Why Would You EVER Put Your Child’s Photo on Facebook for the CREEPS to See?!?

That’s what scared folks ask all the time, believing that predators have a lot more patience than the rest of us and are willing to look through ALL those family photos, just to glimpse your adorable child and plan a trip across several state lines to kidnap him/her.

Next time you hear all that, remind them of this story.

As Free range reader Michael in California points out: “Thanks to Facebook, a child is alive:  Win.  The mother has a live child, not a dead one:  Win.  The friend who noticed the problem knows she saved a life:  Win.

“Child’s picture on Facebook:  Win, win, win.”

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70 Responses to Why Would You EVER Put Your Child’s Photo on Facebook for the CREEPS to See?!?

  1. Uly October 18, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    BTW, have you read “Museum of Thieves” yet? You’re gonna want to.

  2. Paul Turnbull October 18, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Add in that typically only your friends can see photos you post on FaceBook and that more people saw the little girl’s picture in that news story than ever saw it on FaceBook.

  3. Elizabeth October 18, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    The people who say this don’t understand how Facebook works, either. With your privacy settings properly set up the only people who can see your pictures are the people you have added as friends. Ergo, if you are afraid your kid’s pictures will be stalked by creeps then you have creeps for friends already and the picture issue should not be your primary concern…

  4. pentamom October 18, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Add to that the fact that if your child leaves the house, he’s equally likely to be “stalked by creeps” (which, incidentally, is not very likely, but that’s beside the point.)

    There’s nothing magical about the computer that makes a child more vulnerable, except that (depending where you post things) more people can see the picture over time. But so what — do you not take your children to large public gatherings when all kinds of people can see them? Or are you dumb enough to tag your kids’ pictures with their name, address, and route home from school?

  5. Veelana October 18, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    I have no trouble putting my kids photos up on the internet! I even post them on my blog wich has no privacy settings like facebook – my kids are adorable, why shouldn’t I show the world? My son is featured in some of my etsy product pictures, too…
    And honestly, why would some random person pick my kids, really? If he/she wants to pick up a kid they don’t know (and that is really, REALLY rare) they will probably look somewhere close by, and the internet is a really bad place for finding someone close by. Its far more likely to find someone outside your own state or even your country…

  6. EricS October 18, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting pics of your children on FB. But just like life, there is common sense and responsibility involved using FB. As others here have mentioned, know how to use the security features of FB. Set your profile to be only accessible to your friends only. Never use your real name. And never post anything on FB (or online for that matter) that you don’t want the world to know or see.

    For those people who fear that posting pics will cause someone to start stalking your children, if they are going to be stalked, FB is the least of your worries. As they would have already planned it out even before accessing your FB pics. But the chances of someone stalking your child is pretty remote. There is no need to live a life of “constantly looking over your shoulder”.

  7. Kacie October 18, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I agree with Eric S.

  8. SKL October 18, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    I am not worried about random strangers wanting to steal my kids (maybe when they were little and quiet, LOL). But I rarely post a photo of them online, and even when I do, it’s as anonymous as I can reasonably make it. It’s not strangers but known weirdos from my past whom I don’t need in my business, especially where my kids are concerned. And although you can set privacy settings and all that, your “friends” can still show your photos to others, etc. And there is a wide range in the way people screen for “friends.” In fact, if I had a facebook page, I would probably “friend” some people I have never met in real life, because I enjoy chatting with them on the internet. (I have sent my kids’ photo to one such person – eek!)

    The other thing is that it’s my kids’ privacy I’m messing with. I think it’s odd that many people will use their kids’ photos to identify themselves on the internet. Whatever reason you have for not showing your own face, why doesn’t it apply to your kid? I also feel a bit uncomfortable when parents publish all kinds of things about their kids that they would never want told about themselves. Like “my 4-year-old poops in his bed every night.” Really? One time someone actually posted that a certain adopted child was the “product of a rape.” People, these kids have to go to school and face their peers in a few short years. What possible benefit can there be in posting that kind of information? I hope that most parents first ask themselves “would I want to read this post about myself someday?”

  9. Larry Harrison October 18, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    SKL. I have to respectfully disagree. The way I see it, as the parent, I have every unquestioned right to publish whatever photos of my children I deem fit. They don’t get a vote, especially if they’re really young–say, age 8 or under. What in the heck is the fun in having kids if you can’t do this?

    I am not referring necessarily to the “product of a rape” example, I do find that somewhat shocking of a thing that someone would publish. All I am saying is when some people confront you about “have you thought about your child–you mean they don’t get a vote on whether you publish that photo of them or not?” my response is–that’s exactly right, they DON’T get a vote, nor should they.

    (Somewhere around the age of, say, 13 or so, I’d start consulting them though, I think.)

    More on-topic: I most certainly totally poo-poo the idea that one is risking danger to their child posting their photos online. Horse-puckey. As one person said, I myself also publish them outside of Facebook, totally wide-open. While I totally advocate free choice, I’m actually somewhat troubled by people using Facebook instead of, say, Flickr or PBase to publish their photos, they’re “locking down” as it were, setting it to where only family-friends can see photos, and yet real names are used.

    I much prefer to publish my photos wide-open, with no fear, yet at the same time a “user name” is there vs my name. It becomes much like any other classic photo presentation–tons of photos where no one is really much concerned about who is who & so forth, it’s just a bunch of interesting photos for people to enjoy, period. And no, they’re not “geotagged” either.


  10. kherbert October 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    LRH – I put pics on facebook for the family. I use my flickr account to archive them (as well as carbonite).

  11. Highwayman October 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm #


    “it’s [any] kids’ privacy [we’re] messing with.”

    “I hope that most parents first ask themselves ‘would I want to read this post about myself someday?'”

    I agree with you 100%.

    PS: For those of you wondering about the punctuation [ ] , those square brackets mean a word added or replaced within a quotation to foster greater clarity, but without robbing the essence of the sentence .

  12. Paula October 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    It doesn’t help with paental paranoid about any one taking pictures of their little darlings I found this on another board

    and where do you think some perps get their child victims at, public places.. not just privately owned places. Do you think that it is impossible for a child molester to be in Disney at any given time, with his camera snapping away “innocently” taking pictures of children.. get real, this can happen. Disney is magical only in the eye of the beholder, it is a real place.. and real things can & do happen. There was a case where a child was held captive in a room at Port Orleans being molested. Disney is a playground for a perp….(it turns out the perp was her adoptive father not a stranger)
    There was also a case where a man pulled down a young girls bathing suit at one of the water parks.. again, a public place. No, you don’t expect privacy but when one is outwardly taking pictures of your child, you do have to wonder, and question. If someone was doing that to my child, I would report them to the nearest CM and let them handle it. Sorry, but I don’t take my children lightly…and I am not a over protective parent. What is mine is mine and unless you ask, you have no business taking a picture of them… simple as that.
    What if the “innocent” picture taker was stopped by a CM and it turned out he had various snap shots of children from there through out the day, do you think he is not going to be questioned by the authorities? That is how some get caught.. you just never know..

    Mind you this is how one person claims they would deal with a person who uses a bad word near their little precious

    LOL, same here, my day at that park would have been over right there and the other guy would have left on a stretcher!! Some people are way to passive…The OP mentioned the foul language in front of her child, when i hear that, i give ONE warning and let them know i dont want my children to hear that ( especially in a Disney Park) and if they persist, its lights out for them. When i am done with them, its a sure bet they will never do that again!!!!

  13. paul October 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Here’s an update on the uber paranoid school my kids go to, the one where I got chastised for allowing my kids to actually WALK to school (OMG).

