Neighbour, children, cameras, parties, Facebook...difficulty
August 16, 2011 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Neighbour is social-media shy; I am not. Any 'best practices' for dealing with this when you still want to Facebook the kid's birthday party snaps?

I am a fan of Facebook, despite its shortcomings, and use it pretty extensively to stay in touch with friends and family. Love not having to e-mail the kiddie photos off in every direction...

Neighbour "A" (who is a friend on FB) mentioned to neighbour "B" that she and her kids were on my FB. Received panicky e-mail from B; 'Mr B and I are very concerned about privacy and never put photos of us/little Bs on-line, etc, please remove...' Explained that B's feet appeared in two shots, and that the little Bs were in the background in a couple of last year's birthday party snaps. Said I had relatives who felt similarly and used FB under assumed names and de-tagged themselves, understood, could crop photos and... "B" mollified.

The little Bs and my own young child are pals and see each other regularly. I am on good terms with Mrs B and would like to remain that way.

My kid's birthday party is coming up. It will be difficult to get pictures of the party that do not have at least one of the three young little Bs in them.

My Facebook privacy settings are pretty high; only friends see photos. While talking about relatives using assumed names for social networking I went on; 'to me, it's no different from having it in a photo album in my living room, but I understand that some people feel differently, etc etc.' I understand that they feel that way, but I do not understand why. My confusion was confounded the other week when two of the little Bs appeared, clearly, in a colour photo in the local paper, complete with full names. (Mrs B cheerfully accepted my offer of my copy of the paper.)

How do I deal with this don't-Facebook-my-kids request? In the end, she did not actually request that I go ahead with the cropping; 'I guess it's okay if they're just in the background.' 'Background' of course being pretty widely defined. I am worried about uploading something where a little B is clearly identifiable and neighbour A again wants to pass on the news.

I realise this will be a weird question for people not into Facebook. I do like it so. Not uploading party snaps = answering a great number of questions about where the party snaps are. I can't understand B's position on this, especially given the newspaper thing (yes, the paper is on-line as well as in a print edition), and would feel odd about publicly acquiescing to such a weird request, and broadcasting 'My neighbour thinks X' seems to be just a different kind of privacy invasion. tl;dr: I am not not uploading party snaps.

OTOH people are entitled to a certain amount of benign crazy, so I'm not all that put out, and will make a real effort to keep her kids off camera and crop photos if a B turns up behind the blowing-out-candles shot. But sometimes these things are not easily croppable, and the whole thing means 'Never take pictures you will want to use of your child during the time the Bs are around, which is a good 75% of the time your kid is having a good play outside, or party, or playdate, etc.' I do not maintain a 'curated' set of photos outside of FB and am pretty reliant on my albums on there both for myself and for relatives. And the whole thing has made a little anxiety set in; do I have to offer reassurances every time my phone leaves my pocket when little Bs are nearby? B and I are friendly but this feels like a pretty big wedge that I don't know how to remove.

Any insights?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (69 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Can you ask her, in a friendly way, what specifically she is worried about? She may not realize that her children are not identified in the photos.
posted by amro at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are her kids, she doesn't want them on FB. You have to respect that.

Take lots of pics without her kids in them.
posted by pearlybob at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [76 favorites]


Don't facebook photos of the kids.
posted by handee at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2011 [17 favorites]


'to me, it's no different from having it in a photo album in my living room

Your friends can easily download and redistribute your FaceBook album photos. They can't do that with your living room album.
posted by Jahaza at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


But sometimes these things are not easily croppable, and the whole thing means 'Never take pictures you will want to use of your child during the time the Bs are around, which is a good 75% of the time your kid is having a good play outside, or party, or playdate, etc.' I do not maintain a 'curated' set of photos outside of FB and am pretty reliant on my albums on there both for myself and for relatives.

Maybe it's time to START maintaining a "curated" set of photos. Nothing is stopping you from taking the pictures and just emailing them to relatives, no? Or just putting "everything on Facebook EXCEPT the ones that have my neighbor's kids in them"? I agree that tying yourself in knots trying to crop them out of everything, but that just leads me to think the simpler solution is "just don't put those particular photos on facebook." If you're still determined to share every last photo with families, just email them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


If I were in this situation - and I have to admit that part of the reason I'd do this is that I am a bit of a huge wiseass sometimes - I would leave the photos on my computer unaltered but when it was time to put some on Facebook, I'd copy the files, then go through all the photos for uploading and Photoshop out any of the little Bs. Instead of trying to erase them with the clone tool or anything like that, though, I would Photoshop in the most ridiculous things I could think of. Old black-and-white portraits of mustachioed men. Dinosaurs. Astronauts. Tiki masks. Replace the head of each child with Clint Eastwood's.

