Girls on the street
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Parents can be irritatingly protective of their children. I get it -- no one wants anything nefarious to happen to the innocent. But I don’t think people realize how ridiculous much of their sheltering really is when you separate fantasy from reality.

As a childfree adult, I try not to concern myself with thoughts of parenting; even if I disagree with certain choices my sisters or friends make in regard to rearing their children I keep my opinions to myself because I recognize that, as the saying goes, it’s not my dog. But when an overzealous guardian not only crosses, but also obstructs my path, I pipe up.

I’m in the media, and my husband is a fine art photographer. If we are outside of our home, chances are one of us is documenting our escapades via iPhone, camcorder, or large format view camera. If our general experience is any indication, any parent who claims to care about his child must assume that every adult holding a camera in his child’s vicinity intends to kidnap, rape, kill, and bury the kid.

Because of our understanding that logic and reason don’t necessarily play a part in parenting, particularly when one’s protective instincts are triggered, David and I arm ourselves with information – basically, we know our rights. This knowledge comes in handy quite often. Just yesterday I had to read my own rights to a papa bear who took issue with my camera.

We were at a local museum, to which I’d been invited as a guest, to cover a new installation. Because sections of the exhibit are geared toward children, one of the shots I needed was of a child interacting with the educational display. When a toddler toddled in front of me, I lifted my camera and said, “Oh, great, David, kid shot.” When the man I assumed was the child’s father looked my way, I said, “This is for the news,” and pointed to the badge on my shirt.

The man put his hand in front of his kid’s face. “No,” he said.

I lowered my camera. “Look,” I said. “I’m going to stop filming your kid because I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. But just for you to know, I’m perfectly within my rights, and I’m stopping as a courtesy to you only. But you should know that it’s legal for anyone to take pictures of your kid when you’re in public, whether you like it or not.”

“That’s not true, you need my permission,” he said. “I’m a photographer and I have to obtain model releases from anyone I photograph.”

“No, you don’t,” I argued. “Not unless you’re using someone’s image to sell or endorse a project. For art or news, you don’t need a release. See? I just saved you some work. I strongly encourage you to read up on the law.”

“What about at a park? You can’t take pictures of kids at parks,” he said.

“Oh yes I can. You have no assumption of privacy in a public place. Anyone can take pictures of you or your kid when you’re in public, and they don’t need a release.”

“What if they go home and put it up on the internet?”

“They can do whatever they want with the image – put it in a gallery, put it online, anything as long as they’re not using the image to endorse a product or slander or libel the person depicted,” I said. “But I don’t want to cite the entire law to you, just go home and educate yourself.”

“If that’s the case, how am I supposed to protect my daughter from perverts?”

Image

“You could lock her in a closet until she’s eighteen,” I said. “Or make her wear a burka.” The man shook his head as if this was an insane suggestion. “You can’t control what people think about what they see, that’s so 1984,” I said. “And by the way? I don’t think it’s people in parks you need to worry about – 96 percent of child molesters already know their victims. They’re fathers, stepfathers, priests, uncles, someone who insinuates their way into a kid’s life in a position of authority and gains the kid’s trust. If you’re going to worry, I’d focus a little closer to home than on any randoms with a camera that you see in the park.”

He began to argue another ill-informed point, but I cut him off. “It was nice to meet you, but I have to continue working now. Again, I encourage you, for both your sake as a photographer and as a parent, that you go home and look up the laws pertaining to photography.”

WEB-ONLY EXCLUSIVE

I posted this video of my nieces running around in Coronado around the time of St. Patrick’s Day (hence the prevalence of green). Note the children in the background, all captured on film. And be aware that even if I did not know these girls and have the permission of their mother (my sister, Jane), I still have every legal right to film their running around, turn it into a video, and post it on YouTube, share it with friends and family, or simply keep it in my “cute kids and animals doing cute things” folder. So next time you see a person out and about with a camera, you can ask them to not take pictures all you want – but if they say no, your only recourse is to take your leave of the public place you are in and go hide out where you have an expectation of privacy.

Link for photographers:Photographers Rights Card

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Comments

ChrisPatterson121 June 11, 2011 @ 1:53 p.m.

