Is it safe to put your kid’s photos online?

by singlemomseeking on July 23, 2008

This blog originally grew out of my book, in which I’d already disclosed my real name, as well as my child’s. Even so, I was very cautious about going online.

Today, two years later, the community and support I’ve discovered here — with all of you — far outweighs any fears I might have.

Still, any parent needs to think about what’s safe for your kids — and you know best.

In a recent article in San Francisco Chronicle about “Mommy Bloggers,” Heather Armstrong — aka Dooce — says she “has seen photos of her daughter manipulated online.”

Did your throat just close up, too?

When I I attended at the BlogHer workshop on MommyBlogging: Public Parenting & Privacy this summer, the room was filled with fear. One mother told me later that the paranoia was too much for her.

The session began with a discussion about safety and our kids: sex predators, kidnapping, people stealing photos without permission, strangers finding out where you live, legal issues. If you’d like to read more detailed notes about the workshop, Rose’s Life did a great “live” write-up during the discussion.

It was very helpful to hear what Shino Tanaka — a former police officer and current community manager at BabyCenter.com — said about the realities of “stranger danger.” More than 80 percent of the children abducted every year are taken by people we know. Moreover, more than half of the cyberstalking cases are from people we know.

Crystal McKee — who uses real names and posts pictures on her blog Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper — writes about her 15 year-old son who was missing for 10 years. When she got her son back, she started telling his story.

“In real life, I’m very protective of my children,” Crystal said. “I’m more worried about the creepy guy who might live across the street.”

Many mommy bloggers raised their hands to say that it was their husband’s idea to keep the kids’ names and photos off the blog.

Some of you post real names and photos. Others use pseudonyms and watermarked photos (like the one of my baby, above).

I’d love to hear where you stand on this one.

Example of watermarked baby M from PHOTRADE, a company I discovered at BlogHer. (And no, they didn’t pay me to post this…)

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