On the Facebook album, include an explanation that you have some friends (don't name names) who'd prefer not to have photos of their kids on social media and out of respect for their wishes you've edited them out. People would understand and everyone would get a laugh out of it.

It'd be a fun little creative project and the parents would be appreciative but faintly puzzled. A win for everyone.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [68 favorites]


You shouldn't post photos of anyone else's kids without their consent. They may be private for just your friends and family, but does she know everyone on that list? Of course she doesn't. So keep those photos private and offline and use only photos that have only your kids and people who have consented in them online.

If you'd like, you can blur the faces of the kids using a photo editing program.
posted by inturnaround at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Do you have Photoshop or some type of photo editing software? Could you blur out the faces or other identifying marks of the people who don't want their identities known, and refrain from tagging them? I think that might be a happy compromise that lets you post your photos, but respect the privacy concerns of others.

This would mean, of course, that you have to wait until you get home or can otherwise dedicate some time for this, so no instantaneous updates to your FB wall. I don't know if that's a deal-breaker for you.
posted by CancerMan at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2011


You need to respect your friend's wishes on this, but I think it's perfectly fine if you want to post pictures of your kid's party on facebook. (Well, I don't think it's perfectly fine, but whatever, I'm not your kid's parent.)

What I would do is mspaint a generic smiley face over every instance of your friend's kid in the pictures. You can include a friendly note on the album that says, "for privacy reasons, I have removed some people from this photo. Please let me know if you're uncomfortable being in my photos, and I can remove you, too. Thanks! :)"

That way, you still have your pictures, and there's no way anyone can identify your friend's kid. Might look a little silly, but if it makes people happy, then hey why not.
posted by phunniemee at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011


Can you alter them once they're on your computer to put cute pictures or something over their faces?

Facebook is not a secure location - anyone who can see them can download them. I can understand not wanting pictures of myself floating around - I've made much the same request as your neighbor to people, and that's how they've handled it.

On preview, what the rightly-FAMOUS MONSTER has said.
posted by winna at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011


It's not crazy. It isn't how I personally operate but it is how many people operate, and seeing this as crazy isn't going to help you. She's not asking you not to take photos, or not to have them for your own use; she's asking you not to publish them. If she doesn't want photos of her kids posted online, that is actually completely reasonable.

The choices are:

1. Dis-invite her kids to the party; snap and post whatever you like.
2. Ask her kids to step out of shot and post whatever you get.
3. Take whatever photos you like and do not publish any in which her children are identifiable.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


How many party pictures are you uploading from each event? Every picture you take? I guess I'm not getting why you can't just choose the ones where these kids are least visible. Honestly, friends who upload 1,000's of pictures from every event regardless of quality get less views from me (and piss me off more) than those who just put up a few of the best, and I do wish people would not use FB for photo storage, given their sketchy ownership agreement, but it's their choice.

I use Facebook, but I have reservations about it and don't love finding random pictures of myself online, and as I get ready to become a parent, and things get more and more connected on the internet, I can totally understand this parent's perspective. It creeps me out that my kid will likely be all over the net before he's old enough to even know it, let alone make his own choices about it. I don't think my approach will be exactly hers but I do get it, and you need to respect it (as you seem to plan to do).
posted by crabintheocean at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think you are blowing this out of proportion. Especially that last paragraph.

If they ask you for reassurances when you take a picture, tell them you'll do everything in your power to cut out their kids.

In the event that you encounter a picture like the blowing-out-the-candles one, ask the neighbors if they mind you putting it up on fb, and explain you won't identify the kid.

Is it a hassle for you? yes, it is a bit. But it's their kids and their privacy and you need to respect that.

on preview: and I think Famous Monster's idea sounds hilarious.
posted by royalsong at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011


FAMOUS MONSTER's idea is gold. Clint Eastwood and dinosaurs are way better than smiley faces.
posted by phunniemee at 12:36 PM on August 16, 2011


Some people are really uptight about this. I think I would look for an amusing Photo Not Available headshot and copy/paste it on top of the kids' faces and make that your routine. I'm thinking Tony the Tiger. Or just a smiley face. Whatever.

She'll probably ease up on it over time thanks to getting worn down on the topic, because it comes up constantly and managing this is going to be a major headache for her in the long run.

But it's not worth the relationship or your time for you to struggle against it, to my mind. I'd just find a way to go with it.

Everyone has something they're uptight about and it really isn't for everyone else to go around going 'You're uptight! I'm disregarding your concerns, dummy!'

