What’s So Dangerous About Photographing Children? And More Brilliance from Frank Furedi

Readers — This is the article by Frank Furedi that I referred to yesterday. I won’t print the ENTIRE thing here, as that’s sort of bad blogging ethics. But I will print a goodly chunk because it is so spot on. Furedi is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. This ran in The Independent. Boldface mine:


How Much Independence Should Children Have? By Frank Furedi

In 2001, when I published my book Paranoid Parenting, I was genuinely surprised to discover that virtually all experiences associated with childhood came with a health warning. At the time, Paranoid Parenting documented the growing tendency to extend adult supervision into every aspect of children’s lives. It was apparent that the outdoors had become a no-go area for many youngsters and that the majority of parents did not even allow their offspring to walk to school on their own. The idea that children were too vulnerable to be allowed to take risks had already become entrenched. That was bad enough. But since the turn of the century, the regime of child protection has become steadily more pervasive and intrusive.

Of all the bans which have been introduced, the one which I have found the most disquieting is the prohibition on the taking of photographs of children. Although the taking of a picture of a child is not illegal, it is frequently treated as a crime. Numerous institutions have drawn the conclusion that such photographs are inconsistent with the exigencies of safeguarding children. Consequently, many petty officials have decided to take the law into their own hands. In 2001, newspapers did not mask the faces of children, and parents were not banned from photographing their children performing in a school play.

As a father, I deeply resented the climate of hysteria that makes it difficult for parents to take photos of their children during school plays and concerts and sporting activities. I still remember the moment when the manager of my son’s under-9s football team informed us that no one could take a picture of the children during the game unless every parent agreed. Since it was impossible to get everyone’s agreement in the middle of the game, I never succeeded in capturing an action shot of my son running with the ball. For me, the empty spaces in the family photo album symbolise the absurdity of the current ethos of child protection.

The “no-picture” rules have been accompanied by the proliferation of “no-touch” rules, introduced to prevent adults from coming into direct physical contact with children. Even nursery workers feel that their action is under constant scrutiny. Adult carers have not been entirely banned from applying suncream on children. Some still follow their human instinct and do what they believe is in the best interest of a child. But frequently this practice requires formal parental consent. It is now common practice for nurseries and schools to send out letters to parents to sign to give consent for teachers to have the right to put suncream on their child…. These “no-touch” rules are underpinned by an ideology that regards physical contact between adults and children as a marker for potentially malevolent behaviour.

Since the turn of the century, mistrust of adult interaction with children has escalated to the point where it has led to a crisis of inter-generational interaction. …Politicians of all parties have waded in and have transformed child rearing into a constant political issue. Government initiatives are underpinned by the assumption that parents cannot be trusted and must be subject to constant surveillance. That is why the current Government took it upon itself to introduce a rule that will, from next year, ensure that all children who visit an accident-and-emergency unit in a hospital will be logged on a new national database set up to identify potential victims of abuse.

The proliferation of rules governing inter-generational relations is underpinned by a veritable ideology of evil. It is the vision of the omnipresence of paedophilia that fuels the politicisation of childhood. The conviction that just about any adult is a potential child predator has acquired the status of a secular religion and now governs proceedings in everyday life. The reason why Debra Harrell was jailed was not because she had really abandoned her child. Her real crime was that by allowing her daughter to play unsupervised in a park she had failed to protect her child from the ever-present child-predator. From this point of view, the loss of children’s freedom is a small price to pay for keeping the monsters at bay.

Read the whole essay here. And let me know what you think.- L

Seeing childhood through the lens of risk.

Seeing childhood through the lens of risk.

93 Responses to What’s So Dangerous About Photographing Children? And More Brilliance from Frank Furedi

  1. J.T. Wenting July 25, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    photographing children is now extremely dangerous. For the photographer that is.
    You’re liable to get beaten up, mugged, arrested, thrown in prison without due process, posted on vigilante “pedohunter lists”, even murdered.

    All thanks to the ever present fear of everyone being a child molester unless they can be proven not to be.

  2. Bob Davis July 25, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    We railway ethusiasts run into similar difficulties when trying to photograph trains, especially those run by a public transit agency. Worst-first thinking on the part of some transit cops means that anyone taking photos of a locomotive, rapid transit car or bridge must be planning to blow it up. Children and railway history came together a few years ago when I was getting pix of a long-abandoned right of way. Some of it had been converted into a park, and I consciously avoided getting any kids into the scene. Sad, isn’t it?

  3. kimberly July 25, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    Sometimes the teacher or coaches hands are tied. I teach in an opt out district. Which means we assume your child will be photographed and that picture posted without names on district website, class blog, school FB or twitter feeds.

    If you don’t want that you send a letter. I can predict who will send the letters, because those kids have big thick files with legal documents at the back with restraining orders or court orders severing parental rights of monsters that are resposible for the scars you see and the ones you don’t see. The ones that a child tells you they killed my little brother because the devil possessed him. Or it is my fault we are in foster care I told my teacher My baby sister did not have anything to eat in three days that was why I tried to hide my free lunch and take it home.

    We aren’t hiding all the kids from the boggy man, just a few from very real monsters.

    I usually tell my parents I have an endangered child, who can not be potographed. They frequently offer to let me look through their pictures and delete any that have that child. It is a good compromise.

  4. Kay July 25, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    This constant suspicion of everyone around isn’t helped when our only retort to the fear of stranger abduction is that 95% (or so) of molestation is by adults the child knows. So no photos at school functions, no sleepovers, no playing inside other children’s homes unless the parent has been vetted.

    A chill went up my spine when I read of Scotland’s Children and Young People Act. A state appointed guardian for all children under 18? Oh, and parents can come along? What in the world?! How do the citizens let them get away with this atrocity? Are we already in Brave New World?

  5. A. Ruscak July 25, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    I have to say when reading this how glad I am to be a European. Fortunately this has not come to us (yet) and I hope it won’t. We have different problems though; the state in our case is trying to “protect” children against “too much authority”. Here is – except for the UK – not really any hysteria regarding child molesters, kidnappings and other sorts of crime, but unfortunately many social workers took it as their mission to force the parents to parent in the same way as everybody else, so that children would not get “emotional harm” by seeing that someone else has it different. This is also pretty scary.

  6. MichaelF July 25, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Part of this is why we have so few photos on our Cub Scout Troop web site, partly from people not sharing photos and when I do take some (I am the web master) I try to do so without showing kids faces to avoid problems. Some parents willingly share some photos of their kids doing work, but many don’t.

  7. Jen July 25, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    There’s a classic passage in one of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books about a kid that got stuck on the top of one of the play structures during recess. The teachers aren’t allowed to touch him to help him down so he has to stay out there after all the kids went in for lunch, waiting with a teacher, until one of his parents arrives from work to rescue him. My mom had bought the book for my daughter and was flipping through it — she thought it was so absurd she had to tell me that she and her friend were practically rolling on the ground laughing over it. My mom is 76, her friend is 89. I agreed that the passage was funny in an absurd way but just shook my head saying, “you don’t understand. . .it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that really happened today!”

  8. Jill July 25, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Back in the early eighties, when I was a preschool teacher, we used to touch children all the time. We used to help them into their bathing suits, put sunblock on them, and once, when a little boy had a painful incident that involved getting part of himself caught in his zipper, I gingerly helped him get unstuck.
    Nobody thought anything of it at the time, but I shudder to think of what might happen if the same zipper incident occurred in a preschool today.
    The “hands off” policy extends to the church where I volunteer with a housing program for the homeless. The overnight volunteers have to work in pairs and we can never, ever be alone with one of the children, in order to prevent false accusations of abuse.
    Not too long ago, a mom who was staying with her four-year-old daughter asked me to get the little girl dressed one morning while she was in the bathroom, doing her hair. I wouldn’t have minded, but I had to say no, because my partner had to leave to run an errand, and as only volunteer there, I couldn’t be alone with a child. The mother was confused and a little hurt, as if maybe I didn’t like her and her daughter because of their race, or the fact that they were homeless. We’d been having a nice morning up to then, but a rule based on fear spoiled things.
    These kind of little incidents are happening all the time now, with adults becoming afraid to go near children (or even look at them in some cases, especially if they’re men who might be accused of seeming “creepy.”) Children have become literal untouchables, and that doesn’t bode well for the future.

