Parent Bloggers, Personal Pictures, and Privacy

December 7th, 2010 by Dionna | 21 Comments
Posted in Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Writing/Blogging Tips

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Here's one of the pictures I removed.

Last week I took down two pictures from my site. The pictures showed my son’s backside while he played in front of his toy kitchen. Originally, the post’s title was “Naked Chef,” but because the search term “naked child” was producing such a large number of hits on the post, I later changed the title to “Au Naturale.” This did little to lessen the number of hits on the post by people searching for “pictures of naked kids” or “naked kid pics.”1

Disgusting.

At first I didn’t realize what the deal was. Novice blogger, not a big stat checker, purposeful blinders to the dark underbelly of humankind, etc.

Even after I figured out what nefarious search terms were landing the lechers on my site, I left it up. I considered whether Kieran would ever be upset that I had posted a picture of his tush. Meh – maybe, but probably not. I wouldn’t be upset if it was me. And what’s more, it’s not like a bare baby bottom is a rare sight in our culture. How many advertisements use a baby’s backside to sell products?!2 Is a baby’s posterior really that scintillating?

Apparently.

Seriously, internet perverts?

So I removed it. Grudgingly.

Amber at Strocel.com wrote about internet privacy awhile ago. I tend to agree with what she wrote, and I even referenced the post and pictures in question in my comment. Back then, the pictures were still up. Now they’re not. Has my position changed on the pictures themselves? No. They showed a baby’s bum. To any normal person, a baby’s bum is nothing more than a sweet memory of babyhood. Something that might need a diaper change. An occasional cause of stinkiness and laughter.

But the internet nasties thought otherwise, and I buckled under the pressure.

To look at it in a different light, the same thing could happen for breastfeeding images. If you’re a mama blogger concerned with normalizing breastfeeding, you’ll surely see some search terms about breastfeeding that will make your skin crawl.3 So where do we draw the line?

How do you decide what you are comfortable posting?

Where is the line between art or images that should be innocent, and images that are “too risque” to post?

Have you ever pulled a picture due to search terms?

  1. If you’re wondering what in the world I was writing about, go read the post. It’s a funny story. It deals with a common issue known to toddler mamas. Hey pedophiles – GO GET SOME HELP.
  2. I just did a search and found several ads with bare bottoms on the first two pages of my Google search. I almost linked to them, and then decided not to. (sigh)
  3. I realize this is a flawed argument, because I’m not trying to “normalize” the sight of a naked child, but I would like to think that we can maintain some innocence.

21 Responses to:
"Parent Bloggers, Personal Pictures, and Privacy"

  1. Amanda   Half_past_crazy

    It’s disgusting how many perverts are out there. I will never understand how a person can find a child sexually appealing. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about someone looking at my toddler and becoming aroused .I’m a peaceful person, and I normally wouldn’t wish harm to anyone, but in the case of a child molester, I would make an exception. They don’t deserve to breathe.Screw putting the bastards in prison. Kill them so they can get right to burning in hell. (sorry for the language, this is a very sensitive subject.)

  2. As a new blogger I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve gone back and forth over which pictures I can and cannot post because of the pervs of the world. I have a couple of my daughter’s naked tush on my personal Facebook account but those are protected so only friends can see but they’re so stinkin’ cute I wish I could share them with the world! But, then I remember that there are warped people out there that get their jollys off checking out babies so I always decide to keep them off my blog.

  3. Suzanne @ The Joyful Chaos   TheJoyfulChaos

    I discovered this problem on my blog about a year ago. I was devastated for days and wrote about it here: http://www.thejoyfulchaos.com/2009/11/25/searched-and-found/

    I didn’t remove the picture and post in question: http://www.thejoyfulchaos.com/2009/09/07/howidowhatido-potty-training/ but I did retitle the picture. I discovered when you upload pictures to your site that the title you give it is used in the google image searches. Mine had previously been called “naked boy” I changed it to his nickname.

    I hate the evilness in the world. Hate it.