    As VP of the PTA, I’ve organized a fundraising event, and needed a photo of the school. After asking the principal, who had none, I came back the next day, stood out in front of the school and took a few pictures before picking up my kids. A few minutes later, a police car arrives, sirens blaring.

    I was informed that “in the interest of public safety”, I could not take photos of a public school while standing on a public sidewalk. Yes, you read this correctly.

    The officer told me if I deleted all the pictures he would “let it go this time”. I flatly refused, as it’s my right to take whatever pictures I damn well please in public. I was told that people are worried about what I might do with picture that have unsuspecting children. I told the police “Your arresting people because of what they “might” do in the future now? What is this, Minority Report?”

    Luckily all was cleared up once I insisted on talking to the school principal. Seems it was a “concerned parent” who called. The cop left by stating “Well just be more careful next time. You can never be too careful when it comes to children.” Um, yes you can, you paranoid freak.

  14. Dragonwolf October 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    To all those talking about Facebook’s privacy settings, if you post anything that isn’t already public, make sure you check your settings frequently. Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerburg, has no respect for people’s choices in privacy (Facebook’s predecessor was a “hot or not” type site that he populated with pictures he obtained by hacking into Harvard’s database that stores confidential student ID information), and Facebook is well-known for overwriting people’s settings through updates.

  15. Ginger Leigh October 18, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    So, who’s calling my friends “creeps” ?!?

    As mentioned above, I control who sees what on my FB page.

    It’s even fine-tuned enough you can tailor the audience for individual posts.

    If it weren’t for facebook, I’d never know what my cousin’s kids look like!

  16. Jill October 18, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    I’m usually with you on the misplaced zeal to protect our children, but in this case, I opt for caution. And I don’t think a completely freak case of someone noticing something important in a child’s photo bears any relationship to the question of whether children’s photos should be there to begin with. (Isn’t this blog entirely about how we shouldn’t shape our lives around things that almost never happen?)

    And SKL is completely in the right. You might indeed have the unquestioned authority to post whatever you like about your children, but keep in mind, every time you hit the upload button or type information, that what you are doing could have virtual permanence. It often lives somewhere on the internet waiting for your child’s friends and co-workers to find. This doesn’t mean you should never do it – just show a little restraint!

  17. lsjonline October 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    I actually manage my privacy settings so only people on a specific list can see the galleries with pictures of my kids. The list has on my family members and friends who are real world friends not just facebook friends. It’s not difficult to do, but it seems that sadly very few people use this easy fix.

  18. Star October 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    My friend says she won’t join facebook because she doesn’t want pictures of her kids out there. First of all, you don’t have to post pictures of your kids if you’re that uncomfortable.

    And I agree about all the opportunities these “creeps” might have of taking pictures of your kids in public places, like Disney World. Who knows who has your kid in the background of your pictures? It is impossible to control in public places who might be taking pictures of your kid and I think most are harmless. My friend dressed her daughter cutely like a Disney character at Disneyland and someone took her picture without asking and my friend asked them to delete the photos. I’m sure it was all innocent because she looked so cute but it seems a little extreme to me to have her delete the photos. But I don’t kow.

  19. Paul C October 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    The point isn’t about how you set your privacy in Facebook, or Facebook at all, the issue is why is it dangerous to put innocent pictures of your kids on the internet? The truth is, it’s 100% harmless.

  20. Claudia Conway October 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    I don’t really get the not putting picture up thing, though I hear of plenty of people doing it. In the UK I don’t think anyone avoids it because they think it means their child could be abducted, but more because ‘anyone could get hold of that picture and do something horrible with it (especially if the child is in swimwear, naked etc)

    I have to say, that doesn’t get to me, quite aside from the fact only friends can look at my pics, because what you don’t know is not really going to hurt you or your child. It’s a gross thought that some random person might be perving over a pic of you or your child, but it’s a miserable damn world where I can’t share a picture because a tiny minority of people are wrong in the head like that.

  21. pentamom October 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    It’s true there are a lot of personal reasons why someone might not want to put their kids’ photos on Facebook — some people are just more private, some are concerned about future embarrassment coming back to haunt the kids, or whatever. But none of those make it “dangerous” and the person who wrote the moron comment has fears that are really no more grounded than monsters under the bed.

    And I’m with SKL over Larry — I certainly have the “right” to do anything non-harmful and legal on behalf of my kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wisest course to always assert that right. We shouldn’t always be deferring to our kids in everything, and in fact for very young children, it’s probably better not to defer to them on many things, but it could be a reasonable and proper decision to defer to their feelings or interests in some areas.

  22. LauraL October 18, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    I’d rather have someone perving over a PHOTO than my actual child.

    I post pics of my kids all the time. I’m sorry but I don’t think my kids are *the ones* to get some stranger’s attention on the internet to the point of physically tracking them down.

    My eldest is online a lot and we talk about chat, etc. RIght now she’s still assuring me that she only chats with people she actually knows from school. She’s well aware of the few instances where a teenage girl’s been taken when ‘meeting’ someone in person.

  23. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    I am with Paul C, posting photos of your children online is just about virtually harmless. Why be so fearful of it?

    We covered this already somewhat in the older post about “when is it going to become illegal to take photos of kids in public.” A photo of your child online isn’t going to lead to the death of your child. Also, as for “public place” situations–I have every right to take photos of other people’s kids in public, every right–and at times, as a hobbyist photographer who sometimes tries (with little success, granted) to mimic the words of Henri Cartier-Bresson (Wikipedia that for more), I have in fact done so. I’m not a paparazzi-type by any means, but I have seen cute smiles which I in turn capture. If it turns out well, I will even often-times show the parent & give them my contact information so they can have a copy for themselves.

    That’s perfectly legal, and I don’t mean to be a jerk, I really don’t–but if that makes you uncomfortable, you need to relax, big-time. The world of street photography isn’t going to stop because you’re unnecessarily nervous, nor should it. Museums wouldn’t be full of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work if it really were perverted.

    And no, I am not going to ask my child, who is underneath me & my wife in authority of the house, for permission with these types of things. I understand one’s desire to not humiliate in a terrible way, and as parents we shouldn’t reign down like Thor or Napoleon, but my wife & I as the parents are in charge and expect to be acknowledged by them as such. We may ask how a child feels, let them express their thoughts, but we make the final choice. Period.

    Don’t forget, I’m free-range when it comes to letting the kids play and adventure, but with just about anything else–I don’t let them forget, they answer to me and my wife in everything.

    In fact, our 3½ year-old actually doesn’t like her picture taken sometimes (at other times she’ s cooperative without a problem), and often-times when that’s the case I don’t make anything of it (especially if she’s sick or that sort of thing)–but if she is too whiny or sassy “you’re not going to take my picture!”, or keeps getting down from the pose to play when we’re only wanting her to stay still just for a bit, does this as if she has the right to tell me I’m not going to–it only makes me more determined that I’m going to do it anyway, and to punish her as well, because to me, she doesn’t have the right of refusal.

    To me, as the child you earn the privilege (not right) of playing by first sitting still just for a moment so we can take a photo. Then, we’ll release you to play–free-range, even, much more freedom of play than most parents will give you. Show some respect for it–and cooperate just for a minute, or else you’ll find out–the parent giveth, the parent taketh away.

    Other parents are real big on “if they don’t feel like it, I’m not going to push it,” and that’s their choice, and many a time I myself am that way–but she better not be sassy or stubborn about it, as if she has the right to tell me or my wife that we aren’t going to do it. Do that, and you will get it big-time.


