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Is posting photos of other people's kids OK?

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While flipping through the April issue of Wired magazine, the advice column (Dear Mr. Know-It-All), caught my attention as it raises an interesting question about how much you can/should post online of someone else's kids. The question:
I recently posted a video of one of my son's high school wrestling triumphs on YouTube. The defeated wrestler's father has asked me to take it down, saying it humiliates his boy. Is his request reasonable?

You can read the full answer on the Wired website (scroll down to the second question). It's obvious Mr. Know-It-All feels the video should stay up. Whether you agree or disagree with his philosophy that "losing is part of the learning that high school sports provides" it does make me think about the appropriateness of posting videos and photos of other people's kids. Internet safety and privacy is a big concern these days and many parents make the decision to keep any identifiable photos of their kids off the internet. Seems trickier for high school kids as many of them post their own images and videos to Myspace, Facebook, and the like. Even so, I think it's good practice to ask before posting photos/videos of other people, especially kids, and especially when it's the parents doing the posting.


#2 Randy Gniadecki 2009-05-22 10:44
Whenever I hear about this I think of a few things.
1. Parents have the right to insist that unauthorized images of their children are removed from public display. I have to sign a waiver for park activities for them to take pictures and share them.
2. Legally the parent could sue if you refuse to take down the pictures. In guess this could be contestable if the photos were taken in public, but I don't know any judge who would not force someone to take down a picture if the parent wants it down.

Studying documentary film making getting releases was needed legally. The person posting the material is taking a chance that if something does happen they can be held responsible for damages caused by the unapproved material being shared.

One common way to take care of that in photos is to use face blurring. Google streetview has to do it, why shouldn't we?
#1 Patti 2009-05-19 14:30
This issue has come up a lot in our community, where everyone is on Facebook and we all enjoy posting photos from kids' birthday parties etc. In general, I think you should be mindful of the other families and of who has access to the forum. With Facebook, we all have our photos set to friends only. In that case, I don't think it's necessary to get everyone's permission before posting. However, if a parent ever, for any reason, wanted a photo of their child taken down, I would do it without question. With YouTube, that's up for the world to see, though I believe you can make it password protected and then just share it with friends. I would absolutely take it down at the father's request. Why be a jerk? Why leave it up? If the parent wants college recruiters/coac hes to see it, he can use the password feature. Just my two cents!

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