The world is changing, and no matter how hard we try to hold on to ‘The Good Old Days’ we can’t stop this fast train of change. Technology and social media have made the world a really tiny place. So we can keep up with what’s going on beyond our direct environment. If there’s a bus burning on Ikorodu road, you see pictures and get reports almost immediately. But like everything that has a good side, there’s always the flip side to these things.
So we find that we live in a world of exhibitionism. We dress up, we take photos, we post pictures on social media. We want people to see how nice we look (or how nice we imagine we look – this thing about rose coloured lenses). We chuckle when people ‘like’ our photos, and feel a certain “Oh look, they think my shoes pretty”. We subtly seek validation from people who don’t know us. We don’t care. It’s the age of Instagram, Facebook & Twitter and anybody who doesn’t like our display knows where the ‘Unfollow’ button is.
The developers of these apps have also considered the possibility that some people don’t want every dog and its owner sniffing around profiles, so there is protection for accounts -that way, you control who sees what you post. So if you choose to publish pictures of your new born baby, you’re assured that the only people who will see it are the 12 people on your BBM. However, you have no control on what any of those 12 people choose to do with the image you have released.
This is the subject of the dispute that I was privy to recently. Lady A’s 6 year old daughter recently started swimming lessons. So, proud Mama took photos and shared with Lady B – her close friend. Lady B, in her excitement over the pictures wanted to show the world how her cute little munchkin/goddaughter was going to be the next Olympics star. Lady B posted little cute munchkin’s picture on Instagram. Comments and likes flowed and Lady B was happy, until she got a call from Lady A who was ANGRY. Why did she put her daughter’s picture on social media? Why did she violate her child’s privacy like that? Why did she assume Lady A would be okay with having her little girl’s picture on social media. Had Lady B ever seen her (the mother of the child) put up pictures of her children? It was bad. Lady B was mortified.
I asked her if she had asked for permission before putting up the picture. Her friend (who narrated the story to me) said the picture was cute and thought to share. Tolu cut in at this point, “Cute? So? That’s not reason enough to put up my child’s picture. I’m sorry.”.
A lot of times I see people put up pictures of other people’s children on social media and I get scared. One minute it’s an innocent looking photo and the next minute it’s being used as a meme or a flyer for one campaign or the other. When I was in primary school, one of my classmates was in an Omo ad. When I ran into him many years later at Faculty of Law, Unilag, I didn’t remember his name so I said “Hello, Omo boy”. That’s how far reaching some of these things are.
When I asked someone about the subject of using the image of other people’s children on social media, she said “Ah, if you don’t put up the picture now they will fight with you that you didn’t celebrate them”. Someone else said that she only puts up pictures when the parents of the child have done so.
There’s also the scenario where you have a newborn – the parents haven’t gone home with the baby but the newborn’s image is splattered all over Facebook, Instagram and BBM. My friend, Sisi brought up another angle we hadn’t talked about before, “If my child is classmates with your child and you choose to take photographs of your child with his classmates, can you please ensure my child’s face is blurred out when you post it on your Facebook page? Or is this really too much to ask for?”
It’s a fine line and it’s something we didn’t have to worry about when we used paper photo albums. You take pictures, you put them in the albums in your house, your visitors come and you show them. Today, it’s a completely different kettle of fish and we have to re-write the rules of culture and lifestyle.
Do you have any qualms with people putting up pictures of your kids? Do you share photos of other people’s kids? Or do you think it’s really not a big deal. Let’s talk about it.
Have a fabulous week ahead. The weather forecast is showing that we’ll have a bit of rainfall over here but I refuse to let anything cast a gray shade on my super bright morning. Plus, I’m probably going to be overly excited and hyper this week as my beautiful baby, JoJo got married this weekend in Banjul. My love for that girl is simply out of this world and she deserves the absolute best.
Peace, love & cupcakes.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Photographerlondon