  24. Pamala October 19, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    My Facebook is private to only those I know. So I don’t worry on that end. I don’t even worry about what I post on my blog. I’m not posting photos that will embarrass my children so why would I be concerned about it at all? If I’m going to be afraid of someone looking at them wrongly every time I’d probably not even let them out of the house.

  25. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    PS (I’m sorry), Paul–I congratulate on standing your ground with the whole photographing-the-school thing. Yes indeed, you can be too careful, and the parent who called-in was absolutely wrong to do so. This whole don’t take pictures of my kid, you pervert! mentality–especially in your situation where you’re just trying to take a photo of the school–is just ridiculous. I’m delighted to hear you took a stand rather than kow-towing (however you spell that).

    And again I made a typo–it was supposed to say the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson, not words.


  26. EricS October 19, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    @ Larry: your old school thinking. That’s what my folks used to do to me and my siblings. I know the embarrassment. I would post pics of my kids if I thought they were post worthy, but if they asked me to take them down, I would respect them and do so. Just because they are kids, doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings and say in the matter.

    Your posts seem like you put kids beneath you. To each their own I guess, but that’s (as my nephew would say) “not very nice”. It’s your kids that will ultimately be affected by your decisions and how you treat them. They learn a lot from parents, even if the parent isn’t aware of what they are teaching their kids. I’m not a Dr. Phil fan, but some of the things he talks about is spot on. As he says, “you are not raising children you are raising adults, and everything you do today impacts what kind of adult your child will become. You are building the future.”

    The one thing needs to remember, is it isn’t about them, it’s about their kids. Just because it’s what YOU want, doesn’t mean you have to force it on your kids. Actions like this only lead to resentment as the child gets older.

  27. SKL October 19, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    Larry, I wasn’t even talking about my kids’ right to decide this or that. I don’t ask my kids what I’m allowed to do, no way no how. But I respect the people they are growing up to be. Every time I see someone go public about potty training woes, I think, gosh, I’m glad there isn’t something on the internet about every time I crapped myself. My brother probably feels the same way about his tantrums, my sister about her struggles with diet. As is often noted here, we’re not raising children, we are raising adults.

    I have nothing against posting an occasional cute photo of the members of your family. But I still wonder why some feel more comfortable posting their kids’ pics than their own. Why is that? To those of you who won’t freely post pics of yourselves as adults, what is your reasoning? Does it apply to your kids, or not? If not, why not?

    Personally I don’t do it because I don’t feel the need to. If I want someone to have photos of my kids, I’ll send them an email, or if I want to share a lot of them, I’ll bring a “stick” full of photos to our next gathering. I certainly don’t feel like my kids and I are missing out on anything important. I also don’t think society would be that much better off for seeing pics of my kids. I mean, they aren’t Suri Cruise, right?

  28. EricS October 19, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    SKL, I think the mentality of parents posting pics of their kids is to show them off. Some because they are just proud and want to share that. While some do it because it makes them feel good to get compliments about their “trophy” children (thinking about themselves first). All though I don’t post pics of my nephew, I would consider myself of the “proud and want to share” type. But first and foremost, I always think over the repercussions. Is my sister and bro in law going to be ok with it? Is it going to paint a negative light on my nephew? Am I doing this for my own gratification or is it beneficial to all involved?

  29. Dragonwolf October 19, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Just another FYI to those who use Facebook but try to keep at least some of their information private: several popular apps, including Farmville, are collecting and selling identifiable user information.

  30. Teresa Williams October 19, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    The child’s picture that I have as my avatar is my own kindergarten/2nd grade picture. It is my spam/creep filter. If I get a message from someone telling me I’m beautiful, then they are either spam or a creep.
    I would never post a picture of my children or grandchildren that may embarass them at some time.
    I posted pictures from my son’s motorcycle accident, to show loved ones how bad it was.

  31. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 2:00 am #

    EricS Yes, I am most certainly AM old-school, and proud of it. Freerange is certainly old-school, to be sure, and as for “I’m the boss around here and don’t you forget it”–if that’s “old-school,” I proudly blow the horn.

    If my kids asked me to take photos down, would I? At age 3½ and 1½ obviously they’re too young, but if they were older, would I? Below, say, age 13, I seriously doubt it. They do not have a say in the matter, and in my opinion, they’re not supposed to have a say in the matter.

    Yes, in a way, they are “beneath me,” darn right they are. I don’t mean that they’re less important or that sort of thing, these are people we’re talking about after all, not animals–but in terms of hierarchy within the household, you better believe they are. They as the child are not equal to me or their mother, my wife. We choose to live in the country because we like the remoteness–if they grow up to hate the remoteness & want to live in the city, fine–when you grow up & buy your own house. But we like the country, and that’s how it’s going to be. I don’t like noisy toys that sing & play music, they give me a headache, so all such toys don’t exist here–if & when they show up (Christmas gifts), I take the batteires out. My desire to quiet trumps their desire to enjoy “c’mon, let’s play” looping over & over 15,342 times in a row.

    One of the best media-expressions of this came in the 2nd episode of Good Times in Season 4, after James Evans has died. Florida Evans is grieving in a way her children don’t understand–she’s being cheerful & laughing amongst her friends. Her children are puzzled, and she patiently explains why she’s behaving that way, she’s “celebrating the life vs mourning the death.” But when they continue to press and to basically say “I don’t care about that ‘celebrate the life’ junk” to her, she immediately tells them “you remember who’s in this room, you are the child, and I am the parent–I don’t have to explain myself to ANYBODY, and that includes all of you.” (And those were adult-aged chlidren.)


    At grandma’s, our children get their way much more. That’s what grandparents do, and I have no problem with that. I try to learn some from that sort of thing, too, to say in-balance & not risk becoming Ogar the Horrible. But I’m not grandma, nor should I be–anymore than grandma should be the parent.

    We like to take photos of our children, they have NO RIGHT to refuse us; they can say “I don’t feel like it mommy, can we do it later” sure, but you don’t dare absolutely refuse to. None of their toys are “theirs,” everyone of them are mine & the mother’s (my wife) and we have the right to take them anytime if we feel like it. Their room is in MY house and thus it’s MY room, and you better clean it–or else. You don’t have ANY right to have it the way YOU want it, if it conflicts with what I see as right or wrong, on the basis of “it’s my room.”

    Now, of course, I allow the girl to have Dora this & Dora that if she wants it, I don’t demand her room to be green because that’s my favorite color. I allow her to pick her clothes–up to a point, within certain guidelines. But when she gets older, if she gravitates towards clothing I don’t like, then I have the right to say “no,” and that’s that. If, at her current age, she screams for her Dora panties rather than the “generic” ones, I don’t allow that whining–yes, she has the right to prefer Dora & express it in a nice manner, but to pout & scream about it–not a chance. I don’t respect that, I squash it and demand it stop, or you’re in big trouble.

    And if parents post pictures because they want to “show them off”–so what? That’s their right, and I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with it. You get to the position of parent, you have earned the right to as such with no sassing from your kids. If someone is doing it for their own gratification–so freaking what? If in-laws are going to be that touchy–frankly, that’s just silly, and I’d tell them so. I don’t think that’s disrespectful, I make it a point to be respectful, seriously, but after a certain degree of touchiness–c’mon already. Quit being such a scardey cat (did I mis-spell that?) & a blowhard. Let others enjoy your children that way, that is NOT the arena in which to assert “they’re my children!!” Save that for the parenting topics, not the photography topics.