We all need other people to just sort of go with it sometimes.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:38 PM on August 16, 2011


Famous Monster's idea, but with Justin Bieber or some other age appropriate celebrity that would be relevant to the kids in question.
posted by COD at 12:38 PM on August 16, 2011


IMO, Neighbor B is being a bit irrational and weird. It's easy to come away from this with the mindset that she's bringing her children to a birthday party, and she should expect that pictures of her children may be taken/uploaded to Facebook (not that you would snipe them specifically). The trouble is that if you belabor this point, you're risking your child's friendship with the B kids, and that's really unfair to them.

Just do your best to accommodate the crazies. You can also try to educate them on all the ways they're being just a little bit paranoid and unreasonable.
posted by litnerd at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


FAMOUS MONSTER's idea is fine and cute as long as you do it in a respectful way, and not with the "making allowances for CRAZY people" tone your post is veering towards. Done wrong it could seem very passive aggressive.
posted by crabintheocean at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


i have relatives like this - it's no big deal, their kids aren't on facebook. there's lots of other pictures that don't include her family. everyone knows this is her position so if they're "taking a picture for facebook" they just shoot from an angle that doesn't include the kids.

i have a similar request about tagging and checking me in places. if people don't want to respect that, then i don't hang out with them. if you don't respect the mom's wishes, your kid is going to lose friends just because you feel justified in posting a few pictures.
posted by nadawi at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2011


My confusion was confounded the other week when two of the little Bs appeared, clearly, in a colour photo in the local paper, complete with full names. (Mrs B cheerfully accepted my offer of my copy of the paper.)

I assume because she's assuming that copy is not as readily reproducible and easy-to-distribute as a digital photo and it sounds like she's pretty iffy about technology, so it probably seems like the newspaper's website is fairly abstract idea. Plus, there's a churn rate on news sites that's quite high, compared to the static and quite easily found photo galleries of FB.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2011


I'm a fully functioning adult - and no crazier, I think, than many mefites - but I ask my friends to keep me out of pictures that they're planning to post on the internet. I don't trust Facebook even a little tiny bit and I don't want to have every little fact about my associations and habits floating around, no matter how innocuous they may seem to my immediate social circle. Honestly, I think it's a good habit to try to minimize your uncontrolled web presence (and frankly, this is uncontrolled by the Bs - you could change your privacy settings, for example).

I think you should respect your neighbors' wishes, not least because you don't know what their history with creeps-on-the-web is - best friend had a scary stalker? Little cousin gets harassed at school and family photos are a tool for mockery?
posted by Frowner at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


The choices are:

1. Dis-invite her kids to the party; snap and post whatever you like.
2. Ask her kids to step out of shot and post whatever you get.
3. Take whatever photos you like and do not publish any in which her children are identifiable.


I agree with this... that said... my mom spent my entire childhood making similar panicky requests of my friends parents - not just with photos but with a wide range of stuff. It was a constant embarrassment for us kids. And there were indeed quite a few times when the parents went with option #1 and option #2. It sucked, and I missed out on a lot. So... I would ask you to just keep that in mind when you decide what to do.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


//My confusion was confounded the other week when two of the little Bs appeared, clearly, in a colour photo in the local paper, complete with full names. (Mrs B cheerfully accepted my offer of my copy of the paper.)//

That one is easy. Kids being in the paper is a point of pride, as it has been for as long as papers have existed. (Assuming the kids pictures aren't on the police blotter!).
posted by COD at 12:46 PM on August 16, 2011


Hi, I am someone who doesn't like my pictures being on facebook (not that I've been successful at all in that regard). Just cover the kids with pictures or something, or don't post those pitures. It's not neccessarily crazy or irrational, I don't like facebooks policies on photos and I don't like having photos of me up there. Try respect the parents wishes, it's not like it really hurts you.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:46 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't blur people's faces. That ends up looking creepy. Anytime I see a photo online with amateurish editing to make some of the people unidentifiable (blurred faces, blacked out eyes), I always wish they hadn't bothered to post the photo. Famous Monster's idea is even worse. Also, people may still feel creeped out and invaded even if you post their kids' bodies without identifiable faces. If you want to post photos of your kids only, use the "crop" tool. If cropping doesn't work because there isn't an acceptable rectangle-shaped part of the photo you can use, then you're out of luck.

Either post decent photos, or don't post photos at all. By "decent," I mean: (a) not looking unnaturally Photoshopped and (b) not creeping people out.

