Digital Manners: Should the Kid Stay in the Picture? (Transcript)

Navigating the intersection of etiquette and technology.
Oct. 25 2011 11:29 AM

Don’t Post Pictures of My Kid on the Internet (Transcript)

Farhad Manjoo and Emily Yoffe debate: Is it OK to post pictures of other people’s kids online?   

Farhad Manjoo:  Should the kids stay in the picture?

Emily Yoffee: I'm Emily Yoffe, Slate's Dear Prudence advice columnist.

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Farhad: I'm Slate's technology columnist, Farhad Manjoo, and this is Manners for the Digital Age.

Emily:  Today’s question is from a listener who wonders if it is wrong to post group photos from a children’s birthday party without consulting the other parents. The listener writes, “Dear Emily and Farhad, about a year ago, a friend of mine became very upset when she saw me upload some group photos of our children to my blog and Facebook. She said that I should have asked permission before posting the photos and that she doesn’t want photos of her children on the Internet. I basically said that I was sorry that she was upset and that I would give the matter some thought. After all, the photos in question were from a birthday party and my own children were the focal point. I’ve been considering whether or not to blur her children’s faces or to not post them at all in an attempt to mend the breach. On the other hand, she never made an attempt to keep her kiddos out of the way of the camera, so how upset can she really be? Please tell me if I breached an etiquette line or if she’s just being paranoid.” Signed, a Photo’s Worth a Thousand Tags.”

We have something a little unusual today because, Farhad, the writer of the letter, whose name is Rose, is with us.

Farhad:  Wow, great.

Emily:  We can not only grill her, but at the end of our discussion, she can give us a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Rose, welcome.

Rose:  Hi.

Emily:  Let me just ask, is there any update to this situation? Is it all where it was? Are feelings getting more heated? Have you done anything?

Rose:  After her upset, I decided to not post any more photos to my blog, but I still upload them to Facebook. Every now and again, she grumbles to her husband, who grumbles to my husband, who grumbles to me. So I know that she’s getting more upset, and that eventually it’s going to come to a head.