  9. SOA July 25, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    I am sympathetic to why some parents can’t let pictures of the children go public on the net or get put in the newspaper etc. There are some families with unfortunate custody issues or people in witness protection and they really cannot have those pictures out there for good reason.

    If someone wants to judge them for that then they are the jerk.

    I have only had a parent one time ask me to remove a picture of their child. I frequently take pictures of all my kids and their friends and then post them up on facebook and tag the parents in the pictures. Her daughter does acting and in the picture she thought a little too much leg was showing so asked me to remove the picture. I happily did so and made it where only I could see it.

    I don’t think people are super crazy about this. I think it really is just the custody and criminal things that make people have to say no pictures of the child.

  10. M.S. Tack July 25, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    “I won’t print the ENTIRE thing here, as that’s sort of bad blogging ethics.”

    “Bad blogging ethics”? You can’t republish an entire work without the author’s permission. It violates the author’s copyright protections. Even anarchists like this blog’s proprietor enjoy copyright protection of their property. See?

    Copyright © http://www.freerangekids.com 2014. All rights reserved

  11. kate July 25, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Jill, I volunteer with the same homeless organization. Maybe I am naive, but I tend to ignore these rules, because it seems heartless to say no to a small favor like that. Also, we have some older volunteers that play horsey on the floor with the littlest kids. Children run up to this man for a hug when they arrive. No complaints yet, especially from the families without fathers.Everyone hugs when they leave our church. With regards to pictures, before everyone got cell phone cameras, we took more pictures.

  12. nina July 25, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    When I read some of the comments I feel that I live in a different America. My daughter goes to a state university run preschool. This university has an excellent early education program and the school gets many student teachers doing their internships or whatever they call it. Compared to my experience with my older children, this school is as close to free range concept as a preschool can be. They’re very much into free play and physical bonding. When I come in to pick up my daughter I often find kids sitting on the laps of caunslers while they readto them, or they are mock resling, or whatever other things kids do with adults who don’t mind goofing around. The other day my daughter was really impressed that one of her teachers could pick up 3 kids at once. Kids are allowed to go up the slides, jump off tree stumps, give rides to their friends on their tricycles, etc. They obviously have some rules to maintain order and basic safety, but all of them make sense to me. And they take lots of pictures and then share them with parents. On a different note, while I was driving home from work I saw an 8 or 9 year old mower the lawn, a couple of 5 and 6 year olds riding their bikes on a sidewalk in front of a house, and a little girl (10?) with a big dog waiting to cross a street into a local park. I saw all of it in a course of a 15 min drive. When I got home my sons asked me if they could invite their friends over. They just got home from a month long absence in an overnight camp and were eager to reconnect with their buddies. I told them to make sure that the parents know they will be home alone because I was taking their sister and her best friend for swimming lessons. After the lesson girls were able to stay in the pool while I was keeping an eye on them from a lawn chair. When we got back home there were about 5 boys goofing off in our backyard. Do I live in the same good old USA as most people on this blog?

  13. Warren July 25, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    I don’t know how many people are actually in witness protection, and don’t care. Don’t care about those with custody issues either.
    Simply put those are none of my concern, and we should not have pictures banned because of other people’s problems.
    This is no different than special needs. The whole should not have to pay or change to accommodate them.
    And if you are that afraid of predators, don’t take your kids out in public.

  14. Dirk July 25, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I have to be honest and usually I don’t use examples from my own life and this isn’t a big deal but here it goes.

    Every Halloween there is an older man that takes pictures of the kids in their costumes that go to his house of trick or treating. And I find it creepy. It is all very safe. Right on the front stoop he sits with his candy and as the come up he snaps a picture. Not of all them bot of most and I think especially ones with great costumes. But it comes of as weird and creepy. That is what is wrong with it. Why would you want a picture of some strangers kid? If I look through my families photo albums I would be hard pressed to find a picture of someone I didn’t know. I know it very very probably is just an old man who likes Halloween and maybe even doesn’t have much else going on in his life etc. But it is still creepy.

    The second thing is in where I go/went in New York with my kids, where I went there were a lot of tourists. When you visit NYC you do touristy things so that is where we went. Well many tourists, foreign tourists mostly, wanted to take pictures of my kids. Blond hair, cute american kid. It happened like a third of the time. And it was weird. Weird for a random tourist, like I said foreign, to be taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty and then see my kid toddling around and coo something at him and then take his picture.

    Both of those things were probably definitely I would suppose a nothing event. Didn’t mean they aren’t weird.

    But I have never come across a school or sporting event where I was not allowed to take a picture of my kid (or even teammates with my kid) or the team. That entire concept seems so strange that I doubt it’s existence is wide spread.

  15. Dirk July 25, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Also my kids school and camp puts sun screen on them.

    Daycares change diapers.

    Preschool camps help kids into their bathing suits.

    Kids need their but wiped.

    I do know that teacher and athletic coaching training involves directives such as touch only from the shoulder up. I also know that those directives explicitly give way to the practicalities of situations.

    I find the idea of the proliferation of these “rules” difficult to believe at all.

  16. K2 July 25, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    The list of kids that have gone to an emergency room being used as a list of potentially abused kids is disturbing and will make the trend in that direction even harder to reverse. That will add expense, make parents nervous about taking their kids for needed care, and may help to make the birthrate lower. Whether we like it or not a lower birthrate with generally less creative kids, and a lot of rules and regulations will come back to haunt us later.

  17. Andy July 25, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    @Dirk Why is old man taking pictures of costumed visiting kids weird and creepy? I do not get it. I doubt he is putting those pictures into “family” album. That would be unusual, he is likely to have a “Halloween visitors” album somewhere.

    People tended to take pictures of happy moments last maybe thirty years, including pictures of strangers. They took pictures of random cute/costumed kids since the photography got cheap.

    It is only last few years that they started to treat pictures as something dangerous or weird.

  18. Erin July 25, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Thank you for sharing this piece, Lenore. I heard you segment on BL yesterday and really fell down the rabbit hole of your work. I appreciate how you and this article point to the big picture issues affecting children’s increasingly constrained lives and look forward to sharing this post w/ my community!

  19. CrazyCatLady July 25, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Dirk, I bet that guy who takes the photos at Halloween is just really into Halloween. Or…would like to be more into Halloween than he can afford. I don’t understand how it is creepy. If your town had a parade and people were taking photos there, would that be creepy too? No, because that is expected.

    And yes, you are lucky that you have not encountered the school or sports that doesn’t let you take photos. My kids do an alternative schooling program (home school/public school hybrid.) And yup, kids and adults are not allowed to take photos, and more specifically, put them up on the PTA website.

    And the funny thing is…the principal is so lax in other areas. Like when the boys are running down the hall shooting their fingers and making Star Wars noises, he just smiles and tells them to walk. When he walks into the Destination Imagination class and asks what the kids are doing and they reply that they are making numb-chucks, swords and throwing stars, he doesn’t even question it. But photos…I think someone higher up read him the riot act about them.

  20. Rachel@ Wife Then Mama July 25, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I have foster kids, and I have felt like a fool once or twice because their pictures are not allowed to be used in advertising/put online/published, so when I have been places and staff taking pictures I have had to tell them they need to delete them, they are not allowed to be published. Of course I then chased the kid before I had time to explain so I looked like a paranoid jerk.

  21. Warren July 25, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    We had a lady that took pics on Halloween. Her husband worked nights and loved seeing who came by in costume. Nothing creepy about it.

  22. Warren July 25, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    As for the ER trips. ….my parents would be doing life. Between sports and life I was up there with Evil Kneviel.
    And that doesn’t include the numbers of breaks and cuts and sprains treated on site.

  23. K July 25, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    I’m considering asking the principal at our school if the annual Christmas concert can be made tech free. Not because I’m worried about my kids being in random photos. But because people are soooo inconsiderate. I didn’t see most of the concert last year because the woman in front of me had her arm straight up, taking video with her iPhone.

  24. Dhewco July 25, 2014 at 11:23 am #


    I can understand why someone might think it’s creepy. But, the old man can be someone like me. I like kids…not in some sick ‘chester’ way, but they just make me feel younger and happy. They remind me of a time when I was happier and had more friends. Of before I was assaulted.

    Seeing kids out and about, and happy makes me feel better and relieves some of the depression I feel. If I could take a picture, I would be even better. However, the paranoia about perverts keeps me from doing that.

  25. Erica July 25, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Warren, really? If you knew that there was a child in danger, it is not “your problem” to give up a small pleasure to help protect their safety? Where is the community spirit in that?