Not uploading party snaps = answering a great number of questions about where the party snaps are. I can't understand B's position on this

If you can't understand B's position (have you really tried your best?), at least respect it. Other parents have different boundaries for their own kids, and it isn't worth trying to coax them into shifting those boundaries. You're extremely unlikely to change a parent's strongly held views on parenting. The fact that someone might ask you if you have more photographs is absolutely trivial by comparison, and can't override the importance of respecting the parents' wishes. Pick your battles; this isn't a battle worth picking.
posted by John Cohen at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


How do I deal with this don't-Facebook-my-kids request?

Don't facebook her kids. Why run the risk of screwing up your kids' friendships?
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:55 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a basic security/privacy thing not to post pictures of your own kids, never mind anybody else's.

In fact, on the rare occasions when I post pictures of anybody else, I make sure there's nothing that could be used to identify them.
posted by tel3path at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011


I don't think the Bs are crazy at all. I think anyone is justified in saying "hey, please don't take pictures of me/my kids" and especially "please don't share those pictures on Facebook." There's a wide range of "normal" in people's level of comfort with sharing things online, especially where kids are concerned.

If I requested that you refrain from posting pictures of me or my children on Facebook, and you balked at it or tried to argue me out of it, I'd get the impression that you were more interested in the photos, and showing them off, than my friendship.

Take photos as usual, and just delete the ones with the little Bs. Unless the Bs are your only party guests, there will be plenty of B-free photo opportunities.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I understand that they feel that way, but I do not understand why.

It doesn't really matter whether or not you understand why. You just need to respect this parent's wishes. Think of it as a challenge to make you a better photographer--how can you get a good shot without one of the B kids in the frame?
posted by corey flood at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nobody is obligated to provide their reasons for not wanting their or their kids' presences on Facebook. It's a simple request, which you can oblige in any number of ways already suggested here.

I used to not use Facebook just because I didn't have any interest in it; but when I started running into people who assumed I was uptight or technophobic or silly or transgressive in some way for not using it, I found myself becoming more and more straight up anti-Facebook, and even in some cases being cautious about some of the more pathologically extroverted Facebook users I know--including those who made a point of arguing with me or making assumptions about why I didn't have an account.

Speculating about her motivations and arguing with her choices is rude and intrusive, and ultimately pointless.

Facebook is a commercial service. Opting out of using that service or having your information on it isn't necessarily paranoid or silly or uptight or anything like that. There's nothing wrong with not using a commercial service. There is something wrong with not respecting someone's wishes and making strange uncharitable assumptions about them based on something so benign.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Give the kids masks to wear. When B's kids are going to be in the photo, have everyone put their masks on. Fun for the kids, placating for B.
posted by desjardins at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just completed a huge project on teaching kids how to safely use social networking sites, so I want to make a slightly off topic point: One of the things that is stressed, again and again, is that children who are online should not post or email photos of their friends without their friends' permission. For safety reasons, of course, but also out of common courtesy. Maybe instead of seeing this as an inconvenience or an overreaction, you can look at it as practice—or a real life lesson—for how you plan to teach your child to respect other people's privacy online.
posted by lucysparrow at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I do not have children, but when/if I do, I have already made the decision that I will not post pictures of them to Facebook/Tumblr/Google+/whatever they come out with next. The reason? Simple. They can't consent to me doing so. Since infants and young children aren't able or mature enough to protect their own privacy, we have to do it for them. When my hypothetical children are older, and likely sending minute by minute status updates themselves via mind beams, I'm sure I'll feel differently. Perhaps Mr. And Mrs. B feel the same way?

(Also, I certainly don't want to offend you or anyone else who posts pictures of young children to Facebook and I apologize if I have. I don't agree with it, but I'm not making a moral judgment, and I fully realize I'm likely in an extremely small minority.)

posted by pecanpies at 1:17 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have no idea why she might feel this way. Her children may have been the targets of a stalker pedophile for all you know. Or maybe she doesn't feel comfortable permanently releasing images of her kids onto the Internet before they're able to consent to it. (There was recently a kerfuffle on Boston sports talk radio about a guy who posted a picture of Tom Brady's toddler at the beach, naked. A lot of the uproar, beyond the pedophile-fuel fears, was about the fact that despite his famous parents, the kid is not a public figure, and he can never get that picture back from the public sphere now.)

Also, as I understand it this is incorrect: the whole thing means 'Never take pictures you will want to use of your child during the time the Bs are around, which is a good 75% of the time your kid is having a good play outside, or party, or playdate, etc.'

What it means is, "Don't post the pictures you take on facebook." No more, no less. Snap away. Just don't put her kids' photos on facebook. It's really not an unreasonable request, or difficult to honor.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:20 PM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


not with the "making allowances for CRAZY people" tone your post is veering towards. Done wrong it could seem very passive aggressive.