Just what we need, some overly zealous barren woman with no kids going around being a complete dick to people who just want to be good parents and protect their kids. In the 15 years I have been a photographer, I have never once been so rude or crass to some one for just doing their job as a parent. Should some one have asked me to not publish anything with their child in it, that is no problem. Children can't protect themselves it is up to the adults around them.

Spouting off laws and acting like a parent should "put their kid in a burka and shove them in the closet until they are 18" just because they don't want them appearing somewhere the internet without their permission is a juvenile and shitty thing to do.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 2:10 p.m.

I'd like to point out that when this man asked me not to photograph his child, I accommodated him. That doesn't change the fact that I would have had the right to be a dick, had I chosen. :)

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StarlaDelight June 11, 2011 @ 2:04 p.m.

You handled this quite appallingly. You shouldn't be surprised a parent is annoyed that you didn't ask permission to do ANYTHING with their child, you don't have kids so you don't understand. But its like some one you don't know just coming up and playing with your camera when you put it down on for a second.

You sound really rude and quite bitter to some one just doing the right thing as a parent and I agree completely with the first comment. You shouldn't go spouting off laws to protect yourself when you go around doing things to kids without parents permission. Even if the law is on your side, kids come first, ALWAYS. You just look like an ass hole who can't believe that.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 2:14 p.m.

Spouting laws? If we don't exercise our rights, we lose them. And no, the law comes first, that's why there are laws. Side note, taking pictures in public does not equal whatever you mean by "doing things to kids." I'm not touching or "playing" with the kid as you mention playing with my camera, that would be wrong.

The difference between "right" and "common courtesy" are two very different things. In this case, I forwent my "right" to photograph in order to be courteous.

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RachellRotten June 11, 2011 @ 2:20 p.m.

Nope. Kids come first. Not laws, not you, not anything.

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CourtneyLoveGun June 11, 2011 @ 2:14 p.m.

WOW. SO instead of being calm and handling this like an adult, you get irritated and start telling him to go educate himself and be a bitch?

So your the kind of person that likes to complain about people being uneducated, and then here is a sterlin chance to go and change that in some one and your fine city better by having one less person ignorant of a law that you yourself love so much, and you squander that by putting your fingers in your ears and stomping around like a crybaby.

I understand you aren't a parent and can't understand what it is like protecting some one from bad people with ill intentions. But all kids need to be protected. You doing something to potentially endanger a child in a parents eyes, and then bein annoyed when they tell you to stop and go spouting off laws to protect you, that makes you sound just like a child predator. Sure the law protects you. But its still potentially dangerous to some one instead of being worried about that, you worry about yourself.

STAY a child free adult. Infact, don't even get pets. I'm sure your husband is more work than you need.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 2:17 p.m.

We had a discussion, and ended up parting ways by shaking hands. In what way is that me being a bitch? Wow, you people are touchy. ;)

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RachellRotten June 11, 2011 @ 2:23 p.m.

I can't believe there is some one as misinformed out there as you. If you knew people and how to be a good natured human being about things as well as you know how to recite laws, you probably wouldn't have so much negativity propelled to you.

Children will ALWAYS come first. Protecting children will ALWAYS come first. Laws, personal well being all those thins come second. If I save a child's life by breaking a law, so be it. That kid comes first. Even if it is not my own.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 2:27 p.m.

I beg to differ on the "misinformed" part. :)

If you break the law, you will pay the price, regardless of your intentions. That's why we HAVE laws. To protect everyone, including children.

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RachellRotten June 11, 2011 @ 2:29 p.m.

Yes, of course you do. And it is well worth the price to protect a child! And by NOT having to use that law, you just keep another kid safe. Whether is keeps you protected or not, you should never do something with a kid without out asking permission!

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SurfPuppy619 June 23, 2011 @ 11:50 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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flickerz June 11, 2011 @ 2:32 p.m.

Barbarella is right, people do not have the right to infringe my right as a photographer just because they "think" they know the law, when in reality they are wrong.

Whether Barb sounded smug or not is impossible to determine. Reading Internet text gives you no sense of emotion. When I read it, I hear myself speak calmly to the man, and the entire ordeal sounds rather reasonable. I mean, she did stop shooting the kid, right? Now when YOU read it, you see the heartless witch of the east speaking. Who is right?

Barb can work on trying to convey the message more pleasantly, or more apt to be accepted by someone by nature of its tone. However, I think that's exactly what her and David have done, you just can't see it here in text.