  26. Brian July 25, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Erica –

    It is not reasonable to expect everyone to forgo taking and sharing pictures of their own kids because of the insignificant risk that one kid might be targeted by an evil stalker. If there’s any general theme to this website, it’s that trivial risks shouldn’t prevent normal parenthood and childhood because “something could happen.” I would not pass up sharing photos of my kid with friends on Facebook on the off chance that an unknown stalker would look for some other kid in the background of this one of billions of photos on the Internet.

  27. Laurambp July 25, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Two things have come to mind regarding photography not being allowed at events:

    1. The rise of professional photo/video at kids events

    When I was in high school, I was in several of the school plays. Because someone had the idea once to have it professionally recorded and sold as a fundraiser, photos and videos were banned moving forward. They only did it for one show but it became a blanket policy. It’s disappointing because I would have loved to have copies of the later plays for personal enjoyment and photos outside of the few taken in the school yearbook.

    I’ve seen the rise of these photo policies at other events for the same reason: the rights were sold to a photographer. It limits the photos that a parent could get because the photographer has to focus on all the kids and not just one.

    2. Paranoia over kids being kidnapped due to social media

    I know far too many parents who refuse to post any photos of their kids on facebook because “what if they become a target and then kidnapped”. This is also a shame because social media is a way to share your life with close family and friends who care and want to see these things. This is a huge benefit for family and friends out of state, who otherwise don’t get to see your kid often except through pictures and stories. They never seem to believe me when I say that no one wants their special snowflake and have no interest in taking a kid who would be noticed missing within ten seconds.

  28. marie July 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Every Halloween there is an older man that takes pictures of the kids in their costumes that go to his house of trick or treating. And I find it creepy.

    Halloween is supposed to be creepy, Dirk.

    @K: Be happy she wasn’t using her iPad for the pics. A bunch of people holding iPads up over their heads…now that’s weird and creepy.

  29. Krissy July 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    We had a similar thing happen to us recently. At swim classes, we were informed by the woman in charge that we would be able to photograph the last 10 minutes of the last class, but we could only take pictures of our child. (They swim in the pool together as a class, they sit side-by-side on the edge of the pool, and stand in line to jump off the dive. There are 3 classes in the pool at any given time. So good luck with the logisitcs of this one.)I just looked at my husband and said, “did she just call me a pedophile?”

  30. Reziac July 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    From TFA:
    Suspicion towards adult behaviour is not confined to strangers; increasingly, parenting has become an all-purpose cause for all the evils afflicting society. Month after month, reports blame the parenting deficit for problems such as low achievements in schools, low self-esteem, drug taking, obesity, crime, and mental-health problems.

    I think there’s something important here. Our modern feelgood society is largely about “you’re not to blame” — so in the effort to avoid blame for this supposedly-crappy parenting, parents strive to be ever more perfect, and society (as usual turning custom into law) soon decides that this perfection must be enforced.

    A generation that grows up believing everything and everyone are out to get them, are going to be even more convinced that they need to be bubble-parents, or Horrible Things Will Happen.

  31. Dirk July 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    Andy? What do you mean in the last few years? The last 3? 5? 30? I don’t remember anybody I didn’t know taking my picture as a kid in the 70s or 80s.

    It is weird for that guy to take pictures of kids at halloween. I think maybe it is weird is because of how technology is used. Maybe having a camera in the 50s was a unique thing so you took a lot of pictures with it? Everyone has a camera in their pocket today. But also, it is weird because no one else is doing it? I mean, I have no interest in taking pictures of strangers. And none of my friends or colleagues do that I can tell.

    But also, I think all that is besides the point. There is another poster who commented that they felt they were living in a different America because they don’t bump up against things like this. I have to say me too. Even though I do think that it is weird to be taking pictures of strangers I have never had a problem snaping a picture of my own kid at school, a park, playground, camp, on the athletic field. I feel like when people mention things like no picture rules these are extremely isolated things that are being blown out of proportion to further a cause.

  32. Reziac July 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    A. Ruscak says, “I have to say when reading this how glad I am to be a European.””

    I hate to break it to you, but Scotland is part of Europe…

  33. Neil M July 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    This essay made me reflect on how strangely sexualized our society’s view of children has become. On one hand, we fanatically guard against any situation in which a child might conceivably be viewed in a sexual manner. We consider every adult with access to children — teachers, bus drivers, nursery staff — as likely assailants. All photographs of children are viewed as potential pornography. All places of recreation for children — parks, playgrounds, slumber parties — are considered mere hunting territory for “predators.”

    On the other hand, people buy onesies for boys that read, “Lock Up Your Daughters”, or midriff t-shirts for girls that read, “Hot Stuff.” (Keep in mind these are for *toddlers*. Toddlers.) It’s like our society is run by people who are both dirty-minded and possessed of Victorian sexual prudishness, all at once. I don’t understand what’s at work, but I find it disturbing. It’s not good for children, and, frankly, it’s not good for adults.

  34. Reziac July 25, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    K2 says, “The list of kids that have gone to an emergency room being used as a list of potentially abused kids is disturbing and will make the trend in that direction even harder to reverse.”

    Maybe Lenore can find this reference (it was probably 30 years ago), but anyway:

    Some years ago a pediatrician who also did emergency room and trauma care (and therefore took a lot of xrays of very young children) discovered that kids under the age of two years have had, on average, 22 broken bones!! And there was no such thing as a child who’d never had a broken bone!

    Rampant child abuse, right? But he just couldn’t believe that EVERY child he saw had been beaten; certainly they didn’t act abused…

    So he investigated further, and discovered these average-of-22 broken bones are the natural results of 1) children’s bones are still relatively flexible and therefore highly subject to greenstick fractures, and 2) such fractures are caused by ordinary rough-and-tumble, no “abuse” required.

    He did find one of the most common play-related fractures came from kids swinging from dad’s arms — that’s just more force than immature shoulder bones can handle; even so, no lasting harm is done, and if it weren’t dad’s arms, they’d be swinging from a tree anyway.

    Goes to demonstrate that if you look solely at children’s injuries and don’t investigate causes relevant to a child’s physiology and activities, you’re going to reach completely wrong conclusions about “abuse”.

  35. Dirk July 25, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I think there is a great divider between generations who grew up with different media, meaning types of cameras but also before and after the digital age and moreover, maybe even a divide caused by the different environment people are in. Ugh.

    What I mean is I think depending on how old you are and where you grew up maybe people view the taking of a picture differently? It used to be that if you took a picture it stayed in the album in somebodies house. Maybe you had two copies printed so grandma could have one too. But digital photos require a certain level of monitoring because they can and do get stolen. I don’t think that is fear mongering that is just the way the technology works. Also, the way pictures are used on facebook, instagram, tumblr, pinterest, whatever is different. It is more open, it is a sharing process of things that matter to you personally. And so taking a picture of a stranger signifies a closeness that might make some people confused. And while I get that the old man might just be celebrating Halloween, and that is why no one chides him about it (even though it clearly is an oddity to everyone), it signifies a closeness to him that frankly I don’t reciprocate. More so for the tourists who kept taking pictures of my toddlers because blonde hair was an exotic thing to them and the american babies looked so cute to them. I don’t know them, I have no connection to them to warrant a memory of me specifically, we didn’t chat or share a moment. It was randomness.

  36. Mama Bear July 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    I agree with the commenter about that ultracreepy Children’s Protection Act in Scotland. I didn’t realize any countries in the “free” world had resorted to assigning “named persons” to each baby born. Even worse is the creation of that database for any child taken to the ER. This is going to lead to some parents not getting all the care their kids need after various injuries, for fear of winding up on their social services’ radar. Better stock up on copies of When There Is No Doctor. Heck, some UK citizens have already had to do their own dentistry. 😛

    The only question I have is, are they going to try and enforce all this nanny state crap on certain immigrant communities?

  37. J- July 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    The “no pictures” thing, in so far as I understand, is just an extension of the hyper-paranoid idea that “every strange man is a pedophile” in that every picture of a child taken by a stranger is going to be used as masturbation fodder.

    A few years ago, a preschool in the UK blacked out the faces of the children IN THE YEARBOOK to prevent this.