  32. SKL October 19, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    Sigh. I would not post most pictures of my kids even if they begged me to do it. It’s not about what my kids want. Furthermore, I plan on discouraging them from posting their own photos and personal info on the web when they are old enough to do so. And if it is a bad idea for them to post all that, I am not sure how it’s simultaneously a good idea for me to do so. But whatever, you manage your photos as you see fit, and I’ll manage mine. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you wouldn’t use the internet to intentionally or negligently humiliate your kid. Fact is, some people do just that and I’m not a fan.

  33. SKL October 19, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    On a general matter, I think there’s a big difference between (a) “what my kids want” and (b) “what I would want if I were my kid, given what I know now.” Of course, that smack on the butt one of them got this morning probably doesn’t fit either category, but I generally feel like I ought to at least consider (b). I don’t think that equals being a doormat for my kids, but maybe it does in the opinion of some. To each his own. May we all continue to enjoy the freedom to raise our kids as we believe.

  34. BrianJ October 19, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    @Larry – very interesting discussion. I agree with you about the urge to be old school in pretty much all dealings with my kids. When they are bull headed or stubborn, my urge to bend them to my will is so strong that it seems to eclipse all other areas of reason for me.

    That said, I have observed that the way I treat my oldest in bending him to my will is immediately played back to me in the way he treats his little sister. Since they are about 2 years apart, they pretty frequently interact in a way where they are pretty close to being peers.

    This has been a most unforgiving mirror for me. My gentle, well meaning teasings (at least the way I see them) towards my son are almost immediately replayed as hurtful barbs from the older towards the younger. On the other hand, my gentle encouragement of the older child takes a bit longer to be replayed as gentle encouragement from the older to the younger child.

    As your kids’ *boss* you are training them how to be a boss. You are showing them how to behave when they are at the top of the pyramid. Do you want them to loudly demand compliance? How do you want them to enforce compliance? Do you want them to be the kind of leader who seeks feedback and encourages conversation?

    Also, you are training them how to be an underling. Do you want them to believe that bosses should be demanding and overbearing? When faced with someone in their personal or professional lives who seeks to exert control over them, do you wish them to be obedient and compliant, or do you wish for them that they would seek a different situation?

    Context is everything. 1.5 and 3.5 years old is too young to be able to decide that they will not be compliant with your rules. I think that the how they express their opinions is the thing that matters. But no matter what I tell them to do, they always seem to simply repeat what I do, but in a less attractive way.

    For the record, I think my kids are amazingly attractive and talented. I would record pretty much everything that they do and post all of the pics and videos to my facebook page. My son does not like this. He had (rightly) assumed that I will post all pics that I take, and had therefore become much less happy when I took his pictures. Once I figured this out, I told him that I would only post the things that he wants me to post. The result is that he is more relaxed and I get to post more pics. I also get to have the conversation about what is OK to post and what isn’t, but that’s a very different conversation.

    By the way – I love the reference to Good Times. I too am a “your room is in My House” kind of dad. It reminds me of the Cosby Show “we’re not rich… your mom and I are rich, you don’t have anything” line. I have had to adjust that a litte as my son has starting buying things with his money.

  35. EricS October 19, 2010 at 3:14 am #

    Well put BrianJ. Children get what you give them, directly or indirectly. They in turn use that as they grow older. Like you said, your son mimics how you treat him towards his sister. But because he doesn’t fully understand why, just that he knows YOU do it, it must be ok to do it to others. And that’s what my disagreement is with Larry. You can enforce your will on your children, but that is what they learn and what they become later on. There is nothing wrong with “enforcing your will”, but children need to know the reason. Not just “because I said so”. In order for them to comply, they need to learn, in order to learn they need to understand, in order for them to understand you need to explain to them. I’ll always be the one to put the foot down, and yes, ultimately it’s what I say goes. But that doesn’t mean I’d disregard the feelings of my kids. If I’m going to hurt them (because I need to), I’ll let them know why I’m laying down the law.

    I just hope his kid doesn’t turn out to be one of those kids who grow up with no respect for the parent. That when the parent is old enough, they’ll just throw them in a old age home and rarely visit. The even older school saying of “you reap what you sow” holds true to even parenting. In the end though, everyone has a different parenting style. They just have to remember how they treated their kids when the kids get older and start thinking for themselves. That if they suddenly just don’t have respect for the parent, the parent(s) should not be quick to punish. After all, he learned to be like that from somewhere. It would be ignorant to think that there will be no consequence by raising your kids with an iron fist.

  36. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    It depends on what KIND of iron fist, and how often, and if it’s counter-balanced with love & some fun-times to go along with it. Heck, in the time between my last post & this one, I entertained the kids by tearing shreds of toilet paper & throwing them in front of a huge metal blowing fan, throwing shreds of toilet paper EVERYWHERE.

    Needless to say they were laughing hysterically, as was I. I did make a point to reiterate that they were NOT allowed to do this themselves (I’d all but kill them obviously) and that we also have to clean-up afterwards too, which we did. You get to have fun, but you have to clean up afterwards, that’s how it goes.

    As for “because I said so,” well my other favorite parenting expert, John Rosemond, has a book entitled just that. He argues–and I agree with him–that the mere fact that you are a parent means your decisions are to be obeyed and not questioned. Now, if you can explain yourself, by all means–but you don’t HAVE to. A child isn’t given the option of not obeying because they don’t like the explanation or didn’t receive one.

    I don’t mind explaining, so long as it doesn’t result in the little one then trying to use my own logic to argue against my choice. That is NEVER allowed, and I think a lot of “because I said so” results from the awareness that such an outcome is all too common.

    And as for a child treating a sibling how you treat them–that would be met with punishment too. As I often say–I and I alone say what is allowed here, not you. Regardless, even if the pattern does hold, that doesn’t, to me, change the idea that the parent is the one in charge. If the child takes it to be bossy to a sibling, that isn’t a parenting problem, that’s a child misbehavior problem.

    I have never subscribed to “treat your children nice, they get to choose your nursing home.” To do so is to be crippled in doing what you think is right out of fear of reprecussion, no different than not spanking or letting your child free-range because you’re worried about someone calling CPS.

    No one is throwing me into a nursing home against my will, I would kill myself first. In my opinion any involuntary confinement to a nursing home is absolutely a violation of a person’s fundamental rights, no matter their medical condition, and I would kill myself before I allowed that to happen. You become my caretaker if I allow you to, period. Anything else is as evil as Nazi’ism ever was and communist China currently is.

    Those children who have their parents live with them if the old-folks become that fragile, that’s what I like to see–if the old parents can respect the privacy of the husband & wife, of course. One couple I know does this and is so serious about preserving the old person’s independence that they even built in their own separate kitchen and telephone line, and the location is to where the person can enter & exit without going through the main house’s entrance. THAT is how you do it, if the person isn’t in their own home anymore.

    Or, the way I really prefer is, is how my grandaddy did it–he lived in his own house, under his own direction, with no children taking control, right up to his death at age 84. To me, there is no other way it ought to be.

    Maybe I’m being an ass, I hope not, but as my children get older, if they go “I don’t want you posting that photo,” unless it’s a really outrageous photo of them, my reply would be “tough: I decide these things.” I don’t believe that life imitates art, but I am somewhat of a “James Evans” (from Good Times) type of father–very loving, but what I say goes and that is that. But as they get older, you treat them more as an adult than a child, obviously, let them make some choices of their own–SOME choices. Even so, as was told to me as a child–as long as you’re in my house, you do as I say.