All this said, the facts do not change. People are crazy paranoid about photographers, and need to be more concerned with things like the food they feed their children, the ethics and morals they teach them, and maybe the amount of time they actually spend with them, vs. the television, daycare, nanny, etc.

Newsflash: There isn't a world of child snatchers out there arming themselves with cameras, and even if there were, a camera does not effect your child, you do.

It's easy to attack Barb, but even if she was a heartless wench with a smug tirade, it doesn't change the fact the man was wrong- No matter how much you love your child.

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VivaLasVega June 11, 2011 @ 2:54 p.m.

I have been a photographer on the side for 8 years (semi professional)but never a parent, and when I do events like this if a child will be in the shot, I inform the parents so they can either remove them or request them not to be in the frame. It is a common courtesy, and even though the law would have my side I chose to make sure that the parent's know and understand who I am, why I am there, and where these pictures will end up.

I have had a few run in's with angry parents and even not being a parent myself I can see both sides of the issue. I never hold it against them, if they want to be overly protective they have the right, and I just agree and turn the other direction. It's just not worth ruffling up your feathers.

However, I have never approached a child or taken their picture without their parent knowing, or while a parent was looking another direction. That is just wrong on all accounts, it's wrong and vulgar. Whether it is just to ask them some questions about what I am covering, or to snap a photo of them, I approach the nearest adult and ask them if they are their parents and ask if they wouldn't mind a photo of their child appearing on a website/article/news journal for media coverage. I pretend the child doesn't have any say in the matter, and that they are not even there, until I get a go ahead from the parent. Then I know it is ok to talk to or photograph their child. I am sure a lot of photographers don't agree with that approach. They don't have kids, and to kids you are a stranger and have no business doing anything with them. That is just how I work because I was brought up in a very pro protecting kids household.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 3:16 p.m.

"Wrong and vulgar?" I'm assuming you don't feel the same way about someone taking a picture of a cute kitten when its owner isn't looking. It's amazing how protective parents always assume prurience. We are a psychotically sex-obsessed society. So basically, it's absolutely okay for people to infringe my legal rights as a citizen just because they think I might be a pervert. Huh.

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VivaLasVega June 11, 2011 @ 3:31 p.m.

No, if I want a photo of something that belongs to some one else, kitten, child, guitar, car, burger, I always follow my protocol of introducing myself, telling them what I am doing and where the photos will be. If they don't want me to, I apologize and walk away. there are perverts everywere sure. But it isn't just that. There are some people that just do not like having their things broadcasted, or having themselves be put in the public eye when they were looking to just leave the house for a nice day with their family/guitar/kitten/burger. Should they decline my offer for the photo, I don't do it. Kittens included.

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VivaLasVega June 11, 2011 @ 3:33 p.m.

In fact, while I am gone covering Ink n Iron, I plan on taking over 100,000 pictures. Each one, I am asking if they don't mind first. Business owners, other photographers and artists, performers and dancers, and the festival goers all get the same treatment, respect and a level of courtesy.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 4:22 p.m.

Side note, have fun at Ink n Iron! I was hoping to go to that, I know many people who are participating. I wouldn't have asked anyone's permission for photos, though. Especially not 100,000 times. At public festivals, people expect cameras. :)

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david June 11, 2011 @ 3:46 p.m.

Viva,

If you are out taking pictures of the 4th of July parade, or if an aircraft carrier returns to port from a tour of duty and you are covering the event, do you ask the permission of everyone in the photos?

If you are taking a photo of traffic on the 5, do you ask each car owner's permission?

If you photograph a high-rise condo, or suburban street, do you get the permission of each condo or home owner?

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I hope you can see my point. And, as Barb has repeatedly said, when the father told her "she was not allowed" to take pictures of his kid, she wasn't a jerk -- she obliged him. But then we had a discussion about it with him because he is also a photographer and says that he always gets model releases. We told him that in many cases he didn't need to.

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VivaLasVega June 11, 2011 @ 3:58 p.m.

If I am taking a photo of a building for coverage, I do ask the owner of the building. I have in the past. I will in the future. I purposely do not photograph things such as freeways or high rises because those purposes. But yes, at parades I do ask every one's permission. I do my work, and show up hours earlier to speak to those marching in the parade to ask if they don't mind their photos being in what ever magazine I am there for, and if they don't, I make sure i take notes.