Yeah, I want to underscore this. I have a family member who finds herself in various passive-aggressive FB battles with neighbors over pictures of events, status updates, etc. and it is A) teeth-grindingly petty and ridiculous, B) drags the whole family and neighborhood into the drama, and C) could be averted almost 100% if either party would just shitcan the "I'm normal but CERTAIN people are C-to-the-RAZY, amirite?" undertone to the whole thing on both sides. I am not saying that you are doing this, but I am suggesting you be very, very mindful of being sure not to even dip a toe in those waters.

Respect your neighbors wishes and boundaries. She is allowed to have them, just as you are allowed to have yours.
posted by scody at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Which will be more inconvenient:

a) not posting pictures of B's children online

or

b) repairing your friendship with B and B's children if and when you do post pictures of the kids online without the parents' consent

Respect the wishes of the parents. I think giving masks to all the children to wear, as someone above suggested, will be adorable in the long-run.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2011


I don't post photos of my son on facebook. I don't even use his name. Years ago I had a stalker so I'm maybe a little hyper-vigilant still. You have no idea why this mom feels the way she does about this issue, and you don't need to know exactly what her reasons are. Assume that she knows what is best for her family and respect her wishes.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:40 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I honestly believe this problem is owned by the neighbor. I would tell her politely that you plan to share pictures of the birthday party with your friends and family members on facebook, and it will be her decision as to whether her children will attend the party. This is your house, your kid's party, your rules. If the other parents are aware of the rules ahead of time, they get to decide whether or not their kids participate. If their kids miss out on a party due to their parents' privacy dictates, then so be it. They are free to raise their own kids however they see fit, and so are you.
posted by raisingsand at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a crazy request. FB will/is rolling out facial recognition. Imagine little kiddy B signing up for Facebook when they're 16 and it's already got tons of photos of them... creepy.
posted by dripdripdrop at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


raisingsand, would you then tell your child that his friend is not going to come to his birthday party because you wouldn't agree not to post photos of him on facebook?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am baffled that some people are this blazé about social media and security. Maybe it's just how I was raised but I find B's requests to be completely reasonable (especially with facial recognition coming out! ahh!). Instead of modifying the pictures, simply don't post the ones with the little Bs in them (or at very least ASK HER before doing the pasted on heads thing). Start maintaining a folder on your computer for non-internet-appropriate pictures.

If B chooses to share her children's photo with the newspaper, that is her decision. However, she has explicitly asked you to stop sharing pictures of her children. It's really not all the hassle you make it out to be.
posted by buteo at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is not crazy to not want your photo or your kid's photos on Facebook. There may be serious reasons for that which this mom prefers not to talk about or she may just be a very private person. Not everyone loves Facebook or wants to be on it. I am not on Facebook nor do I wish to be despite so many friends telling me how great it is.

Respect the Mom's wishes. Can't you only put up the photos that do not have her kids in them? Also think about some of the "edit out" suggestions already given here. Don't insist that being on your Facebook page is a condition of coming to the party, that just hurts the kids.
posted by mermayd at 2:09 PM on August 16, 2011


I have a friend who doesn't post photos of her one year old daughter on facebook for privacy reasons. Her sister in law recently posted a bunch of photos from a family gathering, and not only did she post pictures of my friend's child without asking (and knowing my friend's privacy concerns), some of those pictures were naked pictures. Sister in law didn't even bother slapping a cutesy "censored" graphic over the child's genitals before she threw it on facebook... and her privacy settings are wiiiiiide open. So now that picture is out there forever.

This, understandably, has created a horrifying shitstorm.

Don't be like my friend's sister in law. What she did was a total asshole move. Facebook isn't the same thing to all people. I like it a lot, but my boyfriend HATES IT, is only on there under an assumed name with falsified personal info so that he can be listed as my boyfriend and participate a tiny bit in my online life, and WILL NOT let me tag photos of him. I've only recently been "allowed" to post actual photos of his face, but only if I make sure that the privacy is locked down on those, and only if I don't tag him or make any pics of us together my default profile pic. Does it irritate me? A little, especially when I have a really cute photo of us together and I can't make it my default pic. Is it even remotely a big deal? Not at all. I'm still able to upload the photo, I just don't get to do exactly what I want with it. And that seems fair, because it's not just a picture of me, you know? He's in it, too, and I'd feel like a huge jerk if I just ran roughshod over his clearly stated wishes in this regard.

Your friend has tried to make clear her feelings about this, is asking nicely, and is giving you a lot of advance notice about her concerns -- painting her as crazy seems pretty unfair.
posted by palomar at 2:18 PM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


Are you really wondering why your friend is so concerned about photos of her children on FB, when you yourself are asking this sort of question under the ANONYMOUS account?