    This is insane beyond my ability to put it to words. There is worst first thinking. Then there is “oh god, that man taking pictures of those kids having fun at the beach is going to go home and rub one out to that photograph.” Never mind that man is most likely a dad, grandpa, or uncle. Even factoring in that most child molestations are done by relatives, the assumption that every photograph of a child is somebody’s spank bank is ludicrous. I think some of this popular thinking has reached a point of pathological paranoia.

  38. Laurambp July 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    “Maybe you had two copies printed so grandma could have one too. But digital photos require a certain level of monitoring because they can and do get stolen. I don’t think that is fear mongering that is just the way the technology works. Also, the way pictures are used on facebook, instagram, tumblr, pinterest, whatever is different. It is more open, it is a sharing process of things that matter to you personally.”

    That would certainly explain the second point of my argument – the behavior of my friends who post no pictures at all of their kids.

    “More so for the tourists who kept taking pictures of my toddlers because blonde hair was an exotic thing to them and the american babies looked so cute to them. I don’t know them, I have no connection to them to warrant a memory of me specifically, we didn’t chat or share a moment. It was randomness.”

    Have you never gone to another country and taken pictures of locals? I’ve done this before. It’s a more national geographic journalistic style of photography.

  39. Dirk July 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Ive traveled Laurambp but I would never take a picture of someone I didn’t know, certainly not without asking first and most likely with me in the picture. I remember yes taking a picture of a marching band in germany and I met a neat person in france that I posed for a dual selfie with.

    But again I have never had problems or been told I couldn’t take a picture of my own kids or a group that my kid belonged too.

    I haven’t encountered this issue.

  40. marie July 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    OMG, Dirk! You took pictures of children in a marching band?? How creepy is THAT? You don’t even KNOW those kids.


  41. BL July 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    ” It used to be that if you took a picture it stayed in the album in somebodies house.”

    Plenty of pictures went into public places like newspapers, yearbooks, etc.

    I remember local newspapers printing pictures of entire school classes, as well as more limited groups like honor students, Cub Scouts, school teams, etc., etc. That sort of thing (with some athletic exceptions) seems to have almost disappeared from printed newspapers, not just online.

  42. Bob Cavanaugh July 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Yes, I love this article, saw it yesterday. A couple things,
    1. I think a better conclusion to this article would be a call to action. It’s clear that the author is very free range, but he does not present anything people should do to try and reverse this trend.
    2. As for photography issues, it does seem pretty standard to me for school plays to not allow photography during the performance. As for putting pictures online, it makes sense for an organization to require a parent signature before pictures of children are put online, I remember several times when I was in school we had to do that.
    3. Formal consent for sunscreen, I did go to a summer program that required this, but there didn’t seem to be a blanket no touching policy there either. Largely, it seems like the Pacific Northwest as a region hasn’t fallen for some of this ridiculousness. Largely it seems like the northeast and east coast, from about Ohio east is the worst part of the country when it comes to ridiculous policies.

  43. LRH July 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    My 2 cents worth, some of it in response to Dirk.

    I am a hobbyist photographer, and I also like taking “snaps” of my life. I’ve been taking “selfies” or whatever for at least the past 11 years, food photos too, all LONG before Instagram or whatever made it a thing. I’ve known how to use advanced SLR types of cameras since I was a teen in the 1980s and you dealt with the aggravations of film. These aggravations made it hard for me to take as many photos as I wanted to, but once I got my first digital in late 2003, I started doing what I wished I had been able to do all along–take numerous photos of EVERYTHING.

    You see, I am one of those who would most definitely take photos of other’s kids in that situation? Why? It’s simple. Photos capture a moment of time and everything about that moment visible in the photo is frozen in that era of time regardless of all that happens afterwards, and it provides an opportunity of reflection. I see a photo I took of someone’s child, or a child of someone I know, either way, and as the years pass I realize “wow, that 3 year old riding that tricycle is now 15 and probably driving a car to go on dates.” When it’s someone you DON’T know and will never see again, that adds a certain aura of intrigue and mystery to it. When it’s someone you do know and you see them again years later, that’s also meaningful, yet in a different way.

    It is the most pure, sweet, innocent, and wonderful thing you can imagine. People who don’t understand it but are open to the explanation of what it’s about, I am happy to oblige. I am NOT, however, about to stop doing this, after being bottled up by the limitations of film for 25 years prior to digital liberating me, on account of fear-mongering and hysteria that has no rational basis in reality. As the one person said, you don’t let trivial risks color and taint the wonders of childhood or something like that. I find that goes for many aspects of life, not just parenting and/or childhood.

    That explanation aside, if I may rant a bit–as a male who does this, in my 40s, I am very sick and tired of being labeled a “pervert” because I dare to use a camera in this way, even though I do NOT do so in a “paparazzi” type of way. To assume me a pervert because I’m a man with a camera is nothing short of gender discrimination and profiling. Not to puff up myself, but it is an insult to the photos I have managed to obtain, often-times landscape photos where no children were sought out, and I even took pains to frame around them because I didn’t WANT them in my photos. However, because I would be, say, at a lake with sunbathers, even though I was taking photos of the lake ALONE, people would become upset, even once I showed them past landscape photos, photos I had just taken, and said “see, that’s all I’m trying to do.” Even then, they STILL would become upset and throw a fit.

    I’m tired of it, frankly, I’ve taken to even making choices with my dollars based on that. About 2 years ago my wife & I visited a new Italian restaurant for the first time. It was her birthday. Naturally I wanted to take photos to document that part of our life, to document the memories for later enjoyment in the lifelong context of our marriage. We were the ONLY customers in the place, so nothing I was doing could’ve potentially aggravated a fellow diner. The owner of the place became upset and had the waitress come out and tell me I had to stop.

    How did I reply? Luckily I hadn’t even received the courtesy breadsticks etc yet, or ordered the drinks, so I explained to the waitress “you tell that no good owner of yours that I don’t appreciate being labeled a weirdo just because I take photos and if he thinks that about me, I can just go eat somewhere else and give someone else my business.” I said it loudly enough that the owner, who was in the background in the kitchen but visible, could easily hear me. I have not been back there since, and I even called them out by name on my social media page telling people “do not eat there, the service is awful.” We then ate somewhere else and told them “we are giving you our business because you don’t have a sick hang-up with guys and cameras,” and we’ve been back numerous times ever since.

    I’ve also done things such as told screaming mothers “don’t worry, I only take photos of things that LOOK GOOD” (meaning “your kid is UGLY”). Nicer things I’ve done–at a yard sale, these kids had a lemonade stand, I told them, with their mother present, “I’ll buy 2 cups of lemonade from you if I can take a photo, I just want to remember because I like seeing kids do things like that vs always being indoors all the time, you hardly ever see it anymore.” Their mother didn’t mind, neither did the kids, it was a sweet moment. There’s nothing weird about it at all, it’s just that some people MAKE it weird.

    (I’m clicking SUBMIT having only “glanced over” this vs really proofreading it, I hope there are no typos etc.)

  44. Warren July 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Sucks to be that family!

    From photos to physical limitations to mental illness to food allergies, if we stopped doing things to safeguard each group, then community becomes a collective of individuals not doing anything together, but all sitting there doing nothing.

  45. Elin July 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I see no danger in photos but I am all for bans on photos in schools. People have such different views an privacy and some publish photos of other people online without thinking about it. You do not need to be scared of pedophiles to not want your child on someone else’s facebook or blog.

    I don’t care if someone publishes photos of my daughter but I always ask people if the are OK with it and for some friends we have a standing OK for pictures of each other’s children on facebook. I do however have friends who have chosen not to show any pictures of their children online because they feel that their children should have the same freedom most of us had, that when we started using the internet we chose which pictures to be published or not and I respect this view.

    I would not be creeped out if a stranger wanted to take my daughter’s picture, in fact, the idea that this could be a predator wouldn’t even enter my mind.

  46. PhotoGuy July 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    A commenter stated “But it comes of as weird and creepy. That is what is wrong with it. Why would you want a picture of some strangers kid?”.

    I’m an amateur photographer and take pictures at many local events and venues including festivals, carnivals, parades, beaches, etc. Kids and animals are great subjects and there is nothing cuter than both together. I was at a winery on Long Island recently and a woman was blowing bubbles and a young girl was chasing them. I took photos from a distance with a telephoto lens and captured some precious expressions on the girls face. These pictures will make great entries in photo contests. I am conscious that I am photographing a child and that some people may think it’s “weird” so I do it discretely and respectfully. I will respect their wishes not to have their child photographed if asked not to do so.