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Barbarella Fokos June 11, 2011 @ 4:14 p.m.

You're doing way more work than necessary, then. If it makes you feel good, rock on with your bad self. As long as you realize you're doing it because you "want" to, and not because you "have" to. :)

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Grandpuba June 11, 2011 @ 4:03 p.m.

I can see both sides of the argument but from my experience there is a line. For example taking pics of the fountain and Balboa Park. That place is packed with kids, if someone wants to take pics of the fountain is he supposed to wait till all the kids are gone or ask every single parent? No it's a public fountain snap away. Now if the same guy is obviously taking shots of individual kids or one kid and are focused only on that kid then yeah as a Dad I'm saying something to him and I may get irate. Yes it's within his rights but at the same time we must exercise some common decency and respect for others. This goes for all our rights. Freedom of speech protects those people who protests military funerals, but I guarantee if it was my kid someone is getting punched in the face. Freedom of press protects the paparazi, but if someone is digging through my trash for a news story, someone is getting bit by my dog who may get outside without a leash.

But as far as this situation I think she was well within her rights and showed common decency. It's an EVENT that she was covering as a member of the press, bringing your child into a place like this you are consenting to having their picture taken in my opinion. Hell there may even be a placard posted at the entrance stating such.

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SurfPuppy619 June 23, 2011 @ 11:54 p.m.

Freedom of speech protects those people who protests military funerals, but I guarantee if it was my kid someone is getting punched in the face.

I like you, I REALLY REALLY like you!

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MsJacqD June 11, 2011 @ 6:58 p.m.

Wow, who knew taking a pic was such an ordeal! Every where you go, be prepared to be on film. Between security cameras and cell phones, you will be filmed! You can either get over it or stay home ya whiners! Just be sure that when you do leave the house, look good, for the sake of us all.

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TheHandsomeDan June 11, 2011 @ 9:13 p.m.

I'm both confused and concerned by the responses here.

It seems that people are easily confused between the difference of photographing someone, and interacting with them. Especially when a photographer is clearly SUPPOSED to be at an event.

Would I ever suggest interacting with a stranger's children? Absolutely not. This isn't interaction, she didn't describe talking to the kids, asking them to do anything, or anything of the sort.

Reality dictates (whether you like it or not) that you'll be on camera numerous times a day if out in public -whether aware of it or not. The fact of the matter is that pictures, in themselves, are harmless... so long as the content is not morally taboo. An individual may interpret a photo however they will, but we as a society should not try to censor based on what we as individuals feel may be somehow perceived by an imagined potential pervert with their own twisted fantasies.

If we're going to start censoring photo subject matter based on what some perv may potentially use as a basis of fantasy to get off with; then we'll have to stop using photos altogether. And writing as well. Let's face it, there are some messed up people out there, and any variety of them can see something deviant and distasteful in nearly anything.

I understand the need to protect our children, and as someone with offspring, I get that. BUT we have to live within reality, and accept that we cannot control the rest of the world. If you think your perceived notion of a child's non-physical, non-mental safety comes before the law, you are SORELY mistaken. Preventing an innocent public photo from being taken has no bearing on that child's safety, you aren't protecting them.

A 2" photo of your child at the park in a local newspaper article about an event opening isn't going to bring the child to harm. Your child is not going to reach any kind of stalker-worthy celebrity status as a result of this. And quite frankly, the odds of someone remembering your child's image for more than ten seconds after seeing such a photo are slim to none; particularly considering how many images and how much visual media is thrown at us each and every day. As I write this response, I already can't remember what color clothing is being worn by the children at the top of this page, much less what they look like.

Law enforcement officials will tell you that most cases of child abductionmolestationetc come from family members, not strangers professional photography equipment and a press pass, who aren't actually communicating or interacting with your children.

Live within reason, understand that EACH AND EVERY time you take your child out into public, your child can be freely seen and observed by anyone. And there's nothing you can do to stop that. Understand that in order to keep your children protected, you ultimately need to arm yourself with accurate knowledge, and realistic priorities.

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Radical Uterus June 11, 2011 @ 9:47 p.m.

Barb you are within the law, but your diva attitude got in the way of your message.

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ugodsgirl June 12, 2011 @ 1:07 a.m.