  4. Freedom   FreedomsPursuit

    My husband is a counselor that works with troubled and abused children and teens. He first made a big deal about how my daughter was photographed when she was just 3 months old. I mentioned something to him about having some professional pics taken with her little bottom exposed and he was very bothered by it. Neither did he want me to purchase any photos with her nipples exposed. His reasoning was that she was too young to have a voice for herself so we as her parents are responsible to be her voice.

    Perhaps this is a bit of a leap, but if one of our arguments against circumcision is that the person directly affected has no voice then couldn’t the same be said for naked pictures of a child?

  5. Yes, I generally agree with you and Amber, and have thought about this issue a lot. My husband and I have agreed with what we are comfortable with posting online — which is pretty liberal compared to many, I suppose. In terms of photos though its no naked shots (at least no bare bottoms) and as they get older I am avoiding other “revealing” shots that show undies or diapers. Sad, but I consider posting online similarly to going out in public — I also try to keep my girls covered and dressed when we are at the playground or library, for the same reasons. Since they are not aware of how they sit in dresses, etc, we wear leggings or pants under dresses, for instance.

    In terms of written content, I used to post anything about my girls but as they get older I am a lot more careful about what I am saying about them. Basically, nothing I think would embarrass them or want private. That said, I think kids who are growing up now are more comfortable with higher levels of public sharing than previous generations– though this can also be a danger if they aren’t taught where to draw the line. I I know this issue will ramp up more as they get older, can read themselves, etc! This is a new realm for parents and kids to navigate, for sure, and we will have to work it out together as we grow.

  6. Paige   babydust

    That is just sad! I should check my searches too. Blogger actually blocked my blog last April after I posted some pictures it deemed inappropriate which prompted my move to a self hosted wordless site. So when we post something innocent we are either going to be harassed as inappropriate or be used in inappropriate ways – just sad!

  7. Michelle

    I have sadly enough encountered issues myself. Not on line but rather in public. My little one was not wearing leggings under her dress and did not her legs together(she was 3 at the time) and a mother came to me and told me to teach my child how to sit correctly or learn to dress her better! It offended her 10 year old son and was drawing his attention. She was doing nothing wrong and he was looking at a pull up not panties! I made her stand the remainer of the time we were waiting on our appointment and stood with her. I was so upset because she was barely 3 and not trying to show her pull ups but had wiggled in her seat next to me and her knees had been brought up. I now put my younger two on my lap when at appointments or stand holding them so as not upset anyone.

  8. I don’t post pictures of my kids on my blog (which probably makes it boring) and just recently started using their names.
    As for FB I do have hundreds of pics up, but they are only for “friends” to see….but again I don’t post naked ones, front or back because who knows if a “friends” husband or wife is a pedophile. Plus you can copy and save any picture that you can see on FB to your own computer and then repost it wherever….so maybe I am a little hyper sensitive, but better safe than sorry. :(

  9. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    Very sad state of affairs. I also think its better safe than sorry!

  10. Rebekah C   RCThoughtfulMom

    I really don’t know. My boobs are my boobs so I honestly do not care what anyone is thinking if they happen to see them. Be perverted all you like, buddy, it has no effect on me.

    But one of my kids? My tummy gets all squirmy just thinking about it.

  11. Marcy   mightymarce

    I post pictures of my son online, but usually clothed. There’s been once or twice when I’ve posted a picture showing his naked bottom, but then I’ll change the settings (on FB and flickr) so only friends can see it. I keep an eye on search terms that land ppl onto my blog, but I don’t worry too much about it… It’s creepy to think about, but a picture is not the same as my son. I can’t prevent people from thinking god-knows-what when seeing a picture, just as I can’t stop people from thinking god-knows-what when they see me or my child out in public. As long as they’re not harming my son himself, I’m not going to get as bothered.

  12. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    I was shocked shortly after loading google anayltics to discover someone found my blog by googling “breastfeeding porn”. I didn’t even have any bf’ing pics up but still, sickos. I don’t post naked pics of my son online except the pics on my FB in the hospital when he’s brand new, & you can’t see anything. It’s really too bad there are people out there who are so mentally unstable it’s unsafe to post cute toddler pics online. But I’d be especially careful since you post your real names and the metro area where you live. Maybe you should post about how you’re a lawyer and will hunt people down and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law if they mess with your kid… Lol.

