So I had a post about Google Photos and how great it has been to have both my wife’s and my photos automatically sync to one place. Since then, our oldest, 7, has been getting camera-happy with the iPad (both pictures and videos). And after finding a video on our Google Photos of our 3-year-old showing his bare backside after his pants accidentally came down, I thought now might be a good time to give my 7-year-old “The Talk.”
No, not that one. The one where I talk to him about how “the cloud” works and how pictures and videos are uploaded there, and how others (strangers) might see them. Because of this, we have to make sure they are appropriate. I also explained how we really should get people’s permission before we take pictures or video of them (it’s a rule built into most schools’ technology policies). I also explained that seeking permission is important before posting online…like Facebook (I had to explain to my oldest how that works too). Then, my son said something that has flipped my thinking…”You and mom don’t ask us (kids) for permission.”
Setting Good Habits…
After my son said this, I realized, I’ve posted photos and videos of my kids their whole lives without their permission. In fact, almost every kid born in the last five years already has an online presence, and they don’t even know it. So then I explained to my oldest that I should be getting permission from him too!
In a very digital age, where technology can be abused very easily, I think I can set a standard in my house by simply asking each of my kids, EVERY TIME, two questions…
- Is ok if I take a picture/video of this?
- Is it ok if I post this to Facebook?
This opens a dialogue as to WHY the pictures are being taken or posted…
- “Because I’m proud of you and want to share that with my friends.”
- “Because I had a fun day with you and wish to share that with my friends.”
Too many times people (not JUST kids, adults too) snap and post without thinking of the why. I could be found guilty of this at times as well.
Yes, ANY pictures or videos…
This also holds true with pictures/videos that are texted, not just posted online…
“Mind if I send this to Grandma and Grandpa? I think they would like it.”
We Are ALL Responsible for Each Other….
We preach to kids to think about the pictures they post of themselves and the irreversible repercussions that could follow, but how often to we talk about being held accountable for an OTHER’S online presence as well? It rests on the most basic ideas of respect by simply asking for permission.
At School Too…
Almost any school has policies built in regarding taking photos of students:
- Never identify a student in a photo.
- Don’t use a student’s face unless a parent has signed-off on the policies.
- Only take pictures from the back of the room or don’t include faces at all.
All of these are great places to start, but what if every policy included…ask permission before taking any pictures of videos, including teachers.
From here on out, I’m going to try and model this for my kids. I got my son’s permission to take this photo and post it after explaining what it was going to be used for.
P.S. Comment if you have already come to this realization and practice this in your own household or classroom. I’d love to hear if it has made a difference.