I think somebody could have easily said 'I would appreciate you not using that image', and a reasonable person would say, no problem, as you did. Some people have custody issues or for whatever reason don't want pictures of their kids in print. They don't have to be jerks about it and it doesn't have to come to that kind of situation. I can't wait for the day I run into you, you can snap away! Can I control what someone else THINKS about those pictures? Of course not! But I can say, when I have videoed/photographed my kids in pubic settings, I try not to get other people's kids in them, just because I don't want them in them. But in this situation, if it were me, and I could tell who the parent is, I would ask first if it were ok. Is it within your rights? Sure. Is it in their rights to ask you not use the image? Yes. The end. I think you handled it perfectly. He could've been nicer about it and then your response would have been different. Get over it guy! Some people just have to have drama and make a big deal out of something that shouldn't have been.

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ebrphoto June 12, 2011 @ 5:53 a.m.

In the same way a photographer interperates a scene to convey what they wish the viewer to see, I think you've presented/crafted this story in a 'Diva' way for your readers. It seems the father's initial reaction to you taking pictures was fairly strong, but I bet the exchange was ultimately cordial. Reading, however, it has a Diva attitude as DianaGeorgina points out. Any conversation starting with "Look," simply doesn't come off nicely. There's no argument on the letter of the law as you've stated it. The man was within his rights too, though, in requesting that you not film his child. You didn't 'have' to accommodate him under the circumstances, but being a reasonable person, you did, and being who you are, you took the opportunity to educate him, and now rest of us as well. Even though you are right, I don't think the way the information comes across will help people graciously accept the reality. That said, I also bet you'll run into a fewer people objecting to you taking images of their children now - at least among Reader readers. ;)

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Twister June 13, 2011 @ 1:27 p.m.

To tell the truth, I'm not a huge fan of Barbarella, but apart from issues of style, which any adult should be able to get past, she is actually demonstrating that, after all, she does have a pretty well-disciplined intellect. Her stock has just risen several points in my book, and I may now pay more attention to her column.

That's not necessarily true of some of the reactions--which are just that, reactions. There is a veritable menagerie of elephants in the room, red herrings, and straw-man fallicies in the reactions, not reflective of thoughtful consideration of the points "Barb" (pun intended) was trying to make.

"In other words: talk about the site content, not each other." --Reader posting rules

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PacificBeachSeniorCitizen June 14, 2011 @ 9:14 a.m.

The L.A. Weekly-----------------------------------------------------------------------implemented DISQUS, I just discovered. Good for them. That does reinforce the point that the shot caller(s) at the Reader are still stuck in the stone age.

http://www.laweekly.com/2011-05-26/news/men-s-county-jail-visitor-viciously-beaten-by-guards/ http://www.laweekly.com/2011-01-06/news/mongols-and-hells-angels-invade-hiptown/

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phmatt June 23, 2011 @ 7:39 p.m.

Your reaction reminds me of a first year law student let loose on the public. Ready to to tell us all whats right and whats wrong. As much as open minded, empathetic, symathetic, conscience, well meaning, hey "i'm an aunt", person wants to believe that they can imagine that they know what it's like to protect a kid, they can't. Don't ask me why, it's just different. Even something as innocent as an uninvited picture is a serious invasion of a familys privacy. You can be "Right" all day long and still be wrong. I read every week and enjoy your column.

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Barbarella Fokos June 23, 2011 @ 10:05 p.m.

I never claimed it was "right" or "wrong" to take a photograph of a kid in public, just that it's "legal." Certainly someone can find examples of things that are legal but, as one commenter said, not necessarily polite or well mannered. This piece was as much to inform parents as it was for me to vent about how irritating it is to encounter people who are oblivious to the fact that we are constantly being filmed and observed when we are in public and that, at least for now (until someone fights to change these laws), there's really nothing we can do about it. See Google Earth (which I swear is tracking me, and I'm slightly paranoid, which is why I disable my location settings on my phone). I could have just as easily stood farther away and used a zoom lens, and this guy wouldn't have been the wiser. Thanks for reading, and for the thoughtful comment! :)

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SurfPuppy619 June 23, 2011 @ 11:46 p.m.

Your reaction reminds me of a first year law student let loose on the public

LOL...funny comment, b/c it is true.

Same with cops, they learn a little crim law and procedure and are then Perry Mason!