Respect your friends wishes.
posted by FJT at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


Quick note: great advice above about respecting your friend's wishes. At the same time, please do keep things positive and neighborly -- be sure to send the pruned/unmodified pics to your neighbor, don't just vanish them into the void, because the kids will want to see themselves...especially if another friend says "hey, saw the pics but you weren't in any of them."
posted by davejay at 3:15 PM on August 16, 2011


Please don't post pictures of your neighbor's kids. I have had pictures of my kids posted by people after I asked them not to, and it felt like a big violation of my privacy. Also, I'd like to point out that facebook pictures are privacy protected as far as your sharing is concerned, but if you have the source location for the pictures, they can be shared with anyone.
posted by Zophi at 3:25 PM on August 16, 2011


The neighbor asked you to not do something with their kid. What do you ask the neighbor to not do with your kid? How would you feel if the neighbor went ahead and did that thing anyway?
posted by macadamiaranch at 3:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't take photos of the kids, and tell neighbour A to STFU about what's going on in your facebook feed to neighbour B, lol.
posted by smoke at 3:49 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Count me as someone who doesn't understand what the problem is here - just don't post any of the pictures with her kids on facebook. You can post all the other pictures. Is that really such a problem?
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your desire to post photos does not override the not-unreasonable parenting decision of the Neighbors B. Crop away but don't blur or photoshop the kid out; if I were a Neighbor B, I'd interpret this as, at best, really passive-aggressive. Photoshopping other people in photos is a MINEFIELD and doing it to other people's kids is not cool. Take the high road and consider emailing any good photos of Kids B to the parents with a note saying they are not posted on fb. One is socially obligated to be sensitive to neighbors wishes, within reason, and ultra-sensitive to others' parenting choices, no matter the reason, unless the welfare of the children or the rights of others are in question.
posted by Morrigan at 4:04 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It takes a village -- of considerate, understanding people who accept that others may make decisions they don't agree with because they don't have the same experiences or background.
posted by amtho at 4:14 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, you think they are 'benign crazy', but let's stand in their shoes and consider what they might be thinking of you . . .

"Isn't it weird that he has to publicly document his child's life to the point that it's distressing to not be able to post every single photo of his kid on facebook? Does he really think it should be his right, in the course of that documenting, to post every single photo taken of our kids when they happen to be standing near his kid? Geez, what a benign crazy person."

This really isn't that difficult. Just be sure to take plenty of pictures of your kid when the other kids aren't around, for posting on facebook. Take pictures of your kid with the Bs to keep in private, for the memories. It's not going to kill Auntie Sue across the country to not see pictures of the Bs.
posted by imalaowai at 5:52 PM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you photoshop crazy stuff over the kids, there's a pretty decent chance that it's going to look like you're making fun of them. Which is not cool, considering that their mom is the person you disagree with. After all, if they were old enough to decide whether they wanted to sign up for Facebook face-recognition technology etc., they might totally agree with you that all the people you know should get to look at and download umpteen hundred pictures of them that are owned by Facebook.
posted by Adventurer at 6:05 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


And the whole thing has made a little anxiety set in; do I have to offer reassurances every time my phone leaves my pocket when little Bs are nearby?

No, you need to tell them now that you will respect their wishes and you will NEVER post a photo of their children to FB. Prove it through your actions, and no future reassurances will be needed!

Furthermore, next time "your phone leaves your pocket" to take pictures of ANYONE'S children, say "hey, does anyone mind if I post this on FB?" - it's pretty rude to just assume consent.

I've also already made the decision that my future children's FB presence is going to be severely limited until they are old enough to make that decision themselves, because would I be happy if every photo from my childhood and awkward years was available online forever? Hell no.
posted by coupdefoudre at 6:15 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


raisingsand, would you then tell your child that his friend is not going to come to his birthday party because you wouldn't agree not to post photos of him on facebook?

I've kept my kids from sleepovers at homes that kept guns. I've kept my kids from sleepovers when I didn't know the parents. I've kept my kids from parties where parents allowed their 10-year olds to play adult video games. I've had kids not allowed at our house because 11-year olds were allowed to watch PG13 movies. I've had other kids opt out of our birthday parties because we don't attend church. Many times I've been on giving AND receiving sides of "I completely understand your position and we will miss your child at our party."