  13. Melissa   vibreantwanderer

    You know, I’ve noticed just recently that a lot of my posts have hits from image searches, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to find out what search term was used if it’s an image, only if it was a generic search. The one that leads people to my page most often is a breastfeeding picture, too. It mentions Eats on Feets, so I attributed it to that, thinking that since EOF is getting so much press, people must be googling it a lot. Perhaps I’m being naive. I guess I’m a novice, too. I’m really torn. If it’s my breastfeeding photos, whatever. The sickos are not affecting me directly, but like many others have said, if it’s photos of my innocent daughter, that’s a whole different story…

  14. Amy   InnateWholeness

    I was sexually abused as a child and also know men who have been abused as children and later abused others. It’s a vicious cycle and each parent must do what they feel is necessary to protect their children from such experiences, on and offline.

    If the human body in all of its parts was revered – instead of coveted, hidden, and related to with disdain – some of these issues would be brought to light and healed. There is so much wrapped up in sexual shame, inappropriateness, and abuse. Those who have been touched by it have to start the journey to healing and stick with it – whether victim or perpetrator. Yes, get help.

    I did have an interaction with a person on facebook that was unwelcome. It was not related to my children, but did involve a man viewing my picture and making connections I did not request. I now use the account only with family, friends, and other parents! The experience helped me be more clear about what interactions I welcome, who I work with, etc. since I am in business and can be contacted by anyone, anywhere…

    When I posted my breasts at http://www.shapeofamother.com I knew exactly what I was doing – potentially showing them to the whole world. I feel differently about my children because I want to leave that choice to them… kind of like circumcision. I do post some clothed photos on facebook and have a family photo on NPN and at my personal site. If my children asked me not to, I would remove them no questions asked.

  15. Amber

    Blech. I feel yucky. I gotta go take a pic off FB of my son in a cute little tie-dye diap. Sick. Sick. Sickos.

  16. Anjanette   anjanetteopal

    I was so so sad when I realized that I needed to think this issue through. I have friends who blog every which way you can – some don’t use their kids names, some do but use photos only from far away/behind. I first started thinking about it when my sister pointed out that I had shared some specific things about when we were going on a road trip (essentially announcing to the world that our apartment was empty and open for theft).
    My husband and I have decided that we are fine living life publicly (and facing the consequences if we have a slip of integrity – accountability is good afterall), but that we’d protect our kids by resisting posting pictures of them nursing or bathing. That being said, I haven’t gone back into our (3 years of) archives to make sure we didn’t post anything like that before we made our decision. We haven’t had problems with nasty searches yet, but thanks for the reminder to be proactive. *sigh*

  17. Amber   AmberStrocel

    I have removed tags and keywords on images due to searches that made me uncomfortable.

    Basically, my line in the sand has to do with me vs. my kids. If we’re talking about breastfeeding, for example, I feel that I’m the one potentially exposing myself to questionable gawkers. That doesn’t freak me out so much. But I don’t feel comfortable making the same decision for my kids. So, no bare butts.

    Sadly, this means that I can’t post a lot of photos right now, since my son won’t keep his pants on. But it’s what I’m comfortable with, so I’m not bending.

    • I think leaving image names and tags out that would draw attention to naked kid pics is a great alternative angle to take! I may go back through my blog and check my image tags. Thanks!

      And thanks for YOUR post, Amber. I read it, too, and will keep your advice in mind when publishing my own pics.

  18. Melodie   bfmom

    Oh my goodness that’s awful! I’m so sorry you were put in that position. So far I’ve actually been lucky. Who woulda thought!

  19. I am so sorry to hear of the pressure you’ve felt to remove pics. I think baby bums are one of the most adorable things on the planet. We say “squishy butt” as our daughter runs around between diapers. It is definitely a symbol of all that is… our babies. Babyhood. Innocence. Sigh.

    I post pics on my blog. Thank you for the link to Strocel. I will try to keep her advice in mind. I am a very public person, but need to also keep my children and their feelings (later, as adults, even) in mind.

    Nothing can be simple, can it?

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