    This is why I photograph children that are strangers. No other reason. No hidden evil intent.

  47. Buffy July 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    “You do not need to be scared of pedophiles to not want your child on someone else’s facebook or blog.”

    Then what DO you need to be scared of? Because I am really at a loss to even think of one thing that can happen to my child if a friend posts his photos on their FB page.

  48. Rachel @ Wife, Then Mama July 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    I think I am crazy, because I don’t really care if a stranger is “amused” by a picture of me or my kids. Do I think its wrong? Um, yeah DUH. Do I think its completely morally reprehensible? Yup. Would I press charges if I knew about it? Yes. Would I allow said person around my kids if I knew about it? HELL NO!!! But, in all honesty its a victimless crime. If they are intentionally filming/photographing kids in states of undress or in inappropriate situations then they should be locked up and put on the sex offender registry as dangerous to kids. But if they happen to find a picture of my kid in the bathtub, and they don’t go stark raving mad and try to find them, or move on to actually harming kids, then it really doesn’t hurt anyone and I am not going to change my life based on a very tiny minority of people that are perverts.

    Please don’t misconstrue my comment, I don’t think that child pornography is okay, I think it is horrible. I don’t think that being “amused” by children is okay, I think its sick. But I don’t think that one person getting his jollies from a random picture of a child is a reason to keep all pictures of children off the internet/out of newspaper/off our cameras/etc.

  49. Beth July 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Someone asked “why would you want to take photos of stranger’s kids?”, or similar.

    *Because we’re at the beach and it’s crowded, and it’s really hard to isolate my kid from all the other kids in order to take his picture?
    *Because we’re at a soccer game, and there are lots of kids on the field, and it’s really hard to isolate my kid from all the other kids in order to take his picture?
    *Because we’re at a band concert, and it’s really hard to isolate my kid from all the other kids in the band in order to take his photo on the stage?

    I could go on. But suffice to say, it’s not all that odd to have stranger’s kids in your photos of your kid.

  50. Papilio July 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    Hah – re: photos of children in newspapers: last week or so my paper printed a picture of 4 12-year-old girls who jumped off some play device on the playground of the primary school they were about to leave – it was just symbolizing their going from little primary school student to big kid onsecondary school. They wore dresses, and if you looked closely at the legs of the girl on the very right, you could see part of her underwear. Then some morons sent letters to protest against the paper printing that picture, because please don’t let the pedophiles enjoy that picture!
    To which the paper replied that it was AND IS a very innocent picture and they certainly weren’t going to censurize their pictures even more than a random advertisement for kids’ underwear would do. A columnist later added that not every pedophile is a child rapist and vice versa, and most pedophiles don’t harm children, and if such a pedophile, who doesn’t watch kiddie porn and doesn’t touch kids, would enjoy that picture, so what? The only negative aspect of that is that it isn’t a pleasant *idea* that someone could look at pictures of *your* kids that way, but hey, the idea that your parents still have sex isn’t a pleasant idea for most people either…
    I couldn’t help but smile, reading those rational reactions :-)

    @Reziac: “A. Ruscak says, “I have to say when reading this how glad I am to be a European.””
    I hate to break it to you, but Scotland is part of Europe…”
    You might want to break that to the UK as well – they don’t seem to really consider themselves part of Europe either… (There’s the UK, and then for something completely different there’s “the Continent”.)

    @Dirk: I remember at least 1 instance when my picture was taken by (Asian) tourists as a (cute, blonde) kid. They still haven’t come back to kidnap me dammit 😛

  51. JKP July 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Mom Charged With Attacking Photographer for Taking Photos of Her Kids

    Most of the comments from other moms seem to agree with the spirit that the photographer was wrong for taking pictures without consent, and only grudgingly agree that the mom was wrong to take it as far as assault.

    I find it somewhat hypocritical that most of these same moms who think people need their consent to take pictures of their kids in public are probably also the same moms who buy tabloids where paparazzi take pictures of celebrities with their kids without getting consent.

  52. Michelle July 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    I was born in 1981, so I spent my whole childhood in the age of film, and my whole adulthood in the digital age. I became a hobbyist photographer a few years ago, but I mostly take photos of my kids. I still have TONS of photos of strangers, both taken by me and by my parents, grandparents, husband, kids, etc.

    A lot of them are more like acquaintances, people I knew for a few hours or days while on field trips, vacations, camping trips, and such. Others are people who just happened to be nearby at some important moment in my life, like a nurse (who I don’t even remember) who posed with my newborn baby and me. But there are also a ton of photos of complete strangers in costume or making some performance: mall Santas, performers at Ren Faire, kids on Halloween and – most recently – a whole album of costumed fans at Comicpalooza. Many of the latter also took photos of us. The two most memorable were a very young Spider-Man who was very proud of his costume, and a mom who tracked me down on Instagram to ask for a copy of a photo of her daughter.

  53. Owen Allen July 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    The Australian experience is still a little more open, however I note that we are always having the conversation when organising child related activities. Recently I created a big board game for a Children’s Festival Day designed by the Cairns City Council (equal of county / municipality). Because I wanted video interview and video documentary part of the activity and our review of it, I had a complete conversation with the organisers. I could see that we were both trying to ‘feel out’ where our views were, quite apart from policy. Eventually the organisers said they had a view that, because they always made photographic documentation of all activities – adult and children – being there was tacit approval. It gave me quite some relief that there was support for an open interaction with families. As to engaging children, there is hardly an easier way to illicit responses that ask a child to ‘talk to the camera’ – a part of our modern cultural associations.
    On the other hand, we put up signs saying, “We are not a child minding activity. Parents and guardians are responsible for their children.” We only had one parent in search of a child. The child was eventually found, happy and engrossed in another activity, and no one was distressed. I expect because it occurs to parents that their children are engaged and happy, ‘somewhere’ in this crowd.
    We can be alert as adults to the children around us, and, if we are just a bit alert (coz 99+% of us are gonna be okay) children will be safe from themselves (most likely), tigers(not in Australia :) but we have poisonous snakes, motor vehicles (very possible), and paedophiles. The herd will out if the community IS.

  54. Jennifer July 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Recently I was at Macy’s with my friends four kids 2 girls and 2 boys ages 4 5, 5, and 7 while I was looking at sweaters and old guy came up and waved at the kids and walked away a few minutes later his wife comes up to me and asks if her husband could take a picture with the children. As far as I could tell they were foreign probably from Europe (we live in Orlando so lots and lots of tourists) the children I was with happen to be black and are very beautiful kids. Anyways I thought what harm could it possibly be so sure and he took the picture and that was that. Meanwhile my friend was watching and made a joke about how the kids were celebrities and we should start charging to take pictures. My only regret was that I didn’t also take a picture as a souvenir of the old foreign guy at macy’s.

  55. CrazyCatLady July 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    I love looking at old photos of people, adults and kids. They don’t have to be related to me to be interesting. I like to see things that people do for work, for fun, hair styles, clothing styles, life styles, old cars, old cars…pretty much all of it.

    I am especially moved by some of the photos taken by photographers hired by the government, of people during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Sad, tired, thin women with hungry kids, people with all their belongings loaded on a truck. Starving cattle.

    What if these people didn’t want their photos taken? What about that Afghanistan girl who appeared on the cover of National Geographic? No, my kid is not likely to be on the cover of a magazine. Nor is anyone else here. But…some of those photos will be handed down to the future.

    But most of those digital photos, like the ones of the Halloween Trick or Treaters…they will be deleted by family or thrown out when the owner of the camera dies. The little snowflakes will be just fine. Someone wants to photograph your kid’s costume, be pleased that someone thought that you put a little effort into it.

  56. Donna July 25, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Asian tourists seem to like to take pictures of local kids. I’ve seen them take pictures of my daughter several times, most recently when we were in Honolulu on our way back from A. Samoa. My daughter climbed a large banyan tree and two different sets of asian tourtists stopped and took pictures of her sitting in it.

  57. SOA July 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    I had some Asian tourists in Disney World once snapping my picture. They also photographed the food and the trash can too though so I think they just like taking pictures of everything. The Asian tourist with the camera stereotype is pretty true.

    I had a woman at church I did not know ask to take a picture of my son. She really liked his red hair. I was kinda surprised by the request so I said okay. I was not worried about it being used for any nefarious purposes but it was odd. Odd does not equal dangerous though and people need to realize that.