  37. SKL October 19, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    Having just had a rather juvenile exchange with my 3.5yo over which shoes she was going to wear this morning, I will say that the battle for control begins pretty early for some kids. It can be easy to say, heck, the kid has a good idea, let her run with it – or who cares, it’s just a pair of shoes; but this can also be unhealthy if it means Parent is showing weakness. Kids need parents to be strong. If I say “you can choose your outfit today,” then choose away. But if I say “you are wearing this today,” unless you have an extremely compelling reason not to, you’re wearing it. I will deal with the fallout because that is my job. But if I can’t stand up to my own child, she basically lacks a much-needed parent. Because I don’t care how smart and strong-willed she is – at the end of the day, she needs to feel absolutely secure in my arms.

    But yeah, being strong is one thing, and being an ass is another. I have been both at times, because I am human. But I am always the Mother – even if I am dead wrong.

    So LRH, I don’t totally disagree with you. I just think you misunderstand my points.

  38. Hege October 19, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    What I post or don’t post online has nothing to with fear of strangers and child-stalkers. My primary concern is that I safeguard their (my daughters’, that is) right to privacy. This means that I only allow friends and family to view our family photos on Facebook and all other photo albums are private, not because I’m worried about their safety, but because I worry about their relationship with me if I should happen to post something they don’t want posted “out there”.

    Did I say I have two teenagers?

  39. spacefall October 19, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    My father always hated the “because I said so” line. I can remember that even at an early age my questions of “why” would be met with an explanation, and if a rule had no basis it was discarded or at least discussed. I should specify here that “don’t play with that noisy toy right now because I’ve got a headache and the sound hurts my head” would be a valid reason for even little me. But most rules had reasons, and I learned very early on to respect my father’s opinion because I knew that chances were he’d thought it through. I also learned never to accept a rule on the basis of authority alone, which I think is vitally important to society. He taught me to be skeptical, even of him, which I consider a much greater gift than teaching me “the rules.”

    Both of my parents considered me to be a separate human being, albeit one with limited understanding due to inexperience and certain inabilities of childhood. If I’d said I didn’t want a photo on the (then non-existent) Internet, they might have asked why not, might even have pushed me to pinpoint my feelings, but they wouldn’t have published it, because I was not a belonging that they could do as they pleased with. I had opinions and feelings. I think it is largely as a result of my parents’ attitudes that I grew up to respect them, value their opinions, and trust them with my problems and secrets, even at 21.

  40. Donna October 19, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    First off, I don’t think there has ever been a single case of a single kid targeted by a pedophile who discovered said child by randomly searching through the hundreds of millions of facebook pages until he came upon a cute child, traced exactly where that child lived, traveled to that location, stalked the child and then kidnapped the child at the first opportune moment. That’s completely preposterous. Honestly, as wonderful and adorable as you think your kid is, there are plenty of wonderful and adorable children within close distance to any person likely to kidnap and rape children. They don’t need to go to these lengths.

    As for privacy, my child LOVES LOVES LOVES for me to post pictures of her online. She picks out which ones I post. She loves it when others post pictures of her online. I suppose that might change one day, but right now, she loves it. I’m not going to not do something now that we both want to do on the chance that she will one day decide that she wishes that I didn’t do it now. If she, at some point, expresses a desire that I not post anymore pictures, I will certainly honor that but I’m not going to not post them now on the chance that when she is 13 she’ll object to the fact that she wanted me to post pictures of her when she was 4. And, frankly, even that would be fleeting. If she’s anything like most people, once she gets passed her teens, she’ll again think her kid pictures are adorable and wish they were posted.

    Personally, I think some do protest to much. Pictures are pictures. Even taking into consideration “what I would want if I were my kid, given what I know now” (something you can’t even come close to guessing because you are not your child now, let alone your child in 30 years), they’re just pictures. They don’t steal your soul. I couldn’t care less if my mother scanned all the pictures she had of me when I was a kid and posted them on Facebook. I’m not ashamed of any of my pictures. Sometimes I was cute. Sometimes I was awkward. Sometimes I was downright ugly. But I can’t change what I looked like at 3 or 10 or 15 so why hide it as if I’m ashamed of who I was?

    And I don’t post my picture because I don’t have any. I’m a single mother who’s not big on passing around my camera to have other people take pictures of me – I don’t really change much year to year so I don’t necessarily need to document what I looked like at 40. That means that any pictures that get taken with my camera are taken by me. The only pictures posted on my facebook page are pictures from my camers. However, I have no objection to other people posting pictures taken of me at events that I attended.

  41. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    Yes, it’s funny. The silly things we disagree on–or maybe they’re not that silly maybe?–when we can agree on one thing, I think–much of the world out there is really over the top with worry-warting as it were, and isn’t it wonderful that we realize that it need not be that way?

    Even if we debate that one issue a lot–and I apologize if I’ve “hi-jacked” this thread too much–we can still come back to that common ground.

    Thanks SKL for clarifying. Yes, at the end of the day, you are mother even if you are wrong, and that’s that. I can say that, with my 3 year old, I generally don’t make a big deal about what she wears, unless she picks up something that’s dirty which we’ve failed to wash yet, and we say “no honey, you wore that yesterday, you need to wear something new today,” or if she picks a summer outfit and it’s 30’F outside. She can protest all she wants, but she is NOT wearing that outfit. You may think I’m wrong, but I’m the father and that’s that.

    But other than that, yes, we let her pick whatever.

    spaceball You give a very rational explanation. I will say, though, that the whole “I’m a separate being which you can’t do with as you please,” well actually, I do look at my children as living things, but living things which I am free to do with as I please, as if they were an object somewhat, but (a) that changes as they get older, and you grant much more freedom and (b) obviously the “I can do as I please” doesn’t mean you should be an ass, and it sure doesn’t allow you to abuse or molest them etc. Obviously it’s not that absolute.

    But yes, if they protest “I don’t want you showing that photo,” then to me I can still show it and that’s that, because yes in that realm you are underneath me to where I can do as a I please. That said, if they ask nicely, I might honor their request. It depends on how they ask me–if they ask respectfully, with a submissive to my authority type of attitude, chances are high I’ll respect what they are asking. After all, you want your children to think of you as someone who listens to their concerns as being relevant.

    But if it has a “you’re not the boss of me” and “you don’t own me and don’t have the right” type of sassyness, then they just lit a fuse and will find out just how absolute my authority is.

    As for questioning rules & authority–to me, it’s okay for adults to question adult authority, but NOT okay for a child to question their parent’s authority, or their aunt’s-uncles’ etc, with the obvious exceptions of stranger-danger and molestation etc. To me, as a child, basically–you don’t know anything, and you’re nobody to question the adults over you. You’re a minor. However, as an adult, I have every right to question the authority of the police or my boss etc, I’m not a child after all.

    I will grant that may be a tricky balancing act to teach, and it definitely sounds self-serving (I get to be the boss but no one’s going to boss me), but it’s not meant as a double-standard. It’s just that, to me, it’s totally understandable for an adult to question people bossing them, but as a child you’re supposed to know your place and do as you’re told–period. You’re not an adult yet, with adult responsibilities and privileges, so frankly–yes, I do tend to believe the old “children should be seen and not heard” proverb somewhat–not so much in the rather ugly manner it was used before, but in terms of a child knowing their place & acting in accordance with the reality that your parents ARE the boss of you at the end of the day–you better believe it.

    Donna the common sense & level-headed-ness you expressed with regards to photographs is very refreshing. People are too possessive of photos of themselves, I think. I remember as a child my sister taking a photo of me scratching my rear-end & showing it to everyone & them laughing. I was very embarrassed & it hurt my feelings. As I remember it, though, my mother took up for my sister–basically saying “that’s life” and “people don’t mean any harm in the laughter, life is funny, you need to learn to laugh & quit being a grouch about it.” (I may be remembering it wrong, though.)