We all make our own parenting decisions. I don't believe the OP has a responsibility to enable a parenting decision that she doesn't agree with, and I believe the neighbors own this issue, not the OP. The way to show respect for the neighbors is to give them all the information beforehand and graciously accept the decisions they make for their kids.
posted by raisingsand at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Instead of trying to erase them with the clone tool or anything like that, though, I would Photoshop in the most ridiculous things I could think of.

Just in case it isn't clear that this is a joke: please don't do this. From the perspective of the kids involved, all they're doing is playing with friends. There's no Facebook war or who's in a photo or not in a photo. As a kid, there are few things worse than being caught in the middle of adult drama.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 9:27 PM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Can you limit A's privileges so she can't see albums where the B family might be present and in the background? I'm not implying you should be devious toward the Bs--you seem to have it worked out as far as their expectations of privacy. A being a busybody now seems to be the main problem.
posted by skyl1n3 at 11:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I try and keep pictures of myself off the internet, especially anything connected to my name.
We're allowed to not have pictures of us online.

I had a bad experience with that.

Now, try and imagine various sorts of worst pictures that could ever show up online.
Does a stunned mullet picture in front of a *nazi-swastika-flag* sound pretty bad?
I actually stared at it trying to figure out why anyone would photoshop me like that.
Then I figured it out - someone put up pictures from several years before, from a science-fiction/fantasy LARP party thing I had briefly attended. Yes, a picture of me at a LARP, bad enough (being ironic!) without the theme being 1930s-flyingaces-cthulu-and-nazis.

In context, it was a terrible picture. Without context, it looks horrific.
I saw it and hyperventilated a little at the thought of it having shown up a month earlier, when I was going for job interviews and my new employer had googled me, obviously.
It took me a few months of trying to contact the owner to get them/my name removed.


There's other things too - I feel sorry for the Arnold Swartzenegger's illegitimate kid. People just crawled around and tried to find any online pictures they could.
The more you make a point of telling people you don't want pictures of yourself or your children posted in public, the less chance of someone unthinkingly posting it somewhere stupid. Kids these days are going to have to face a lifetime of easily accessible pictures of them on the internet, unless their parents are careful.
posted by Elysum at 11:49 PM on August 16, 2011


I'm surprised the legal aspect of this question isn't more in the forefront of the responses. IANAL, but as someone who photographs kids a lot and as a parent concerned about privacy on behalf of my own kids, I think your neighbor could claim "reasonable expectation of privacy" even on your property, and claim that she has already asked you to refrain from publishing photos of minors she is responsible for. In your state/country, the laws may cover her request quite well, or not at all. In any case Facebook will take down photos of minors upon request if they are used without permission. Please pass along that link to your neighbor.

You describe your FB privacy settings as "pretty high." That's a red flag for me as a parent right there. If anything, I think you will field more and more requests like this. And keep in mind the shoe could soon be on the other foot. What happens if your 14-year-old's girlfriend posts a compromising picture of him, or vice versa? It would be good to leave the doors of communication open and be willing to work with various parents on where their comfort levels are for now. Things will change, and they will probably get more complicated rather than less. You want to be able to have those tough conversations productively in the future. These are the training wheels.
posted by cocoagirl at 4:13 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


FYI, I discovered I could send direct links to someone else's FB photos to people who aren't even registered on FB (let alone in my circle of friends), and they could see the photos anyway, no matter the security settings. Maybe I tried it only on photos who had low security settings, but I wouldn't trust FB to adequately prevent third parties from accessing my or anyone's photos. So don't think you're only posting the photos for friends & family to see.
posted by gakiko at 5:34 AM on August 17, 2011


FYI, I discovered I could send direct links to someone else's FB photos to people who aren't even registered on FB

Excellent point. You should never assume that a picture you post on facebook is completely private. Used to be you could just right click and view picture to get a link that works without a sign-in, but since they re-vamped their photo system last year it's a little harder. Now you have to go to album view, right click to open the picture in a new tab, then right click again to view the picture. Hardly a safety measure.

To demonstrate, this is a picture from a friend's so-completely-locked-down-you-can't-even-search-for-them facebook album (yes, I intentionally chose a nondescript photo). Seems really safe, doesn't it?
posted by phunniemee at 5:53 AM on August 17, 2011


Not uploading party snaps = answering a great number of questions about where the party snaps are

This is simple. Make sure you get several good photos of your child at the birthday party--close up of him with cake smushed on his face, mom and birthday boy, birthday boy opening a present, birthday boy making a silly face, etc. In other words, make sure you have at least a few photos you can definitely post. Then, take as many photos of the whole party as you want--including photos of B's kids. After the party, sort through the photos and find the ones that don't have B or her kids in them. Post those photos along with the birthday boy-centric photos to facebook. Surely you already look through your photos before posting them, right? So, with little or no extra work you can keep B happy, you're happy, and no one is asking you where the party snaps are.

do I have to offer reassurances every time my phone leaves my pocket when little Bs are nearby?