    I don’t care if my kids get snapped in the background of someone’s pictures or used in media or put on facebook. My fb is private and I only have about 100 friends on there so when I post stuff I know only a few people are seeing it and it is people I trust.

    But just because I don’t have a problem does not mean I am not sympathetic to other people’s issues. Kids in foster care already have a hard enough life, I am not going to cause the kids or their foster parents more strife by being an ass about them asking for no pictures.

    Typically around here it is okay to take the pictures but they ask you don’t put them online without parents permission. That is the school policy and I am okay with that.

  58. J.T. Wenting July 26, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    With people like Dirk around, I can understand why people think it creepy to have men around their children.
    If people like Dirk were the norm around children I’d consider it creepy too to have men around children.

    Luckily in reality things are different, and most people (even men) aren’t creepy at all. But the few Dirks in society cause the rest of us to have to suffer…

  59. Quantum Mechanic July 26, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    Speaking of pictures on Halloween. Personally I think it’s wicked cool.


    SWAMPSCOTT — On Halloween night, Bob and Edye Baker’s front stoop will be jammed with people waiting to get inside. Young and old, costumed or in street clothes, they won’t be there for the candy — the Bakers don’t hand out any — or for haunted-house terrors.

    Instead, they will be there for the memories. But first they must document the present. So they will stop and pose for a photo and sign the logbook. Then they’ll grab cider and a doughnut and head for the main attraction: a floor-to-ceiling Halloween photo gallery documenting 40 years of Halloween visitors.

    The improbable neighborhood time capsule captures two generations of trick-or-treating visitors: winsome witches and mighty little superheroes, vampires, and princesses, some now grown with their own children — with all the photos labeled by name and year.

    “The point is to really see the progression as people get older,” says Edye Baker, 69, who began the tradition when her two children were young and who now has a 13-year-old granddaughter helping her keep it alive. “It’s always just seemed like a nice way to create memories.”

  60. no rest for the weary July 26, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    I was on vacation with my 8, 10, and 12 year old kids and we went to a super-cool water-park that had all kinds of neat slides, features, and a pool you could actually surf in! I just had to document the kids trying out that surfing pool. I asked the front desk where I could get the best angles without getting wet. They said I’d have to just go in and stand on the deck, and be sure I was mindful of where I was pointing my lens. “You mean you don’t want me taking photos of other people’s kids?” I asked rhetorically. She nodded solemnly.

    I have to say I was grateful to be let into a pool with a camera. The whole time I was taking photos I worried that some parent might come up and accost me, but hey, I don’t quite fit the standard profile of a “predator,” and happily, no one seemed to care. Still, I felt creepy about being there with my camera, knowing full well that the attitudes about kids in bathing suits + cameras has changed dramatically in recent years.

    So happy my kids are going to an independent school now where there’s a very tight community feeling, and no one seems bothered in the slightest about photos of kids. Contrast this with the public school, where every single year I had to fill out at least four different forms for each child granting my release for their photos to be used for this, for that, for the news to film them, etc. I just wanted to scrawl, “I DON’T GIVE A *&$!” on every one of those forms.

    I’d think that if someone had a big issue with photography or stalking or whatever, they would assert that to a school. Why do the rest of us (which I assume is nearly 100%) have to fill out all this paperwork just to say “I don’t care who photographs my kids or where the photos end up”? It seems so strange.

    I have a kid who can’t eat certain nuts. So I have to let the school know that. Okay, that’s fair. But should every other single parent have to fill out ten forms confirming that their child isn’t allergic to nuts, wheat, dairy, etc? Or is it enough to just check off “allergy” and specify? The whole documentation of passive release seems ridiculous to me.

  61. SOA July 26, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    I think it is really harsh to be mean about foster parents and foster kids and the picture thing. It is not the parents choice in that. They are legally bound not to allow the pictures. So should those poor kids that already have had a hard life because their parents are in jail or on drugs or abandoned them not be allowed to do stuff regular kids get to do like Girl Scouts or little league or go play in parks? Give those kids a break. Just edit them out of the picture or don’t post it online. They can have their pictures taken but they are not allowed to let them get online because their drug addicted mother could see it and use it to track them down. There is a good reason for that rule.

  62. pentamom July 26, 2014 at 9:06 am #


    Or, because we’re at the beach/soccer game/band concert and I want a picture of my kid in the context of what he was doing. Even if you could isolate your kid in those circumstances, what is the point of showing a kid standing all alone on a patch of grass — if you want a picture of him while he’s playing a team sport you want a picture of what the game looks like! A kid at a band concert doesn’t “look like” a kid sitting alone on a chair holding an instrument, it looks like a kid with an instrument surrounded by other kids with instruments. If you don’t have a picture of *that*, you don’t actually *have* a picture of your kid at a band concert.

    It’s ridiculous that people even have to ask “why would I want a picture of other kids” — it’s because your kid does things with other kids and so the things they do involve other kids and look like they have other kids in them. A picture of your kid doing certain things doesn’t look like a picture of your kid doing that thing unless there ARE other kids in it!

  63. photography is not a crime July 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    The ridiculous folks harping about custody issues and “witness protection programs” (LOL!!) are part of the problem. If there is too much risk in someone snapping a pic of a kid then there is too much risk to bring the kid anywhere in public.

    People that get worked up about photography in public are jerks, not photographers who don’t bother to secure permission they don’t need. You already gave photographers permission when you brought your kid out in public.

  64. Donna July 26, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    SOA – You really think some “drug addicted mother” is just going to happen upon my private Facebook page, notice that her child is in a picture playing with my child at the park and somehow hunt me down in hopes of me taking her to her child? Really?

    I’ve only been doing CPS cases for about a year, but I’ve yet to have a parent hunt down his/her children. I’m sure it happens, but it is an extreme rarity. In more than half of my cases, the kids are with family and the parents are very aware of where they are living. In the vast majority of others, the parents see their kids, talk to them on the phone, talk to the foster parents, can go to school meetings, talk to counselors, etc. It is the rare case that the parents have no contact or information about their children.

    I can understand a ban on FAMILY posting pictures, particularly in abuse cases as the family members may also be Facebook friends with the abuser(s) and I can see why that could be an issue. I certainly wouldn’t want to find out that my molester uncle was still getting happy with my pictures because grandma posts them on Facebook. But classmates, team mates, friends, etc. is ridiculous, but CPS has lots of ridiculous rules.

  65. Make Up A Law, It's Fun! July 26, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    There is no law against photographing foster children in public. Anyone who thinks there is can post a link to it because every municipality has their laws online.

    Some states have may a regulation against using foster children’s photographs in publicity or advertising and this regulation may only apply to people in the foster program. However, there is no law in any state that prohibits regular people not in the foster program from photographing foster children in public.

    Please stop making up laws because they sound like a good idea to you. At the same time, stop making up insurance requirements.

  66. Mrs. H. July 26, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    I WISH my daughter’s school had a photography ban. I could barely see the winter music show because of all the dingbats standing in the aisles to film or even holding full-size iPads over their heads to videotape. I’d rather have had one sneaky pedophile in the back row than all those adoring parents in front of me!

  67. Donna July 26, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    @Make Up a Law –

    I don’t think anyone said it was a law. CPS has many rules that are not laws, but to which people caring for children in CPS custody must adhere in order to keep those kids. For example, it is not against the a law for children to be in a home with guns or go hunting. It is against CPS rules for a foster child to be in the presence of a gun (at least in my state).

    I don’t know if there is truly a CPS rule against allowing the posting pictures of foster kids or not. I’ve never had it come up. I’ve also never heard of it anywhere except here. I was just commenting on the ridiculous nature of it if there is.

  68. pentamom July 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    “Every municipality has their laws online.”

    Not true. The township in which my father-in-law serves as supervisor (and which is certainly “a municipality”) doesn’t even have a website, let alone all its ordinances online.

    Make up a fact, it’s fun!

  69. Andy July 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    @Mrs. H. Would be the “cameras are restricting view of those behind you, be considerate and move either on the side or to the last rows or crouch in front if you want to take videos” rule good enough for you?

    I find the rules that take account interests of all parties much better then blanked rules that restrict too much in order to solve relatively small annoyance.

    @K Did you told that lady she is restricting your view? Informal solutions work often enough (although not always) to be worth trying before going nuclear option that will restrict dozens of other parents too.

  70. SOA July 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    I am not the one that made up the restriction. I am just saying if someone was under orders by CPS to not allow pictures of their foster children to be put online, I would happily abide by that. I do know some foster parents are required to do that.

