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Who's Looking at Your Kids Online?

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Mom is outraged when private nude pictures of her children are viewed thousands of times online.

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Mom•Logic: What exactly happened?

Meredith: About four months ago, my husband and I took our two young children on vacation. His parents and my parents accompanied us on the trip. Part of the trip involved some hiking. My 6-year-old daughter and 3 ½-year-old son were splashing in the mountain stream and took off some of their wet clothes. I took lots of snapshots throughout the vacation, and a couple of the photos were of my kids undressed, showing their tush.

When we returned home, I wanted to share the photos with the grandparents. I never used the photo site, Flickr, but they wanted to see the photos from the various parts of our trip. I thought it would be a good way of sharing the photos with the family, since there were multiple people involved. My parents told me to mark the photos as "private" which I did. There were lots of vacation photos and a few cute and innocent photos of my kids undressed. The few photos were part of a huge set of vacation pictures.

Mom•Logic: How did you realize strangers were accessing your "private"
family photos?

Meredith: I marked the photos "private" and didn't think anything else about it. At first, I didn't realize Flickr keeps a count of how many times a photo is viewed. I was looking at which photos were viewed, and most of them were viewed about 20 times. Then I noticed the few nude photos had thousands of views. I freaked out! There was a dramatic contrast between the number of views the regular photos had vs. the photos of my naked kids I immediately deleted them.

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Mom•Logic: How did news outlets find out about this incident?

Meredith: When the incident first took place, I immediately contacted Flickr and they told me to check my privacy settings. The photos were set to "private" so only my family could see them. I asked them why other people could see them if I marked "family only"? I also wanted to know how people knew to search for them. They weren't labeled, so how did they know I had nude photos of my kids? How do people find these? I then put a post on a local blog site because I wanted to warn other Moms. I wanted Moms to be careful. The Washington Post found my blog posting, and did a story on this to warn others.

Mom•Logic: What message or advice do you have for other Moms?

Meredith: I learned there are ways people can view photos online even if they're set to private. Moms should be aware of what they post online. Even if it says private, it may not be.


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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
FireMom March 6, 2008, 10:57 AM

Interesting. My private photos have never been viewed by anyone else. Those that are set to Friends & Family only obviously have a view count because they have been viewed by our friends and family. But none of our private ones (I just checked). I wonder what the glitch was there.

Mrs.Gentry March 6, 2008, 11:53 AM

I agree with FireMom.If you set it to private, you should be the only one to view it.Then there is the option to have friends & family to view it. I am a young mother and i take a whole lot of photos of my son. A good advice from my parents was to never put up any type of nude photos of my son. Because of the obvious problem we have in the world today of “predators”. I suggest if you want to send out photos of such nature you should send it through email. Regardless if there’s alot of family members.

Mrs.Gentry March 6, 2008, 11:54 AM

I agree with FireMom.If you set it to private, you should be the only one to view it.Then there is the option to have friends & family to view it. I am a young mother and i take a whole lot of photos of my son. A good advice from my parents was to never put up any type of nude photos of my son. Because of the obvious problem we have in the world today of “predators”. I suggest if you want to send out photos of such nature you should send it through email. Regardless if there’s alot of family members.

Anonymous March 6, 2008, 3:43 PM

What kind of parent thinks it’s a good idea to put nude photos of their kid on the internet, anyway? Common sense, people.

morgan.badyrka March 6, 2008, 4:41 PM

I have a website set up for my daughter on babyjellybeans.com and you have to have the password. It’s a great site for sharing if you don’t mind the monthly $8.95 fee. And “anonymous”, a LOT of ppl email pictures of their babies nude. My daughter is one and I have uploaded many pictures of her innocently splashing in the bath tub. Get off your high horse and a grip on reality. The mom above did NOTHING wrong. Whoever viewed her innocent children repeatedly is s sick individual. Mom is not to blame!

krismonipe1986 March 6, 2008, 5:30 PM

I agree, it isn’t the mom’s fault that there are sick people out there. People should be cautious before posting any pictures online innocently nude or with clothes on because there are such twisted people. It’s sad that we have to be careful, but that’s the world we’re living in these days.

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Tracey Garafano December 9, 2010, 10:37 AM

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