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Shannon Master June 24, 2011 @ 2:43 a.m.

If you choose to have a child someday, I promise it will hit you like a ton of bricks. I avoided children at all cost most of my life. But low and behold, I ended up popping one out. It is more impossible than you can comprehend what occurs, but I can assure you it isn’t remotely related “kittens.” Your use of that comment as a defense alone proves your ignorance.

If you want to know why parents are so protective, write a meaningful story on that. Do your research, talk to psychologists… then maybe you’d have some credibility. I mean, you write a blog for a free publication. Your problem is that you think you’re better than you really are. In my business, we call what you did “film immunity”. We think we’re above decency with cameras and film crews in our midst, but the “reality” is that we’re a vial bunch with a bad reputation. It’s up to the rare few to show some common sense, and at no time is that more important than with children.

Just because something is legal does not make it right. It’s been legal for Wal-Mart to pay unlivable wages, it’s been legal for food companies to poison our food supply. Is that “right”?

Until you finally “get it”, don’t expect sympathy from parents as you spout off righteous legal defenses trying to prove that you are right to do your job and they are “ridiculously sheltering” and unable to determine “fantasy from reality” in doing their jobs. Parents are not ignorant to public exposure – hell, many of them plaster their kids all over the Internet themselves. What you’re missing is that those are choices they are making on their own terms. You are overstepping your ethical bounds by not asking permission. And I’m not talking about a busy beach day shot – I’m talking about a blatant close up singling out one child. If you took a courteous second to ask if they minded first, most likely they would all say yes, but a rude and thoughtless person will always get a “no”. It is not your job to judge. You have no idea what custody battles are being fought, what unthinkable experiences these families may have been through or simply how private some people fight to be in a digital age.

Your unfounded defense about the happy ending handshake and your afterthought gesture to respect his wishes is only to make yourself feel good. You have shown yourself to be not a “Diva” who speaks candidly, but to be an embarrassing member of the media. Your act of “cutting him off” as he tries to explain a different perspective than your own is a reflection of your narrow-mindedness – exactly the opposite of what a member of the media is supposed to be.

Be careful how you’re treating the public and your readers. It’s one thing to be controversial and thought provoking, it’s another to be a bulldog. Trust me, I’ve been there and that bulldog can turn into a whimpering poodle looking for work in the blink of an eye. I know I would never hire you to represent my company after seeing this.

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Barbarella Fokos June 24, 2011 @ 7:58 a.m.

My sister Jane has two young daughters. She thought there was nothing wrong with my take in this situation. So please, don't use the "only people with children can understand" line on me. I know too many people with kids; like any giant population, you can't generalize them so easily. Not every parent is paranoid.

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Shannon Master June 24, 2011 @ 10:10 a.m.

Reread your post here again... "like any giant population, you can't generalize them so easily. Not every parent is paranoid." This is the only thing you've said so far that actually makes sense - and happens to be the exact opposite of the tone and point of your article. So which is it, are all parents afraid that a photographer is going to do something bad with their child's photo, or is it "not every parent is paranoid"?

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Shannon Master June 24, 2011 @ 8:39 a.m.

Again, you missed the point - and mis-quoted me twice in one paragraph, but I realize only reputable writers understand about that. To quote myself, "rude and thoughtless people will always get a no." Parents aren't paranoid, they have a low tolerance for arrogant self-importance. Your sister must just be used it.

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Barbarella Fokos June 24, 2011 @ 9:04 a.m.

FYI, I wasn't quoting you, my quotations were meant to delineate the "line" to which I was referring. Can't misquote someone you're not quoting. But now that you've reduced yourself to name-calling, I think we're done. :)

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antigeekess June 24, 2011 @ 9:02 a.m.

Oy. Nothing like hysterical parents overreacting, and always to the WRONG things.

Some of these dummies are the same ones who'll put cartoon stick figures on the back windows of their minivans, with the whole family's NAMES underneath, giving every pervert that sees it the name and sex of their child. Maybe some info about their school on a bumper sticker. So much useful information there for any random pervert. Now that is MUCH more of a potential issue than a random pic of their child as an ANONYMOUS person appearing anywhere, where's no connection to who that child is, and therefore no access.

