Parents love posting photos of their children on Facebook. What better way to share special moments with friends and family? It's like creating a time capsule of our children's lives...
However most mums and dads never stop to think about what could happen to these photos once they've gone public.
When you post a photo on Facebook you lose all rights to it and as one mummy blogger found out, this means anyone can access those photos and use them.
She woke up one day to emails and voice mail messages alerting her to the fact a photo of her children was being used by a stranger claiming the boy wearing the pink cast was in fact her child, except it wasn't. The photo of her son had been posted by the Humans of New York website and a stranger had claimed they were her children.
What I didn’t expect was that someone would take the picture, claim it was their son and tell a heartwarming story about how this little boy chose that cast against the objection of his doctor (who said “pink is a girl color”) and in support of breast cancer awareness (of which my 4-year-old currently has no awareness).
That was my son! Not only that, but there was a lot of bashing in the comments for this mother who allowed her son to get a pink cast (you know they catch the gay that way, right?). There was also a lot of support for this mother who let her kids make their own choices. The only problem? The person these people were commenting to wasn’t THEIR mother!
She then discovered her photo had been turned in to a meme:
Tonya Karrakas wrote the post for the Humans of New York Facebook page and despite Carrin's complaints to the site, administrator was reluctant to take it down. It had received 4,000 likes and 100 replies. At least 40 other blogs had written stories about the boy and his fake mother.
Outraged, Carrin writes that her initial reaction was:
I will NEVER post another picture of my children again! I am shutting down my entire Facebook account. All social media, for that matter! I will never take my children outside again! If I absolutely have to, I will put a blanket over their head to protect them. OK, I didn’t quite go that far, but I was getting there.
The term 'catfishing' is now used to describe incidents when material is taken from social media sites and used by others without permission. The sad reality of social media is that they don't need permission and misrepresentation of children is common.
So either carefully set up privacy settings for photos on all of your social media sites or expect one day to see photos of your children used on other sites without your permission. It happens frequently and is something parents need to keep in mind.
Do you share photos of your children on social media sites?