Online Privacy and Protecting Your Kids

Holy heavy blog title, right?

I've blogged before about protecting O's privacy when it comes to the blog and Instagram and how we approach that. It's an issue that's been on my mind even more lately, since Stephanie and I have been talking about this incredibly freaky new concept of baby role playing. Have you all heard of it? It's chilling.

In addition to that, people are stealing photos left and right (how easy is it to just screen cap something and claim it as your own?) and with social media sites like Instagram and Facebook getting bigger by the day, I'm really conscientious about the content I'm putting out there.


Now, not everyone needs to take the same stance, do the same thing, or even agree with how I choose to handle this, that isn't what this is about. It's about knowing what's going on and what's available to help you protect your kids (and your hard work - blog content and your self taught photography shouldn't be someone else's to take credit for).


So a couple of different thoughts on the topics. 

Don't use head on face shots.

This is my strategy, but I know it's not for everyone. I spam my family and friends multiple times a day with photos of my kid via text and call it good. I figure that no one but my family is that interested in what my child is doing anyway, and they don't mind that the majority of my photography is laughably poor. It scratches the itch I have to share my little toddler tyrant with someone.


I used to show photos of Liv's face as a baby because I thought "oh, well all babies kinda look the same and she looks different now" but come to find out, infant photos are the most desired for these sick online games. So I deleted those (and the first 10 months of this blog) real quick. My decision is based on wanting to keep her photos from being stolen, but also because I'm not sure what photos she'd appreciate having me post for the world to see and creating a digital footprint for her without her permission. Since my profile isn't private, it's what I'm comfortable with and try not to post even non-face photos too too often. You can read more about that here, but if you don't - won't hurt my feelings. I get that one ramble is enough for the day.

 Watermark

An awesome way to keep your images from being stolen is to use a watermark. Apps like Marksta, iWatermark, Photomarkr, and eZywatermark lite are all great options for adding a small watermark to your photo. Putting it close to the face of your subject is the best route so it won't get cropped out. I know it doesn't make for the best, most instaworthy photos, but trust me, you'll feel better looking at a watermarked photo than a photo of your child that someone else is using and blasting to their followers. I'm not currently watermarking since I'm not showing her face, but I have a bunch of friends who love it and swear by it. Steph is actually writing about it today, so her post is a great resource for watermarking info.

The internet is an awesome place - I would never have started my business, met my best friend, or connected with all kinds of amazing women without it, but it can totally scare the crap out of me too. I try not to Instagram in real time, make sure to crop out my house number, or advertise when my husband is out of town, because I have enough trouble sleeping as it is. I know that there's a lot of information available about me out there, but I try to control what I can within reason.

That being said, putting a privacy filter on the photos I share of my daughter has made for some really fun photography learning. I've had a blast playing with different angles, capturing tiny little details, and focusing on capturing her in play, rather than trying to pose her for the perfect shot (which is officially impossible at this age). 


Taking the focus off of her also encourages me to find other things to write about, which has really helped me explore my own interests, something that can fall to the wayside once motherhood rolls around. 


So my apologies for a heavy post on a Monday, but I like to think that this space is the virtual place where we all sit down for coffee in the morning and dish, like friends. Favorite mascaras, teething remedies, and the ultimate pair of boyfriend jeans are all fair game, as well as hilarious stories about the time your kid pantsed you in Target when you had your laundry day undies on. It's where we share our frustrations, our passions, and yes, our worries for our kids. Tomorrow I'll be back to some inane ramble about the lash extensions I got over the weekend (and trust me, they good) but for today it's a girlfriend heart to heart about the ones we love most - our babies, and how to keep them safe. 

26 comments:

  1. This whole thing has been scaring me lately! I really have to think about things now! Why do we live in such a sick world???

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    1. It definitely makes you think! I think the best we can do is be informed, do what we can, and look out for each other!

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  2. I have never even heard of that! How creepy and disgusting! I never even noticed you didn't post pictures of her face- the pictures you post are adorable!

    Aspen Kelty Marie

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    1. Thank you! I have fun being creative with the types of photos I post while trying to give her some privacy. There's some weird stuff out there!

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  3. So glad you shared this! Ever since Stephanie told me about it I've had a knot in my stomach, its so terrible! I'm working on purging my blog and IG of photos now... so sad that we have to do this to keep our little ones safe!

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    1. I feel like we talk about it a lot, and I've definitely done a purge. I deleted months off my blog because I felt like I wasn't careful enough!