  42. bequirox October 19, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    Larry, that last post reminded me of the family home video we have of my sister picking her nose.

    Anyway, I agree with the people who say it’s up to your kids what pictures go on the internet. I also don’t try to force my kids to sit still for a picture, simply because I’ve learned it doesn’t work. It’s not worth the argument. If she said no in a snotty way, she’d get a time out and I’d force her to apologize for talking to me that way, but I’m not going to MAKE her do something that isn’t necessary. Like one of my friends says, I’m saving my absolute authority for the big things, so they’ll know I mean it when it comes up.

    As for FB pictures, My profile picture is sometimes my kids because they’re much better looking than me! And I keep my privacy settings limited, because my pictures are my business, not because they’re pictures of my kids.

    I also agree with SKL that I would never post a picture of my kids that might be embarrassing later, e.g. naked butt pictures. I have a million of them (Her butt is SO CUTE!!) but I will not be putting those on the internet. I will be saving them to show to her dates in a few years. Mwah ha ha ha!

  43. Hege October 19, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    I guess everyone bases their actions on their own experiences, and I’ was was touchy about people telling funny stories about me or taking pictures that only showed my most horrible sides (still to this day haven’t got over some pictures my brothers took out of spite) already before I reached school age, so probably I’m just assuming that’s how kids feel generally.

    As an aside, the son of a friend of mine was upset about his mom putting pictures of him in Facebook, because as he said “it will ruin my career chances”.
    So what kind of a career do you want?, my friend asked.
    “I wanna be a spy”, he answered.

    Hard to argue with that…

  44. EricS October 19, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    lol! Hey Larry, you totally sound like my friend’s (since childhood) father. He wasn’t a bad guy, and for the most part he was a good father, BUT we’ve always thought he was a bit of a dick growing up. Yes, he’s like my uncle, he didn’t treat me any different growing up as he did his own son. He ruled with an iron fist, but did show love in his round about way. He never felt he needed to explain himself, it was his house, his rules. If you don’t liked it…”there’s the door”. Needless to say, his kid ran away a couple of times. Because he didn’t like the rules. We couldn’t understand his logic at the time. We do know, but we still don’t agree with it. My brother from another mother still talks to his dad, but they aren’t close. He often says that he can’t openly talk to his father with fear of being criticized and/or getting treated like a child, which does happen whenever he visits them. Which is often for the same reason. He has said that he wished his relationship with his father was different, but because his dad is the way he is, he keeps his distance. He’s in his 70s already, and getting stubborn every day. We do feel sorry for him though. He’s always that “my rules” kinda guy. No give. No compromise. No empathy (at least not on the outside). Hence why I say, don’t push your kids around to the point where they grown to regret you. They will never tell you so either. And they will be too afraid to be honest with you. The good thing is that my “bro” took after my aunt (his mother). So he avoids treating his kids like his father treated him. He’s a good father, his children are smart, behaved and growing up free-range. His children HAVE a choice. But if he feels like something has to stick, he does put his foot down. But because he’s never treated them like his father treated him, they respect him, and don’t make a fuss when he does lay down the law. And it’s usually because he’s right. Not because he feels he’s right, but because he’s proven to be more right than anyone else. This has taught his kids to be pretty fair minded. They are off to a good start.

    Not all parents know what’s best for their kids, they don’t even know what’s best for themselves. But because they feel they are the adults, they are always right. I’m usually right, but when I’m wrong I won’t deny it. And I’ve known adults to have learned from kids as well. Kids aren’t as clueless as you believe. There something to be relearned from the innocent views of children. Their less intolerant ways of dealing with things, teaches us adults the meaning of patience and understanding. As adults we’ve grown to be jaded and distrusting. We over compensate our insecurities by being over bearing, dominant, or the over need to please (spoiling others). We’ve forgotten the simple things in life. Which is why for a long time now, I’ve embraced my inner-child (we all still have them whether we choose to see them or not), and to treat everyone, children and adults the same way I want to be treated. For the most part, I can say that I’ve received the same in kind from both adults and children.

  45. Jill October 19, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    There are many good reasons not to post pictures of your child on FB, not least of which is their actual privacy. Teens and preteens are often eager to give up their privacy there without asking questions, and without holding the website operators accountable. Why should parents be encouraging this opting-in? Especially given that once you delete something from there, it’s still not REALLY deleted, and FB has faced controversy over these policies. For that reason, I don’t like pictures of myself posted up there (at least not tagged ones). It’s not about whether FB can cause creeps to stalk your kid, which I agree is crap. I regard it as more insidious than that. Let the kid decide for himself when he is old enough. Instead, put the pictures onto a password protected photo site where things can actually be deleted for real.

  46. Donna October 19, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    I also think that you have to balance the parent’s too. The kid is not the supreme being in the house. Am I to never mention my child for fear that she will be embarrassed by it at 13 (which covers my mere existence)? At the same time my daughter was potty training, I was also a potty training parent. The experience is shared; not exclusive to the child. And, in my opinion, you’re a bit oversensitive if potty training and tantrums stories still embarrass you as an adult. Every kid in human existence went through it.

  47. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I do understand not being a tyrant with everything, but I do want them to know that if I chose to, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is subject to my authority. It’s just a matter of what I CHOOSE to make a big deal of, and yes there are many things I let go, believe it or not.

    bequirox It’s obvious by now I’m sure, but I definitely can’t imagine my kids getting to choose what photos of them get shared in whatever manner. That was unheard of growing-up that anyone would even think their child should have a say in the matter. The same goes with a parent deciding to take a picture of their kid–if the child acted haughty about it, their rear-end got tanned.

    I think it’s one of the things that’s changed much as free-range has. As I said before we’ve gotten it backwards–we let kids run the show in ways they shouldn’t be, but in letting them play–which we should let them do–we’re very way over-the-top restrictive of that.

    One of the main observations along this line concerned TV. Growing up I got to watch the Saturday cartoons, but otherwise, whatever was on TV was what my parents wanted to watch. Always. It was understood–their house, their TV. Period. They weren’t necessarily mean about it, but at the same time you didn’t dare challenge them. You may have asked very politely, and they may have even let you pick the show for the night on occasion, especially if you had done your chores or whatever very well–but if I had dared challenge them with sass as I see very often nowadays, they wouldn’t have nicely told me “Larry I don’t appreciate your tone.” They would’ve spanked me hard and furious–and rightly so, I say.

    On the other hand, when I started dating single mothers quite a bit between age 28-32 (I’m 41 now), I noticed that 95% of the time the TV was tuned to whatever the child wanted, regardless of their behavior. Hardly ever could my date & I watch an adult movie, even one rated PG13 or whatever, “Sponge Bob” or whatever was ALWAYS on, ALL the time. That just didn’t seem right to me. My response (in my thinking) was–when did THIS come about? I mean, it’s the mother’s house, the mother’s TV–why should the child be the one to always dictate the programming, especially even in situations where they’re acting bratty?

    And when those commercials came on showing an exhausted father having watched “The Lion King” for 10 times in a row or whatever with his kids, my response–why? It’s your TV, tell them “once” and make it that–any back-talk, and the movie gets tossed in the trash.

    I do understand that one should be careful that they aren’t a tyrant & their child grows up to not come to you with anything out of fear of a tirade on your part. As I said, as they get older, it changes, especially once they’re near adult-age. It stands to reason–they now have more experience & knowledge, so they deserve a more “adult”-type of interaction than they would at age 4 or whatever.

