Sunday, March 6, 2016

Photos and the Internet ... and some jeggings

I have had a hard time making up my mind when it comes to social networking.  I've been in and out of Facebook a couple of times now (current status: out, I find I'm a lot happier that way).  I'm on Ravelry but mostly use it as a knitting notebook rather than a social outlet.  When I started posting my sewing projects to Flickr in 2011, I was very shy about showing my kids' faces.  And I was the same way when I started this blog - I didn't even use their names.


So for the last five years or so, a fierce debate has been raging in my head.  Do I go the route of some of the blogs I follow, which feature lovely photos in which you never see a child's face? Probably Actually, S is for Sewing and Nest Full of Eggs come to mind.  Or the route of other bloggers who draw you in with beautiful photos of their kids and funny stories to illustrate their temperaments?  (See Five and Counting, Stitched Together and Inder Loves Folk Art).

The latter blogs drew me in, made me feel welcome and almost part of the family.  I got to know them and I loved it.  I wanted, so much, to share a little bit of our life, to participate in this community the way many others do, to feel a little less anonymous.  So I began using my children's real names on the blog and started posting photos featuring their faces.  I did the same on Flickr.


And then one day, maybe six weeks ago, I received a notification that someone whose name I did not recognize had favorited a couple of my photos on Flickr.  This happens from time to time.  I usually click through to see who they are, have a browse through their photos or favorites to get a sense of whether they are interested in sewing or something else.  If it's "something else," I will usually block them, but of course I am aware there may be others interested in "something else" who are looking at my photos and never make themselves known.

The man in question was interested in a few photos of Gabriel wearing swim trunks I had sewn last year.  I opened his favorites with a sinking feeling that was confirmed when my eyes met with row upon row of photos of little boys - wearing little or nothing.

I wanted to throw up.  I immediately blocked him and set about fiddling with my privacy settings.

It's not that I did not know that this was a possibility.  In fact, the photos in question were headless because I was uncomfortable posting identifiable photos of my son in his swimsuit.  So I'm not stupid.  But even so, seeing photos of my little boy in that line-up ... it was an awful kick in the stomach.


So I thought about it.  For weeks.  And ultimately I have decided that I don't want to stop blogging.  I don't want to leave Flickr.  I don't want to go Internet dark.  (In fact, I even joined Instagram last week - mostly because no one is on Flickr anymore - find me here).  But I just don't feel totally comfortable posting identifiable photos of my kids online - honestly I am not sure I ever was fully comfortable with it.  So from now on I will mostly be posting headless photos and the like.

As for these headless shots, they are both Oliver+S Playtime Leggings in jegging fabric - two different fabrics bought at different times at different stores and I don't remember any of the details.


Z's are a size 5 with an extra inch of length and N's are a size 5 with 4" extra.  She probably only needed 3" extra but I accounted for shrinkage and growth; I need these to get us to summer at the least.   My love for this pattern is already well documented (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), so  I guess there isn't much more to say about that!

12 comments:

  1. First of all, that is incredibly disturbing! I am so sorry!
    I've struggled a lot with this same issue and continue to wonder if I'm making the right choice. I thought that once my oldest child reached school age I would stop putting her face in pictures, but the completely selfish part of me loves her face in pictures. I don't know what the right answer is. I think we all struggle with finding the right balance and that balance changes over time. In fact, this is making me reconsider again what's right for our family.

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    1. I agree that the balance changes over time! I also love putting my kids' photos up, and I might do so again in the future, selectively, because I definitely see that pull getting stronger over time again. But for now I am still totally shaken.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear about this - so horrible and disturbing! I'd be so, so upset too. I had a not-analogous situation where my photos (of my bottom in a skirt) were liked by a guy who obviously trolled for pictures of plump-ish middle aged MILFs. That just made me laugh (and of course I blocked the perv), but then it was me and not my kids. I don't know what I would do in your circumstances, I would definitely feel pretty sick! I tend to comfort myself that the vast majority of people mean no harm, and my life is not interesting enough to attract much attention, and if there a small number of pervy people in the world, that's true whether you're on the internet or not. BUT, it's hard to keep that notion in the face of the kind of scare you've had. I totally respect whatever choice folks decide to make about these things.

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  3. What an awful discovery to make - I don't blame you for changing the way you blog in response. When I started my blog I agonised over whether it was fair to my children to post photos of them at all; when I discussed it with my husband he took the view that putting photos online is just what people do these days and I shouldn't think twice about it. I don't use their first names, though, because they are a little unusual and I want them to be able to control their online presence when they're older and care more about such things. (I even started off not using my own name, but it felt too anonymous and unfriendly.) It's such a difficult area, Masha. I'm really sorry you had to have such an bad experience. Oh, and the leggings are lovely. Isn't it great when you have a tried-and-true pattern that just works perfectly on your kids.

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    1. Thanks Marisa. We all have to figure out what our comfort levels are and I am still figuring mine out!

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  4. Masha, what a well written post. It could have been really judgey and it wasn't at all.

    I am so sorry you had that happen to you, my eldest had a few of his photos 'favourited' as a young teen but I admit we had more of a laugh then it upsetting us. We did block and I do block, daily.

    My teen's are all very much on the internet with school and sport, I encourage them to be aware of their 'footprint' and I am very careful to keep my photography very 'fashion shoot' stylised. No hands on hips and 'sassy' looks. (Sassy means a whole different thing over here).

    I am glad you have kept blogging and I definitely consider you a part of my family, a true 'sewing Aunty'.

    The leggings are adorable.

    xx Nicole

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    1. Thank you Nicole. I'm glad it didn't come off judgey, as I did not at all mean to be judgey! I love reading your blog and watching your kids grow up!

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  5. What a horrible experience for you!! I'm so glad my "children" are adults now and we never had the internet when they were little, so the possibility was never there for us. Things are so different now, and so scary!
    Anyway, the leggings are pretty cute :)

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. It really is a different world!

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  6. Years ago when I worked with Victim Services in our local Police department a sex crimes officer told us that if you post a picture of your child on the internet someone you didn't consider has it. I've never forgotten that.
    Sure, it means you miss out on some of the pretty and welcoming parts of socializing online but overall I've been okay with that. I'm not on Facebook (even though my husband works there) and neither are the children. We've never said their names or shown their faces online and rarely, if ever post photos of them. In part I think it's a chance to have that larger conversation within your own family and figure out what works for you.

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  7. Yes, there are certainly people who have 'different' interests... So sorry you had to experience that :( I feel comfortable showing my girlies' faces, however I do not mention their names. A couple of years ago I thought I might reveal my daughter's name (I only had one back then) but the same week there was an incident at work that confirmed my decision to continue using a nickname. It just feels safer this way. And of course leggings are adorable :)

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Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!