On this website, I share plenty of details about my daughter. In my writing, I tend to use personal anecdotes, so that would normally include my offspring. I’ve told you all that her name is Brenna, that she’ll be turning four soon and that she has a proclivity for superheros. Oh, and every once in a while she says super-cute things like, “You want a piece of me?” when she’s play-fighting with my husband. One thing I’ve never shared with the wonderful readers of Mommyish? Her picture.
I’m not sure why sharing my daughter’s image feels like crossing a line for me. I post her picture on Facebook, though I’m pretty selective in who I actually allow to be my “friend.” I don’t have a problem with other people sharing their children’s pictures. I wouldn’t dare assume to say what’s best for anyone else’s kids. But sharing your child’s image feels like a personal choice, and it’s one that I’m not completely comfortable with.
So imagine my surprise to find out that Brenna’s picture is out there in cyberspace, easy enough for the whole world to see. Ok, you would have to really be looking for it, but still.
One of the moms from daycare was emailing me about a carpooling issue. On the signature of her email, she had a personal blog link. I didn’t think much of it until I started to see her blog’s logo and tagline on invitations to parties and her daughter’s book bag. (I’m still confused as to why it’s hanging on that big like a luggage tag.) After a while, I realized that she must take it pretty seriously and I decided to stop over and see it.
Right there on one of the most recent posts was a picture of my daughter and her’s from a recent birthday party. The girls both looked adorable and happy, but I wasn’t so comfortable. A quick search of my daughter’s name showed that Brenna was featured in numerous posts, smiling right along side her friend. Pictures from a trip we took to the zoo or the girls first day of school, they were all right there on another woman’s website.
The more I searched the site, the more upset I got. This wasn’t a “let the grandparents know how life’s going” type of mommy blog. This was a full-blown business venture, complete with Etsy gift shop and in the BlogHer Network. My daughter’s pictures were featured in craft tutorials that were then shared on other sites. Except I had never been approached or notified that my little girl’s pictures were being used.
Some may say I’m over-reacting and maybe I am. But I believe that a parent has a right to decide when and how they will share pictures of their children. Once those kids grow up, they’ll be able to choose for themselves just how much they want to share online.
I wish I could tell you that I confronted this mommy blogger and politely requested that she remove Brenna’s pictures from her site. I haven’t had the nerve to do it yet. I don’t want to be petty or argumentative, especially with the mom of my daughter’s closest friend. But at the same time, I won’t be telling you the names of this women’s children. I don’t think it’s my place to share that with you. Yet, she had no problem putting up pictures of every child in our daycare and every kid in her daughter’s class. That’s potentially dozens of parents who don’t realize that someone else is sharing pictures of their kids. And I think that’s an issue!
So, before I go all Mama Bear, I’m going to ask you guys. Am I making a big deal out of nothing here? Do I have a right to be angry that my daughter’s picture is teaching mothers everywhere how to make flannel blankies on a how-to blog somewhere out there? What would you do if you found pictures of your child on the internet without your permission?