    Even prior to that, like I said, I’d have no problem, say, letting the child pick what’s on TV if they’ve been good overall that day. I surely can’t imagine being the type that, even after the child has been real good and is asking you very nicely if something else can be on TV, you nonetheless say “tough, it ain’t your house.” That would be acting like Thor or Napoleon etc, and that would be too strict.


  48. bequi October 19, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Larry, how do you make words bold?

  49. Larry Harrison October 19, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    I need to get offline some, I’m on here too much and it shows (I think I’m getting too preachy in my tone), but to answer your question bequi, the way I bold-face words, I place HTML bold tags around the words. That would be b inside the less-than and greater-than characters (SHIFT comma and SHIFT period) and then /b inside the less-than and greater-than characters.

    The HTML tag for underline doesn’t seem to work. I haven’t tried other HTML tags (font-size, color etc). Unless this is green and this is red and this is larger. (If they are, the tags worked–if not, they didn’t.)

  50. bequirox October 19, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Sweet, thanks!

  51. Metanoia October 19, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I *love* the paranoia involved when people don’t understand the internet and what “information” can be and is collected by sites.

    I’ve never had my privacy settings “changed by Mark Zuckerberg” and in fact when people have been paranoid in telling others to check, I’ve checked and found more settings, but always set to the highest level of privacy as per my previous settings.

    As for farmville, a brief glance of that article this morning seems to be saying that they are sharing what you access with your userid. IE user 30058492 accesses farmville and frontierville x times over the last month. If you use those programs then you provide them with your userid so that they can provide you service. They would only have access to information from their propriety software of which you’ve been using. They don’t know your name and home address! They probably don’t care either.

    I work for an IT company dealing with ecommerce sites. I see a lot of accounting information which I’m contracted to confidentiality… do I honestly care about any of this info anyway… no. I’m just doing my job.

    As for photos of kids online… I generally couldn’t give a damn and some of my friends have hundreds of photos online. Generally speaking its only the parents/family that cares about those hundreds of uploaded photos of your kids “being cute”

    The funniest is when my adult friends have their parents join facebook, friend them, and THEN add all those embarrassing photos and tag them in it so all their friends see. I love that… and would hate if my parents did it to me.

  52. Pamala October 19, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    On a side note I post pictures of myself online if I have them. Sadly I’m the one taking the photos most of the time. So I’d hazard to guess the reason you don’t see many “mom’s” posting pictures of themselves is because they’re typically taking the photos so have none.

  53. Dragonwolf October 19, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    @Larry, Re HTML – As far as I know, WordPress enforces W3C standards, so underline won’t work because it’s been officially deprecated. Chances are, the old “font” tags won’t work, either.

    To those that are interested, here are a few basic tags for WordPress:

    <em> Text to italicize </em> makes text italic (<i> </i> works too, but it’s not best practice and might break in future versions of WP as standards change)
    <strong> text to bold </strong> makes things bold (<b> </b> does as well, but again, not best practice)
    <a href=”website address here”> Text to make link </a> makes a link
    <blockquote> Blockquoted text </blockquote> denotes a large quote

    More tags and information can be found at w3schools.com, but WordPress also filters allowed tags. Those four are generally all you need, though.

  54. EricS October 20, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    True Donna. But , if one of your friends took a pic of you taking a dump, peeing in the bushes or maybe puking after night of drinking, and posted it online, how would you feel (not saying you do this, but we all have one time or another in our adult lives)? Pre-teen is the most confusing and sensitive age for kids. Even if they don’t seem to understand, they know. They are always listening. The only reason why most never say anything is because they don’t know how to go about talking about it. That’s why you see a lot of misdirected anger with younger children. Troubled teens don’t turn into troubled teens out of nowhere, it something that’s been building since they were younger. 2-9 years of age, imo , is the most impressionable time for kids. What they learn here, is what they take into puberty. And yes, children do get embarrassed.

    As parents, we tend to find it cute, only because it’s not us. Much like being adults, we laugh at others when something embarrassing happens to them (not always intentionally, sometimes just as a reaction). But when something embarrassing happens to us and others laugh, it’s very rare that we will laugh at ourselves as well. Most feel that embarrassment, but keep it in. I think that’s the difference in how I see kids. I treat them how I was treated when I was growing up. Firm but fair. I don’t even do the goo-goo talk. I talk to them in the same manner and tone as I would talk to other adults. They understand me just fine. I put my foot down, no ifs, ands, or buts. But I always make sure they know the reason of my final decision. They need to know that. How else are they going to learn. Much like at work, if your boss told you to do something as your about to leave, and it’s not even in your job description, how will you feel? How will you respond? After all he’s the boss, what he says goes in the company. But it doesn’t make it right. Anyone here would feel resentful and upset. Especially if the boss didn’t give you a reason. He just “said so”. Different situations, but the same emotions and reasoning or even confusion come into play. I also believe in rewarding good behavior. But I don’t make it seem, or make them feel like they HAVE to do something good to get something good. I teach them that doing good is just something we always should do. That we shouldn’t expect something in return all the time. That if they do good, something good will happen when you least expect it. So if their homework is done, chores are done, and they wanted to watch tv. I don’t need to give them permission. Because they have already done what they were suppose to. It’s conditioning them, without them feeling like they are being conditioned. It’s a fair trade and understanding. Trying to do this when they are already teenagers, who’ve felt they’ve gotten the short end of the stick growing up, is harder than most people will think.

    Thanks to Larry and Dragonwolf, by the way. I too have been wondering if html tags work on this blog.

  55. Dragonwolf October 20, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    @Metanoia — As a computer geek by nature and a web developer by trade, I actually know and understand the Internet very well.

    I’ve actually done fairly extensive research on the privacy issues Facebook has gotten involved in, and it’s given me a dozen reasons to not support its creators.

    I recommend rereading both my comments and the article I linked. I never said “Mark Zuckerburg changed settings,” I said that Facebook is notorious for changing privacy setting defaults that override user options, and that Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of Facebook, has always had a disregard for others’ privacy. His sentiment transfers into his business and it shows in the dozens of articles, websites, and charts about Facebook’s eroding privacy. If you would like, I can provide you with a number of articles and charts.

    As for the article I linked, as I said, I recommend reading it again. The data collection is not just the user ID:

    “For other apps, however, the data collection apparently doesn’t stop at a user’s ID. The WSJ claims that all of the 10 most popular apps collect some form of user data, and three of them—yes, Farmville included—also transmit personal information about a user’s friends to outside servers. One company, RapLeaf Inc., was found to be linking Facebook ID information with its own database of users that it cross-checks from other parts of the Internet. The company collects this information through several of its apps, including those made by LOLapps and the Family Tree application, then sells the information to at least 12 other ad firms.”

  56. Dragonwolf October 20, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Another HTML lesson. My previous comment uses <blockquote> (I added the little quotes, because since there’s no preview, I didn’t know if it’d actually work or how it would style it).

  57. Serena October 20, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    You can never be too safe. In fact, we keep the curtains drawn at all times at my house because who knows what perverts are walking by to ogle my children through the windows. And my boys know that anytime they leave the house for whatever reason–even just to run to the car in the driveway–they are to wear their full-face covering ski masks with only their eyes showing. Also, when we are out in public my husband and I call them Son 1 and Son 2. I mean, what if a STRANGER finds out their names?

    Ok, seriously, I don’t know what the problem is with possible strangers seeing my kids’ pictures on facebook. How many strangers see them every day in real life?

  58. Dragonwolf October 20, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Serena — But…but…it’s the INTARWEBS!!!11!1!! It’s big and….and scary….and you never know who’s on the other side!

