, and I usually oblige.

You just never know what some friends and family may do...parenting in this cyber world is always a challenge.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I feel the same way you do! There are some things that are not for the whole world to see or know about in my life.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

I agree with you - sharing should be on OUR terms. I don't think people should share personal pictures of other people's children. This is why I feel very ambivalent about Facebook. I like that it connects people, but I hate that FB's privacy controls are so... loose.

Sonya said...

I don't do much on FB anymore. I hate that even when I make a comment, it's not just to that person, but then the ticker on the right shows every other person the comment that I made. I have a big problem with the share button on people's personal photos. If it's my picture then I intend it to only be shared with my friends and if I want it to be accessible to my friends friends then I tag them. Part of me feels like that's a copyright issue when someone can share your photo and you have no control over that.

Hena Tayeb said...

I agree with you.. not every picture I send to the grandparents gets sent to other family members.. and not all pictures I share with my friends I share on my blog. You share differently with different groups of people.. why? It's not of there business.. it's because they are your pictures and you want to. You did nothing wrong.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sorry that happened. It's definitely a tricky situation. I try to be very sensitive about what I publish regarding my boys. I don't want there to be anything they'd be embarassed about later. While I would try to avoid pics of them in briefs, I would be okay with sharing pics of them in swimsuits. Which is a little odd I guess.

Natalie said...

I totally agree with you on this 100%! And I understand what you mean about having a blog and that being out there but still you pick what you want to publish and share.

Emmy said...

Yes- I agree it is a fine line. And that is why as cute as naked bath pictures and things like that may be I just don't share them online. I definitely share a lot-but yes once it's out there it is out there forever

chickster said...

I have no idea how I'm going to handle posting pictures of kids whenever we have them! It's a fine like, but I think creating watermarks for pictures on blogs is a safe measure for anyone posting pictures (especially of kids) to make sure those photos don't go floating around on the internet. And good for you and your Momma bear side for taking care of your children.

Kimberly said...

Oh this drives me crazy! I have a family member that repeatedly shares my kids pictures on their Facebook wall. I have my settings in place for a reason, I don't need total strangers having access to my kids photos. I always want to say something, but never sure how to.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I'm sorry that it happened, and I totally understand why that would have made you uncomfortable. I think I would have reacted the same way!

Heidi @ imwithleia said...

I know what you mean - but I do think that pictures you have set as only visible to a certain few can not be shared so that others outside your settings can see them - it might appear that for you but it shouldb't be possible. I've set some pictures like that and noticed that although A's aunts share - they don't get comments or likes from outside the family so that should mean other can't see them right? I mean my baby is so cute people can't help themself otherwise....

;)

Blond Duck said...

But those pictures are yours--not theirs.

Tara Denny said...

Something similar happened to me a while ago, and I felt the same way you do. NOBODY has the right to share your pictures but you. And the fact that they were of your children just makes it all the more upsetting. I worry about copyright, so when I post a new photo on facebook, it's to my friends and family whom I trust not to steal from me, but then if they share it- who knows what may happen.
You are completely justified in your anger, and I think that after some thought, the thoughtless "sharer" will understand.
Tara

Stasha said...

I can relate to this more then you can imagine. But I think you can set your privacy on FB to friends only and then no one can see your photos. I hope anyway...

Sara Louise said...

I don't think that you overreacted. Anyone that uses FB should be aware of privacy, and that not all people have the same settings on their account. I'm sure the family member didn't mean any harm, but they really should have checked with you first.

Sara Louise said...

I don't think that you overreacted. Anyone that uses FB should be aware of privacy, and that not all people have the same settings on their account. I'm sure the family member didn't mean any harm, but they really should have checked with you first.

Tara R. said...

My children are much older (19 and 23) and while I may mention something they do or say, I ask their permission first before posting. I've never published either's true name, nor any photos of my son (he's younger child) where his face was visible. My daughter, with her permission, has been shown.

Your FB acct is different than your blog. You have more control, or should have, over who sees your posts. I feel that where children are concerned, whatever age, the parents should always have the final say in where those photos are posted.

I don't blame you, I'd be upset if someone shared photos without my permission too.

Shell said...

This is a tough one for me as well. I feel like our pics are ours to share if we want... and that there's no reason for someone else to share them. Like a common courtesy thing: that unless it's your photo, you don't share.

Life As Wife said...

I hate that people assume that BECAUSE you have a blog all means of privacy don't matter. Good for you for standing up for your kids and yourself.

Lourie said...

I am reading this and thinking, I can totally see my MIL sharing any and all pics of my kids I post. And I am not sure how I feel about that. I see your point though. They are your kids. You call the shots.

Susan Liberatore said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you.
YOU should decide what and where (and how much) to share.
I recently went onto my personal fb page and removed every photo of my oldest in a bathing suit. It just started to freak me out.

Jen said...

Yep, I would have gone "Momma Bear" on them too. Totally not OK to share without permission.

Kim said...

I totally get your reaction. A few years ago someone in the family asked me a question about something that I hadn't told the world. I asked her to remove her question. I too saw the irony - I'm constantly telling the world my business. But you're right, I get to control what I say.

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