These same parents, here in the good ole U.S. of A. where everything is oh-so "normal" think nothing of handing their child over to a perfect stranger to raise when they're so young they can't even speak to tell IF something was happening to them during the day. That's called DAYCARE. I don't even leave my cat with a stranger, for Chrissake. But let's not talk about this, because they'll get all indignant about how they "need" 2 incomes, so therefore their children's safety comes dead last behind the "need" for a house they can't afford, 2 or more cars, multiple toys like boats, a 3-figure cable TV bill and a "home theater," etc., etc., etc.

Kids hungry? Let's shove some McDonalds crap down their necks. That's convenient, too. It'll pretty much guarantee their obesity, eventual diabetes, and other health issues that lead to death, but never mind all that stuff.

I'll stop there. As far as I can tell, most parents nowadays seem to be such narcissistic babies themselves that they're all too overeager to project their many failings onto anybody and everybody they see. And those of us who do NOT particularly feel the need to breed like bunnies & clog up the planet with more little consumers are their favorite targets.

You know...those of us who get to sleep adequate amounts, have time to ourselves, take vacations when we want to, don't have to listen to constant screaming and whining, etc., etc., etc. :)

Jealousy isn't pretty, mofos.

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kaypee June 24, 2011 @ 9:26 a.m.

Interesting Friday morning read with my coffee. Seems a few people have grudges, so thank goodness the comments section allows one to seethe in public instead of having to let it all fester in private.

But I think the topic was about photos being taken of children and whether permission was necessary, and not about someone's choice to have children or how to parent those children. Maybe I missed something.

If I hadn't read the comments, my reaction to the article would have been tongue in cheek to some extent and I would have moved on, but I'm amazed at how worked up people get. Really?

Life's too short. Besides, it's Friday.

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villageram June 24, 2011 @ 10:33 a.m.

Dear swickmaster. Proceed to the hospital. Youve been BURNED!!

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Fae June 24, 2011 @ 11:02 a.m.

As a parent I'm glad to know some basics of the laws regarding photos in public, as they've been set out here. Of course I won't trust a writer of an article implicitly, and I would check these laws out myself as well.

It is unfortunate the author of the article chose a smug and annoyed tone, "Parents can be irritatingly protective of their children." Irritatingly? Not a good foot to start off on, especially for someone who has no children and cannot imagine what the bond is like.

As for that 96% percent of people mentioned. Yes, most children hurt are hurt by people they know. That does not in anyway mean we stop doing whatever we can to stop the other 4%. They're not wearing signs, but they are often carrying cameras. We know this because when they're found out, so are their photos. I would not call them photographers in any way, but they are opportunists of the worst kind.

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TheJCut June 25, 2011 @ 3:31 a.m.

Wow, incredible how sideways these replies went. And the ugly comments... good lord. How does critiquing a woman's reproductive ability give you the moral high-ground? Someone take that man's keyboard away.

We are rapidly living in an age where very little is private. Cameras are everywhere, as the riots and subsequent arrests in the city beside me just proved. Chances are, in a day, you and your loved ones will be filmed by something. So why worry about it?

This hyper-protective attitude and moral panicking has to stop. It seems like people are so worried about what other people might do to their kids, but what ever happens? Has there been a rash of children being abducted by photographers, taken into a secret underground studio where adorable yet banal glamour shots are taken? Have the FBI pulled off a massive sting in your neighborhood, arresting dozens of people who own copies of Allan Moore's Lost Girls and Lolita on DVD(the original, not the remake)?

Your kids are living in a safer world than has ever existed before. Part of that is probably because everyone else is on camera, too.

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Fred Williams June 26, 2011 @ 5:34 a.m.

I'm a new father, protective as a grizzly bear...and if I'm in public I have every expectation that people can and will take pictures of my little one.

Parents need to get over themselves, stop projecting their insecurities on their kids, and most importantly of all, stop getting their legal and psychological education from television.

Barb, you are 100% right, both on the law and on the facts of life.

You can add more facts to your arsenal:

  • Crime has been dropping for two decades. Kids are far safer now than kids used to be. Yet FEAR of crime is at all time highs. Police, media, and politicians all get elected and more funding in the name of protecting children, so they hype the threat.

  • Over-sheltered, over-protected, over-praised, and over-weight kids have little chance of thriving in the world today. While America is pretty safe, the rest of the planet is not. When America really does go into crisis, these pampered little angels will be a danger to themselves and others.

