One of the brilliant things about having children today is that there are so many ways of conveniently taking high-quality photographs and video, and then sharing those with family and friends around the world.
But there is a side of all this which parents need to be concerned about, and take appropriate steps to safeguard both their children and their friends when images and video are uploaded to the Internet.
Today many schools have a policy which unfortunately states the parents are not allowed to take videos or photographs of their children taking part in school plays and performances. This is of course a terrible shame, but it’s also understandable that in today’s world of easily shared data we are all very aware of the potential dangers of that sharing.
If you intend to take photographs and video of your child and their friends at the birthday party then it is not usually expected that you will have to get permission from the parents of your child’s friends before you do that.
But the same time it is important to be aware of the fact that not everyone will be entirely happy with videos or photographs of their child being available on the Internet by anybody at all.
There are though a number of possible solutions to help keep your child and their friends safe.
The first solution is obviously to not take photos and videos at all, but that certainly isn’t anything which many parents are going to seriously consider. The second option is to take photographs and video and then only share them using entirely privates methods, such as sending pictures and video by email, or copying the data to a disc and sending it to someone in that format.
It should of course be pointed out that whilst email is generally safe, it’s important not to forget to make sure that you enter addresses correctly and individually, and that you don’t automatically just send an email by clicking the reply button in case you inadvertently click Reply All, sending your email and photographs to potentially a large number of people.
I have known someone inadvertently email personal photographs to all of their colleagues and staff at work when they actually were only meaning to email it to a single member of their family.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the Postal Service isn’t always as secure as it might be, or indeed ought to be. Items to go missing, and they also can be incorrectly delivered. It’s important to think carefully about the potential risk of having any photographs of video going missing and getting into the wrong hands.
The third option is to use a popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, but not to use it in the way most people tend to.
If you uploaded a video to YouTube then the default way of doing this is to have the video Public, which means that anybody at all can see that video. However there are two further options which you can choose which will help to ensure that your video is private.
Other than the default setting of Public, you will see two further options which are Unlisted and Private. What do these mean and how do they compare?
An Unlisted video on YouTube means that nobody will be able to see it either by browsing YouTube, or searching for it. People visiting your YouTube channel will not see the video at all, and it won’t be crawled or listed by any search engine. However, it is still possible for anybody you choose to see the video simply by receiving the direct link to it. Anybody with a direct link to the video will be able to see it without any problem.
A Privately listed video is different again. Private videos can only be seen by a certain number of people who you choose specifically. The maximum number of people who can see your private video is 50, and you choose these people using their YouTube username or email address.
Certainly this third option is the most secure and the most private, then again it’s important to think about how you are sending people the link to the video, and about choosing usernames if your video is set to Private.
It is a shame that it is necessary to think about these things, but unfortunately once videos or photographs are on the Internet and available to all, there is almost no possible way of reverting back and removing them fully. Once the picture is shared on Facebook for example, it is possible that not only all of your friends, but all of the friends of those friends will also be able to see that picture, copy it, share it, save it, and send it elsewhere.
The very second that photograph is uploaded, you lose all control of it forevermore.
I don’t want to scare you, and I don’t want to put you off being able to share those wonderful memories of your children with people who genuinely care and who you genuinely know personally. But it is nonetheless very important that everyone takes great care to think very carefully about what happens to those pictures and videos once you begin to share them with people outside of your own home.