Q. What is the etiquette on taking photos of other people’s children and posting them on social media?
I am the mother of two small children. The first time I encountered this issue was when my oldest was 2 and my youngest was a few months old. We attended a family function and a guest at the party took pictures of me and my children. He proudly showed me the images and told me that he had posted them on his Facebook account.
I kindly told him to please remove the images off his account. I was shocked by his reaction; he became upset and made a huge scene at the party, but I did not back down (and my husband stood by me). I have experienced versions of this since then.
My social media accounts are all private. I feel that my job as a parent is to protect my children, and that includes their social media footprint.
I do not post many photos of my children and I would never post a picture of someone else’s child without the parents’ permission. I go as far as to ask the parent if it’s OK to take a picture of their child and then inform them that I will NOT be sharing them on social media.
I know that it will get harder for me to control this once they are involved in sports and activities where group pictures are taken or where my children happen to be in the background, but their faces are very clear. Am I wrong in thinking a person should ask the parents’ permission before sharing the images online?
Do parents feel that since their child is in the picture, too, it’s OK to share? I cannot imagine I am the only parent who feels like this. How do other parents handle this?
A. The etiquette, which is also good old-fashioned common sense, is to always respect parents’ concerns regarding their own children. Your practice of maintaining privacy and control of your children’s images is what all good and thoughtful parents should do. Your habit of always asking if you can take a picture, and then assuring parents that you won’t post it on social media, is wise, sound, and respectful. Other parents should not post photos with your children in them without asking you. They also should not tag your kids’ names in photos.
If someone else doesn’t like this, then they should be reminded that they are not raising these children — you are. Stand your ground.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.