Private eye

I’m a teensy bit under the weather today so am using that as an excuse to spend (waste) some time on Twitter. I found a link to a really interesting blog entry: Flickr Perversion by Dr Alec Couros. It describes how pictures of Alec’s four year old daughter were ‘favourited’ by a person whose account linked to pages and pages of pictures of semi-clothed pre-teen girls. If you have a look at the screen grabs, you’ll get an idea of what the images were like.

My first reaction was: ‘That’s disgusting’. My second reaction was: ‘What the hell is he doing posting public pictures of his kids online?’ He explains that he is a bit of an idealist, likes to live his life openly and believes in the greater good of people. I wasn’t convinced – but was I being hypocritical?

I never have posted and never will post pictures of my nieces and nephews in public but my personal Facebook page has plenty. I justify this by the fact that I’m not publicly searchable and that I only add people I know.

Right now, I have 170 friend requests. While I’m sure these are from lovely, normal people – some of whom are readers I deeply value – I don’t really know them and I don’t want to give them access to my personal account with or without customised privacy settings. I share a fair amount anyway via this blog and my Twitter account; my personal Facebook account is where I can interact with my family and friends without exposing them to the dangers of the ‘Flickr Perversion’ mentioned above. But is that protection strong enough? Should you ever post pictures of your children or any child publicly or privately? Is the parents’ permission enough? What about the child’s right to veto a picture? Do you know if you even own those pictures anymore?

If I’m honest, I think taking a hard-line approach to this isn’t the right way. I’ve had some fantastic times with the kids in my family and I want to share that – but where do the boundaries lie? Should there be some guidelines about this sort of thing or are we swaying into nanny-state area?

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