    Okay, seriously, I think it largely stems from fear of the unknown. In the vast majority of cases, we don’t really know who’s behind all the usernames we interact with. It’s the whole, “on the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog” thing. However, the same principle holds true on the Internet that holds true with face-to-face interactions – most people are decent people (albeit often a bit more cocky, thanks to the anonymity the Internet can provide us).

    I was just watching Criminal Minds as I was reading your comment, and this quote came up, thought it was interesting:

    The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had. ~Eric Schmidt

  59. pentamom October 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    “In the vast majority of cases, we don’t really know who’s behind all the usernames we interact with.”

    But on Facebook either 1) you do, because you use some sense about who you friend and how you have your privacy set or 2) it’s your own choice for friending everyone’s co-worker’s cousin’s brother-in-law and/or not securing your settings.

    In neither case is it because the Internet is an inherently dangerous place to put a picture because you have no control over who sees or does something with a picture.

    I know you’re not saying it is, but you’re sort of giving slack to people whose fears are based on irrationality plus not taking responsibility for the degree of privacy they’re comfortable with, and who then want to make those fears into something we should all worry about.

  60. Donna October 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    “True Donna. But , if one of your friends took a pic of you taking a dump, peeing in the bushes or maybe puking after night of drinking, and posted it online, how would you feel (not saying you do this, but we all have one time or another in our adult lives)? ”

    I would ask them to take it down. I would also never take a picture of my child doing those things and post it on the internet. Sometimes it’s a matter of self control. Really, if you don’t know the difference between the propriety of posting a picture of your child off to his first day of school and posting a picture of your child taking his first dump then you probably shouldn’t have children or access to the internet.

    However, as for my mother TALKING about me going pee pee in the potty for the first time when I was two years old, would that bother me? Absolutely not. There is not a human being on the planet who was born potty trained. It is not some great secret to the world that I had to taught to go on the potty at some point in my life (and it is, by far, the absolute worst part of parenting so far). I’m sure that nobody wants to read the intimate details, but had the internet existed 38 years ago, I would not today be upset that my mother had posted “Donna went pee pee in the potty for the first time today! Yay!” or something similar on her Facebook status.

  61. Paul C October 20, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    “In neither case is it because the Internet is an inherently dangerous place to put a picture because you have no control over who sees or does something with a picture.”

    So how is someone seeing a picture dangerous? I’m sure someone can think of a 1 in a million chance of a certain type of picture seen by a certain type of person, but in general, how is this in the least bit dangerous?

    Also, you do have control over any media that you create, if it is used for commercial purposes without your consent.

  62. Dragonwolf October 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Paul C – In the case of Facebook, that can actually get hairy. They’ve been known to put in their Terms of Use agreement that you essentially give them rights to use your content in any way they want. There was a time when it said they could use it even after you’ve deleted your account, but they really got nailed for that one.

    pentamom – I wasn’t referring to Facebook, specifically with that statement. Consider FRK. How many of us actually know each other? I know I don’t know anyone here. However, as I stated, the same principle of “most people are decent” applies to Internet strangers as it does to “real life” strangers, and holding conversations with them, and even pictures, is by and large harmless. Posting pictures on one’s Facebook or blog isn’t much different from a proud dad showing off his wallet full of pictures of his kids to anyone who will give him the time of day.

    People’s fears are unwarranted, yes, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them irrational. Fear of the unknown is quite rational when you consider that it’s ingrained in all of us to one extent or another as an evolutionary survival tool. Regardless, we can’t change something unless we pinpoint the cause. People fear the Internet because it’s a big unknown. To fix that, we need to turn it into a known.

    I also understand what you’re saying about security settings and whatnot, but that also assumes that Facebook doesn’t determine that whatever category that image/post falls under should now only be public, negating any choice the users have made, which has happened on multiple occasions.

  63. pentamom October 21, 2010 at 2:00 am #

    Paul, maybe I had too many double negatives, but that was really my point. It’s not dangerous because 1) you do have control and 2) there’s not much dangerous someone could do if they saw a picture, unless there was a lot of identifying information with it.

  64. pentamom October 21, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    But Dragonwolf, people don’t post pictures at FRK (other than Lenore) and we don’t give out much personal information. And if we did, that would be our conscious action.

    That’s all I meant. This idea that there’s this big, bad Internet out there forcibly yanking information from you every time you engage with it is what’s odd.

    “Fear of the unknown is quite rational when you consider that it’s ingrained in all of us to one extent or another as an evolutionary survival tool.”

    Be that as it may, most people competent to use the Internet are competent to understand the risks (and lack thereof) and therefore, to assume that there are things to be feared rather than assessing the risks — yes, I think that’s irrational. Not past understanding, but not operating on a rational level.

    “I also understand what you’re saying about security settings and whatnot, but that also assumes that Facebook doesn’t determine that whatever category that image/post falls under should now only be public, negating any choice the users have made, which has happened on multiple occasions.”

    And every time that happened, it was all over Facebook within 48 hours (usually less, and no thanks to the staff, but to observant users) and people changed their settings back. I’m not fussed about what can happen in a 48-hour window when I don’t believe it’s something likely to happen in the first place! :-)

    Again, I know you’re not promoting these fears — I just prefer to think that the vast majority of people can, and therefore should, address things more rationally and calmly, rather than having poorly-founded fears catered to.

  65. Matt October 30, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    My facebook account is for me, I don’t always appreciate the photos my friends post of me. I don’t think it is necessary to post every picture ever taken. My kid isn’t on facebook so why do pictures of him need to be on facebook?

    I don’t want to put pics of my kids on facebook and it’s not a safety/exposure issue. There is simply no good reason to plaster my profile with pics of my kids. That’s what e-mail and Flikr is for. And if people need to see pics him and haven’t seen them in person or over e-mail then I’m not good enough friends with them that they should be interested.

  66. ebohlman October 30, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Matt: You bring up a really good point, namely that there are at least two meanings of “private” or “privacy”. There’s “private” in the sense of things that are at least somewhat taboo to show to others, but there’s also “private” in the sense of things that belong to you or your family alone (same sense as “private property”).

    Your decision is based on privacy in the latter sense; you don’t feel that every aspect of your family’s life has to be shared with the whole world. That’s a pretty healthy attitude in my opinion. There’s this common notion that it’s somehow “healthy” to wear all your emotions on your sleeve and to “open up” to anyone and anybody, but there’s no evidence to suggest that and some evidence that goes against it. Again in my opinion, that attitude leads to superficiality and actually impairs deep relationships; you have a finite amount of “emotional energy” and you have to ration it for those you really care about, not some sort of mass audience.

  67. Steve November 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    I can’t say that putting my kids pictures up on Facebook is a bad idea but I do believe in caution. The problem is with how much information you post about who you are, your location and the rest. That information should always be protected and only give directly to those you know and trust.

    Regarding some creep taking a liking to some picture and trying to find their way to my child, I work very hard to stay healthily vigilant of where and what my children are doing and who is with them. They are also healthily aware of recognizing and avoiding strangers so a dose of healthy caution taught with copious amounts of love to children goes a long way in keeping them safe from all kinds of dangers, creeps included.

  68. Mimi November 20, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    Good grief. The whole REASON I joined Facebook was to post kid pics for friends and relatives. In fact, I have the settings so that friends of friends can see all the pics so my mother can send them to her friends, too, without copying them.

    It has our REAL NAME, too, though not our city or address.

    Sheesh. There are lots more interesting people to stalk than you, I’m sure.

    Many of my DH’s friends have no kids, and we get pestered for a “kid fix” when we haven’t posted pictures in a few weeks.

  69. Morocco March 17, 2011 at 9:51 am #

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  70. Ecuador March 17, 2011 at 10:52 am #

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