Promoting Privacy: Why I’m Removing Children’s Faces from My Public Platforms 

Our kids are growing up in a world where they or others use their photos and share them online. In the past, I have shared pictures on social media platforms and thought nothing of it. As my children got older, I learned more about the long-term implications of innocent social media posts. And as a photographer, I realize I can add to a child’s digital footprint. I’ve been thinking about this digital footprint’s long-term effects and how important it is to protect kids’ privacy while also running a photography business. 

The Importance of Your Child’s Consent

Sharing pictures and videos of them online might seem innocent, but once something is uploaded online, it can be difficult to control who sees it and how it is used.

We respect our children’s autonomy and educate them on digital literacy and consent by letting them decide what is shared online. They ought to be able to determine what parts of their lives are shared with the world, allowing them to take charge of their digital presence from an early age.

Before posting any photos, I require clients to sign a model release; it is not required to sign the release, but I ask for specific permission to do so. I also ask parents to give consent for their children’s faces to be posted since a minor cannot enter into a contract. This will not change in my photography business, I will continue to ask for permission to use photos.  

Giving Child Safety First Priority in Photography Businesses

Back in the day when AOL could be downloaded to your computer with a free CDROM in the mail, the Internet was almost lawless. Our teachers did not teach us digital literacy, nor did our parents understand how to teach digital literacy. Getting the random Instant Message, “ASL?” (it doesn’t mean American Sign Language.) The acronym means Age, Sex, and Location. Or the time my father asked me, “What is cybering?” and my sister and I shouted, “Just say NO!!!” So, we taught our parents the dangers before they knew about them. 

Consider the recent incident involving Taylor Swift, in which someone created lifelike portraits of her using artificial intelligence (AI) that were identical to actual photos. This incident warns about the risks of others utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to produce misleading visuals that include minors against their will. CBS News posted an article. You can find a link to the article here.

This article addresses the alarming increase in bullying in schools that use AI to target youngsters. It illustrates how technological developments have made it possible for bullies to harass their peers online with AI-generated photos and videos, causing some families to think about moving their children to a new school or another location. 

The parent in me would feel tremendously guilty if one of my images of your family were used by a bully or used on the dark web. I prioritize the security and privacy of the kids I take pictures of above getting likes and shares on social media. This entails getting parents’ express approval before publishing any photos publicly online and taking precautions to shield children’s identities when posting. 

Why Confidentiality Takes precedence over publicity

Although it is normal for parents to wish to celebrate their children’s life events and accomplishments with the world, it is essential to balance the advantages of publicity with any possible threats to safety and privacy.

In today’s digital world, our children’s digital footprints can follow them for years, affecting everything from future career chances to college admissions. We can assist our kids in developing a healthy and responsible online presence by being informed about the information we share online and honoring their personal space.

In conclusion, as your photographer, I have made the personal decision not to post the full faces of children. I plan to implement a minimal digital footprint for children. I will continue to ask for your permission to use your images online. However, I will respect children’s long-term digital footprint by protecting their identities, such as avoiding full-face shots or covering their faces in photos. 

This does not mean you cannot share your own photos. Please SHARE whatever you are comfortable with. I love seeing my client’s photos on their social media profiles. 

Over the next couple of months, I will start deleting pictures from my public pages while I figure out how to showcase my portfolio to future clients. I am thrilled to become a photographer that will create a limited digital footprint for all. 

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