“Pictures that are taken on a field trip or at a school activity may not be posted on Facebook. Each family has the right to want their child’s picture taken.”

How many of you parents received this notification from a recent school’s Parent Open House? Did you know that you’re considered as ‘violating’ a family’s right to want their child’s picture taken by innocently uploading a picture of your child with some friends for a personal, not commercialized, purpose?

What parents don’t enjoy taking pictures of their children? In some occasions, the picture taking would’ve include them being with friends; either at birthday parties, schoold field trips/activities, and sport events. For those who have family halfway across the globe, the easiest way to keep them updated, is online. Uploading the kids’ pictures to the Internet (blogs, Facebook, or online photo album such as Flickr) make it easier for a grandmother in Indonesia to see how tall her grandson had gotten instead of waiting for school pictures to be snail-mailed from the US. Emailing it? Well, not everybody has the luxury of having PCs with an Internet connection in their homes, especially for developing countries (Indonesia is ranked #43 of countries by number of broadband Internet users, while the United States is #2 – Wikipedia). They’d go to Internet Cafes with slower-than-turtles Internet connection.

In some occasion, those pictures uploaded to the Net of the beloved child, would also contain other children’s pictures. This was done innocently, simply because the intention of showing how the child interacts with their peers. “Oh, look at my grandson and his classmates. Isn’t he adorable?” or “That’s my sister’s daughter in a school field trip to a museum. Look how excited they are!” This kind of reaction is what’s expected to be heard. Very rarely, you’d write your child’s friends full name as a caption. After all, you’re showing off YOUR child, not others.

So what’s the big deal? Why can’t you upload a glorious picture of your child who scored a goal, with a surprised look on the goalie’s face and three or four other kids falling down on the grass to Facebook? Why can’t you upload a picture of your just-turn-six son blowing out a birthday candle with his Kindergarten classmates around him, to your blog? Because the other kids’ parent -from the quote above- ‘has the right to want their child’s picture taken’. Does it even make sense? Should parents who go on field trips or school activities start carrying consent forms to have permission from parents whose kids might have been captured in their picture taking? Or perhaps you should start  covering the kids’ eyes with blank ink (well, it’s going to make them look like criminals)  in the picture before uploading it to Facebook?

As a parent, we all want to ‘protect’ our kids from being ‘exploited’ or ‘published’ on the Net because freaks and perverts are everywhere. If you objected to school/teacher that other parent took a picture of your child with their child in a school trip and upload it to Facebook, maybe you shouldn’t upload your kids’ pictures in their skimpy swimsuits on your blog. Just sayin’

If the intention for the warning above is to protect the children from ‘predators’, then why only limiting it to Facebook? Because there’s an easy solution for that. Don’t set the pictures’ privacy setting to ‘Everyone’ or ‘Friends of friends’. Limit it to ‘Friends only’ where you know that you don’t have psychos among your friends; or even choose ‘Customize’ to have less people to see. Easy peasy.