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  4. I love this post!! I actually had a picture of Ellie stolen and had to involve the police. Now I try not to show face pics of her (sometimes I fail) or try to make them less user friendly to be stolen. I think in gonna def start watermarking them.

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    1. Oh my word, that's terrifying!! So glad everything was ok!

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  5. Oh my goodness, I just read that Baby Role Playing post, did a quick hashtag search and now I am completely sick to my stomach. Probably a little extreme but I just changed my FB profile picture of just me. The internet really is a scary place sometimes. Thank you so much for posting this and spreading the word!

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    1. It completely freaked me out too! Better safe than sorry :)

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  6. Thank you for doing a post on this! This subject needs to be talked about in the blogging community. I love reading blogs and appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating posts. But bloggers and readers should be talking about privacy limits and protecting kids in this very public world. Well done! I think your creative photography and artistry in your words make your blog an interesting one that has become one of my favorites. Your relatability, honesty, and humor also make me enjoy your work.

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!

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  7. I actually just wrote a post about this last week, it's a scary thought. I plan on doing the same, I'm in the process of printing my chapbooks now, then deleting a TON of IG photos and opening a private one if I plan to post photos of Scarlett's face :) The baby role playing business is SICK

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    1. Seriously sick. I'm so glad people are talking about it!

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  8. I literally have the chills now after clicking over to that link and reading about baby role playing. I'd never heard of it before - and it's terrifying. My IG account is private, and although I know it keeps me from having a larger following, I plan to keep it that way. With your business, I totally understand why you can't have a private account, and think the steps you've taken to protect your daughter are great!

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    1. I think you're right - keeping kids safe is so much more important than a big Instagram following. I have a private personal account too that I feel like I can use if I want to share with friends and family photos that are of her face/have more personal details!

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  9. How do you find out if you child's pic has been stolen?? This creeps me out!

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  10. I've been thinking a lot about this recently. It's terrifying. And worst part is, how do you know if someone has stolen your child's photos? Someone would have to tell you. Someone could have stolen Mason's photos now and I would have no idea. Sick. And terrifying!

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  11. I wrote about this crazy baby role playing nonsense after my daughters photos were stolen and used on those accounts. Although it's nonsense & should not be happening to begin with I love that mamas are drawing attention to it and helping other moms keep their babies safe on the Internet!!

    Xoxo

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  12. You know that I am so disturbed by this. I am a sharer by nature but I do often question if I am oversharing. Watermarking is good for me now but who knows! The Baby Role Play is DIS.GUST.ING

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  13. I am really glad you posted this. I had no idea about the baby role playing situation and I like your solution if you want to stay on social media. Ugh raising babies in the tech savvy world is hard sometimes

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  14. That is so crazy. I can't believe that people would do that! Definitely better to be safe than sorry.

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  15. Long time silent reader over here, but I had to comment on this post! First off thank you for posting and sharing!! When I was pregnant with our son, my husband and I sat down and made the decision that he will not be shared on FB because of that pesky little "share" button. I know who my friends are, but I don't know who other people have seeing their timeline and I don't want them seeing my son. We post on IG, but only because we have it super private and done use hashtags on his pics. When I share pics on my blog I put a watermark on the photos (and I go maybe more extreme and put it right across the photo over his face). I LOVE the water mark apps you listed and will be enlisting one of those for future IG pics, just to be extra safe. We have also strongly stressed to ALL family not to share any photos that we text or email, and some have gotten really mad at that request, but they just don't get photos then.

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  16. I am so so so grateful for you and Stephanie posting about this! I had no idea and will definitely be taking into consideration what I share about my daughter in the future! I love your idea about taking pictures of your daughter at different angles instead of just head on, I'm looking forward to expanding my photography skills and working on this as well. Plus detail shots are always my favorites! :) Thanks again!!!! I am so glad I know about this now! I will definitely be passing this on to everyone I know!

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  17. I can't believe that I haven't heard about this until now! I'm so sick to my stomach over this! I have a lot of deleting to do myself. I love looking back in my blog posts but I think I'll just print out some of my important ones and delete them just yo be safe. Thank you so much for sharing this info!

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  18. Thanks for sharing! Unfortunately it's a scary world out there :-/ I'd never heard about baby role-playing before, sooo creepy.
    You guys inspired me to share my tips on online safety over on my blog.. I'm pretty overly-cautious when it comes to this stuff though ;)

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