    You would be surprised what some nutty parents do. My BFF is raising her nephew because his parents are both on drugs and very neglectful. The 2 year old was driving down a major highway in his powerwheels and the mother was passed out on drugs on the couch and had no idea. Someone got him and turned him to CPS. This is a case where CPS is exactly right to intervene.

    The parents were given 100 chances to get clean and pass a drug test so they could get him back and can’t do it. Nor do they really show much want to do so. The mother did not even show up for many of her visitations so they even took away her scheduled visitations. My friend did not really want to raise her nephew but she had no choice. It was that or he goes to foster care.

    Even with her being family she is ordered by the court to follow all kinds of dumb rules like her brother (the child’s father) may not sleep in the same house as his son ever. So no overnights at Grandma and Grandpa’s where her brother lives. There are a lot of random arbitrary rules they are making her follow. Things that regular parents don’t have to do.

    And she actually has the child’s mother and her family following my friend around trying to get pictures of her doing something not allowed so they can try to get custody switched to their side of the family. Even though if she just gave up drugs she could have him back for good. But she won’t do that.

    They have even talked about taking him across the border into Mexico and kidnapping him from my BFF. So my BFF had to go get a passport for him and make sure that only her and her father were on the approved list to be able to take him out of the country.

    Foster parents have a bunch of stupid hoops they have to jump through and its a pain in the ass and my heart goes out to them. It is not easy. So it makes me angry that someone is going to be an ass to them and give them even more trouble than they are already going through.

    My friend had to basically drop out of school for awhile to deal with this situation of her nephew getting put with her full time. It kinda threw her life for a whirlwind. So if she tells me she can’t do such and such legally with him, I abide by it. She needs all the help she can get.

  71. Rachel @ Wife, Then Mama July 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    I am a foster parent, non-relative, and what we were told in our classes is that the children may not be used in any advertising, and (I specifically asked, because I love taking pictures) that any pictures we put on our Facebook, Instagram, etc. cannot include their names or the fact that they are foster children. I keep mine private (which I do with my pictures anyways) and if I choose to post a picture of them on my blog, I always blur their face or take it from an angle where their face isn’t showing. We were not required to keep them private, so far as I was told, and most of the caseworkers you talk to have no idea what the rules are in regards to pictures, other than the advertising. The only time I ask people to not take pictures is if I am fairly sure that the could be used in advertising (such as when we were on vacation at a conference center and staff were taking pictures) or if a business uses their picture on Facebook. For example once my friend’s dog was missing, and her groomer posted a picture of the dog with my foster baby to help her find it. Since it was a business using his picture I asked that they take it down, because its not worth having my foster babies removed from my home so an adorable picture can be used to find a dog. She found her dog quite quickly even after the picture came down. These babies are in foster care for good reason (not because they were playing outside alone, or left in a car for 10 minutes on a coolish day, or something foolish like that) and I love them like my own. If they were my kids would I be opposed to those things? No, not at all. But I would be if it could lead to them being removed from my home.

  72. Rachel @ Wife, Then Mama July 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    One more thing: I am 99% sure that they told us that they cannot be published in newspapers. Since we don’t do newsworthy things, and the kids are to little to be involved in activities where it could be an issue, like sports, scouts or school, I didn’t pay a ton of attention to that little bit of information.

  73. Beth July 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    @Pentamom, you said what I was trying to say much more eloquently!

  74. Stacy July 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    I’ve never run into a photography ban in our community, but I have thought about the facebook issue. Plenty of people have photographed and videotaped my kids at events and posted it on facebook, which I actually appreciate. Once, our littlest interrupted her sibling’s band concert. The poor music teacher actually responded to her in the middle of the concert. I am so glad someone captured that memory and shared it with us and everyone else. :) We let the newspaper photograph our kids at community events, so obviously I’m not concerned about “strangers” seeing my kids’ photos. Not sure how it’s different from strangers seeing my kids in public? However, I have known other moms who have gotten very angry at their own parents for posting normal, fully dressed photos of the grandkids. I don’t understand the concern? Foster children are a completely different, understandable issue. There are situations in which biological relatives should not be told where the kids are. There are other rare situations in which privacy is essential, for example when there’s an abusive parent who doesn’t have custody. But otherwise, what exactly is the concern?

  75. Stacy July 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    “Mom Charged With Attacking Photographer for Taking Photos of Her Kids

    That is a scary story. About two decades ago, I was a college student taking photographs for a newspaper. Kids always make the best photos at community events, but you have to catch them being natural. I did not ask for permission before taking photos, but I always got an adult’s consent and the names of the children before submitting the photos for publication. I don’t remember any parent saying no. It was more likely the families would buy multiple copies for relatives.

  76. anonymous mom July 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I think the fundamental problem may be that we’ve become such an anti-child culture in many ways that the idea that an adult might simply enjoy being around a child has become incredibly foreign to us. We find it more likely that an adult is approaching our child out of malice or perversion than out of simply kindness and friendliness, because we can’t imagine anybody actually WANTING to just be kind or friendly to a child, with no ulterior motive. But reality is that many people just enjoy children. They like being around them and watching them and talking to them and even sometimes hugging them or picking them up. These are things many people have always enjoyed, and it’s only very recently we’ve come to see an interest in children as being fundamentally “sick” or “perverted” or “creepy.”

    I come from a big Italian Catholic family of people–men and women–who love babies and kids. Love them. My kids go out to see our extended family, and it’s non-stop laps and hugs and kisses, even from pretty distant relatives. It’s not weird or creepy or aberrent; it’s how many people have responded to babies and small children, always, especially people from cultures that see children as blessings rather than simply burdens. So I don’t think anything weird is up if a couple of college kids in a coffeeshop want to draw pictures with my kids for a while, or when an older person in church wants to give my kids a hug, or when we go to a friend’s birthday party and their extended family ends up passing my kids around for hugs and kisses, or when a neighbor with grown kids drops off toys for my kids to play with. None of that is weird or creepy or wrong: it’s well within the range of normal, especially for some cultures, and doesn’t signal any ill-intent toward a child at all.

    Not to mention, kids are cute. People like to take and look at cute pictures. I enjoy looking at pictures my friends on FB post of their kids. It’s not because I’m some sicko who sexually gratifies myself while looking at them, but because their kids are cute and their pictures make me smile. Just like, when people like seeing pictures of my kids, I assume it’s because my adorable children make them smile, not because there’s something wrong with them. Just like I can enjoy looking at pictures of baby animals without being into bestiality, people can enjoy looking at pictures of babies and children without being pedophiles.

    But, we’re just so conditioned to believe that nobody likes or wants kids, that kids are a nuisance and a burden, that normal people might tolerate their own children but certainly wouldn’t willingly or eagerly spend time with anybody else’s kids, that we jump to the conclusion that anybody–especially a male–who shows any desire to be around children is a pervert or a danger. And that’s just really sad, and I think it says more about how negatively we view children–as if they are such a bother and burden that the only reason we can fathom anybody who wasn’t legally-obligated to treat them decently to do so is if they have some deviant or nefarious intent–than anything else.

  77. Buffy July 26, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Excellent post anonymous mom. So very, very true.

  78. k July 26, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Andy–yes, I asked her to please lower her phone so I could see. She gave me a nasty look then ignored me. She then whispered to her husband, who got out HIS phone and held it up so it obstructed the view of my father, who was sitting next to me.

    And it’s not like it was just this one lady. Multiple people walked up the center aisle and stood in front of children who were trying to file in to their spots. One father stood right behind the music director while the fourth grade sang and videoed over her shoulder the whole time.

    A friend who photographs weddings constantly has trouble with people with phones or iPads getting in her way.

    It’s too much. Your desire to get a photo or video of your loved one or child doesn’t trump everyone else’s right to enjoy the event.

  79. K2 July 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    I think a lot of these performances could be professionally videotaped and then everyone could enjoy the performance. Like it or not that one foster kid or whoever that has the issue with pictures is in the pictures that nearly all of the parents take anyway, so why not have a decent copy available to everyone and sit down and enjoy it. The foster kid might like to have a few memories too.

  80. hineata July 27, 2014 at 5:24 am #

    @Donna and SOA – yep, if you want to get photos at an event, it pays to find an Asian….God bless stereotypes, they can be really useful!