After you've posted the non-B family photos on facebook, tell B, "I got a few good photos of your kids at the party. I'm not posting them to facebook, but would you like me to email them to you so you can make prints?" She can say yes, or decline, or ask you to delete the photos outright, but in any case you've communicated to her that even if you get some photos of her kids, you're respecting her wishes.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:46 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something else - they don't have to send a link. They can do a screen capture and post them that way.

If it's on the internet, it is not private. All it takes is one person who thinks something is lulzy and it is forever. I think that the B family perspective is the normal one, honestly. It's more prudent to err on the side of caution than not.
posted by winna at 7:16 AM on August 17, 2011


Make sure to tell the B kids to get out of the frame when you are shooting the key moments (blowing out candles, cake-smushing, etc.) because those are the pictures you're going to want to put on FB for your extended family to see. If they ask why they have to move, tell them to ask their mom.
posted by mccxxiii at 7:17 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If they ask why they have to move, tell them to ask their mom.

Please don't do this. It's a passive-aggressive way to drag kids into the middle of a disagreement between adults, and not only is it unfair to the kids, it's almost certainly going to escalate the issue rather than de-escalate it.
posted by scody at 10:35 AM on August 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


If they ask why they have to move, tell them to ask their mom.
Please don't do this.


Actually, if said in a kind and respectful tone, I think that's just fine.

The OP should not have to forgo taking the "classic" pictures of her own child just because B's children are in the frame, so asking them (nicely) to move is reasonable. ("Kaylie, can you please go stand with your mommy?" is probably a better way to handle it than "Kaylie, can you move please?")

If the kids wonder why they're being asked to move out of the frame, you need to say something so that they don't feel like they're being asked to leave just because you don't like them or something ridiculous. If I were B, I would be completely fine with having a "this is the reason we don't want you in pictures" discussion with my kid, and so would actually prefer if you said "ask your mom."
posted by phunniemee at 10:56 AM on August 17, 2011


I've been thinking about something else. B will not be the last parent to ask you not to post her kids' photos to your Facebook account. If your child is fairly young, his social circle will expand and you'll encounter more parents who share B's wishes (for any number of reasons). I suggest you find an alternative way to curate your family photos. For instance, you can export photos and albums from iPhoto to Facebook. It's an extra step, but not a huge increase in work. Plus, it gives you a place to store the inevitable awkward photos (starting around the preteen years) you don't necessarily want to share with the whole family, but can't bear to delete.

If you choose to continue using Facebook to manage your family photos, you need to start proactively asking other parents if they are ok with their kids ending up in your Facebook albums. In short, you need a long-term strategy. I think it should involve a storage tool other than Facebook, but at the very least it should involve being clear with other parents.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:52 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Take your photos using a fast f1.8 lens. The depth of field will be so shallow that only your subject will be in focus, concealing all the little Bs in the BG. Plus, it'll look real arty.

And/or: take your photos from wherever the Little Bs are standing. That way they'll never be in the photos.

(I'll also add a vote for respecting the other parents' wishes. Once it's on the Internet, it's on there for good. And while right now i'm having a hard time imagining what a real, practical worst-case scenario would be, you never know what they'll come up with in the future. Considering FB's history of requiring users to opt out of new features (as opposed to letting users opt in), it's hard to shake a general feeling of unease.)
posted by TangoCharlie at 12:50 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some of the real, practical worst case scenarios include:

Burn books, which are very common among the middle school set, and not often on adult radars. There's a really good chance that your kids' schools have at least a few of them out there on the internet somewhere.

For a well-known, putatively adult version, see the website The Dirty, which I'm not going to link to. That's what they're like.

The vast majority of pictures there seem to be from Facebook, and it doesn't matter how locked down the settings are. All it takes is one weak link, which could even be a kid logging into their parents' account and grabbing pictures.

There's also a pretty eye-opening story on Gawker today about the Jailbait subreddit being shut down. It was a group on Reddit that just posted pictures of underaged girls taken from Facebook and other social networking sites. The story also links to a partial list of remaining 'jailbait' subreddits that haven't been shut down.

And I'm going to guess we've all seen at least a few examples of some goofy looking picture going viral for looking goofy, or of people--even kids--being targeted by bullying campaigns. So that happens, too.

The chances of an innocuous picture showing up on something like that AND getting enough legs that it comes back and has social consequences for the subject might be slim, but when it does happen, there's really no taking it back.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:08 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


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