    Seriously, as I’ve written before, my husband takes photos of all sorts of people and things in all kinds of places, and has never had any issues – an Asian with a camera seems to be like a Scotsman with a kilt or an older Kiwi bloke with a jug or flagon :-).

    @Dirk – am interested that you find it weird that tourists want to take photos of your kids. I love taking photos of random strangers when travelling – it adds to the scenery. Usually random strangers want their photos taken with my kids, so it goes both ways :-).

    Who cares, Dirk, if you think you have no ‘connection’? Try chatting to them, you might be surprised at how connected you could be. There is an old joke in NZ that while 6 degrees of separation are the general rule, you’ll find only 2 here – get two random Kiwis meeting on the Underground in London, say, and within five minutes they’ll find they share an acquaintance ( or a great-aunt :-) ) in Eketahuna (Eketawhere?!). Give it a go, you might find your great-uncle’s cousin came from the same fishing village in Ireland or some such….it’s lots of fun :-).

  81. Andy July 27, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    @K What can I say? Some people are just jerks. Including that lady.

  82. Omer Golan-Joel July 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    This is fascism. The basic idea is to keep everyone suspicious at everyone else all the time. This helps the ruling clique control everything, turn each and every citizen into a spy for the government for free.

  83. Dirk July 28, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    hineata, I don’t want to talk to the asian (it is almost always asian tour groups) tourists that try to touch my toddler hair and take their pictures every time we go into the city. They try to take pictures of my children every where we go. Can’t even sit in an ice cream parlor window because they stop and look at the cute kids and snap a picture. It is weird.

  84. Dirk July 28, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    I said this elsewhere but it makes sens to say it here too.

    Despite the nostalgia that some people feel taking pictures of strangers has always been a risky venture and prone to annoyance and anger from people. Take a look at this history. Says it all…

    Jacques Henri-Lartigue was a street photographer, who shot a lot of photographs in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. He grew up in a wealthy family, and started photographing at a very young age. He documented much of his privileged life men racing in cars, people flying in planes, and fancy dressed people. He kept a diary where he outline what happened that day and the pictures he took (without permission). In it he talks about how people would get angry at him for taking their picture. Here is a quote.

    “She: the well-dressed, eccentric, elegant, ridiculous or beautiful woman I’m waiting for… there she comes! I am timid… I tremble a little. Twenty meters… ten meters.. five meters… click! My camera makes such a noise that the lady jumps, almost as much as I do. That doesn’t matter, except when she is in the company of a big man who is furious and starts to scold me as if I were a naughty child…”

  85. Jill July 28, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Anonymousmom nailed it.
    And Kate, while it may seem heartless to refuse to help a little girl get dressed while her mom was occupied elsewhere, I made a decision based on my best judgement at the time. The mom has psychiatric issues and had previously asked if she could come and live in my house. She also accused another volunteer of being possessed by the Devil during a weird incident involving coffee creamer. So, no, I wasn’t going to dress her kid. Although if there had been another volunteer there, I would have.

  86. Christina July 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    …”all children who visit an accident-and-emergency unit in a hospital will be logged on a new national database set up to identify potential victims of abuse.” I have two extremely active seven years old boys. We have been to the ER at least once per year pretty much from year 1. I am clearly screwed.

  87. QB July 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    A few years ago, we went hiking in Vermont (we live here). It was a beautiful day and at one point my son decided to try to cross a log over a very shallow brook. He was wearing bright red pants and it was a beautiful lush green. It was one of those amazing photographic moments. There was another man there who had a nice camera and began to take photos of my son. Before I could get my own camera out, my son fell off the log and into the (very, very cold)brook below. I went to get him. He was fine, but wet and cold. The man came to me and told me he had gotten a shot and if I wanted it, he would email it to me. It was a great shot because guess what- he was a National Geographic Editor and photographer. Now I have a beautiful photo of my son at that moment that I would never have been able to have. (I also have a great story of him hiking out barefoot and in underpants).

  88. hineata July 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    @Dirk – well, sorry, but I find your attitude weird. Have you never travelled? Try being friendlier, you might begin to enjoy people….

    And try remembering that those annoying Asian tourists add a lot of money to the local economy.

  89. JP Merzetti July 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    “The tragedy is that the best way to protect children is to cultivate their aspiration for independence and autonomy. It is through the experience gained from engaging with the world that children gain the resources to manage risks and develop strategies for dealing with threats to their personhood. Sadly, in the current climate of child protection, parents are discouraged from doing precisely what is likely to provide their kids with the existential security they need to make their way in the world.”

    Just this alone says so much.

    When I was nine years old and a mile or two or three away from home, how safe or unsafe was I?
    My father would have answered: “Depending on how much of a resource of personal common sense I’d learned – otherwise, as safe as anybody else.”
    The point being: the actual physical and mental exercise of learning.

    Do we wish to defer this to professional bodyguards? Hand it all over to a police/security state?
    (As if all that wasn’t as ridiculously unrealistic as it actuall happens to be.)

    But still….what leaves me most incredulous about all this – is the remembrance of how I and most all of my friends…..CRAVED personal freedom. To go. To be. To have a break. To be in our own safe and sane zone. Alone. Or with each other, and absolutely NO adult intervention.
    We weren’t crazy. We weren’t criminal. We weren’t incorrigible. And we also weren’t at risk.
    (repeat that last sentence.)

    So where has all that craving gone? Devolved out of the species?

    The only risk we actually would have been in…..would have come from our own stupid mistakes that we were already smart enough (at 6,7,8,9….) to not make.
    Because we had learned.
    Because we were allowed to learn.
    Because actually……….society expected us to do that very thing: learn how to be smart enough to be as independent as we were.
    That bar had been raised before I was even born.
    And where has it gone now?

    But here’s a thought:
    In my little (big) town, in my very safe and very urban neighborhood and community….the layout of the land is such that it invites considerable pedestrian mobility. It just rolls out the red carpet for that.
    Consequently, there are kids everywhere, of remarkably young ages, in some cases – just boogeying around to beat the band.
    On their own. In pairs, groups. They do this constantly, within certain time frames of the day.
    And, long as they live where they live – they will continue to do this until they’re old enough to leave home.

    Kids in the suburban sprawl decidedly do NOT do this. (They can’t really…..it’s a mess for human foot traffic.)

    So one wonders: when it comes time for all these youngsters to compete upon the world stage, for educations, for jobs, for livlihoods, and all the rest…….
    who will the winners be?
    The independent, truly self-actualized?
    Or the hand-held overprotected?

    Just a thought…..

  90. JP Merzetti July 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    ah, anonymous mom,

    Truly words of wisdom.
    Actually enjoying children. Who’d have thought???

    Kids knock me out.
    As a mature man, there are these nagging little stereotypes that tend to blot out the escutcheon at times….
    but I just laugh it off and tell all and sundry the best reason there is, to absolutely adore children.

    They are, after all, our future.
    Without them….we are as doomed as dinosaurs.

  91. Dirk July 29, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Hi hineata, Travelled? Yep. A ton of US states, Canada, Mexico, Purto Rico, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy…

    I am friendly and have met plenty of people. At pubs, festivals, museums, etc. I have a few shots of people and of me and people I have just met. Having met them, and having a few beers, a pic was taken etc.

    Walking past a stranger and taking their picture is unusual and off putting to most people these days. Try it! Go outside today with your phone and take the picture of a 100 individual people without permission. See how many people enjoy it. That will tell you what percent find it weird.

  92. Becca O July 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    Everybody keeps talking about foster kids not having there photo’s posted but that is not the case in my state. The rule is that they can’t be labeled as a foster child. I can’t sign a modeling release but that’s because I am not the guardian the social worker is I can’t sign a medical release either.

  93. Wait? August 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Wait a minute. Let’s assume your child was photographed. Okay, no biggie so far. Even if we lose all common sense and disregard the fact that most adults aren’t paedophiles…. do you really think said pedo is going to sit there masturbating to said child’s photograph in public?

    I don’t. They may go home and do so but…so what? As much as it might make your skin crawl, it won’t hurt your child. If it’s up on a porn site, then yeah, you have every right to be mad. But it’s still not because pedo hysteria!

    It’s because future employers do check for umm… unseemly pics on tje wen before they hire someone. That’s also a reason to be cross with a teen’s friend posting a pic of your drunk teen on facebook though. Or your teen getting drunk in the first place. Pick one.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if people are paedos. No such thing as a convicted paedo. idiots.