  • Paranoia and the myth of "stranger danger" is shown to harm kids:

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/nurture-shock/2009/09/15/the-problem-with-teaching-kids-about-stranger-danger.html#

  • Finally, some practical advice. Don't tell kids "Don't talk to strangers." On the contrary, tell them not to answer when a stranger tries to talk to them. The kid should herself feel VERY confident in going to a stranger...and being able to talk to them and ask for help. This has been flipped on it's head, and it's long past time for it to be corrected.

So, as a father, I can guarantee you that not all parents are as ignorant, paranoid, misinformed, egocentric, and thickheaded as the ones you've described and engaged with here in arrogant opposition to not only you, Barb, but the freakin First Amendment of the Constitution.

(And if anyone is REALLY genuinely concerned about privacy for their families, they'd better get educated on how the 4th amendment has been gutted in America...worry about the TSA and your local SWAT breaking down your doors to search for a roach...not some woman in weird glasses taking pics of your cute toddler in the park.)

Best,

Fred Williams

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SurfPuppy619 June 26, 2011 @ 1:20 p.m.

Good post Fred, and although I agree with you 100% I do see the other side, not that I agree with the other side, but i can empythize (sp??) with them on this issue.

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Twister June 28, 2011 @ 2:52 p.m.

Fred for MAYOR!

Fred for GOVERNOR!

Fred for PRESIDENT!

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Fred Williams June 28, 2011 @ 9:19 p.m.

I'm flattered.

I'll tell my wife. I'm sure she'll be eager to start receiving death threats when I take on the most wealthy and powerful interests in San Diego in a doomed attempt to do what's right.

She'll be thrilled to see our savings spent, our reputations maligned, our privacy lost.

Having run for office already (1994, got over 70,000 votes for the SDCCD Board of Trustees in the city-wide run-off) and managed or volunteered on dozens of other races, I know it's no picnic -- especially if you're neither rich nor willing to sell yourself to the highest bidder.

What consistently amazes me is the low calibre of those who eventually win elected office. I've interacted with a number of well known San Diego politicians, and I can tell you they are particularly dull witted. (Not all, but most.)

Barb, I prefer my current work as an IT consultant. I can live anywhere in the world, and get paid to work with some of the smartest people on the planet.

Besides, it's my considered opinion that America is heading for a very dark and dangerous place in its history, and I'm pretty sure there's not much I can do to stop it. It's mostly too late now, I'm afraid. A peppy optimism about America's bright future is simply naive.

Historically, great falls are far more sudden and severe than we expect. America's great fall is on the way, I'm sure, though no one can say exactly when. Until then, even participating as I do (my work opposing CCDC corruption, advocating police reforms, helping on various campaigns in San Diego), is really just so much pissing in the wind. America's problems are structural, and getting worse. There's little reason to be hopeful that anything I do is going to change anything significant now.

Still, thanks for the compliment Barb. I wish America were the kind of country where an honest man can serve the public interest...but it's not. So I won't be asking my wife to give up everything so I can tilt at windmills and play hero by running for office.

Best,

Fred

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Twister June 28, 2011 @ 9:54 p.m.

Ahhh, laddie, 'tis trrue f' sure, b' optimism is the only option! A man with your insight is increasingly rare, an' y' kinna hide from Diogenes f'everr. Aim higher.

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JohnnyJ July 20, 2011 @ 8 a.m.

THAT GIRL THAT WAS KIDNAPPED FOR 18 YEARS, BY THAT GARRIDO GUY. GUESS WHAT? THAT MAN AND HIS WIFE USED TO FILM KIDS AT THE PARK.

THAT SHOULD EXPLAIN ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHY A PERSON MIGHT NOT WANT THEIR KID FILMED. DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THE LEGALITIES ARE. IF A PERSON ASKS YOU NOT TO, JUST APOLOGIZE AND MOVE ON. MANY OTHER CHILDREN AND FAMILIES WILL BE HAPPY TO SEE THEMSELF IN PRINT.

THE TONE TAKEN BY THE WRITER IS WEIRD. DOESN'T SEEM THAT HARD A CONCEPT TO UNDERSTAND.

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Barbarella Fokos July 20, 2011 @ 8:13 a.m.

Right. Doesn't matter what the law says, I killed him cuz he was wrong. And I'm the one with a comprehension issue? ;)

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Fred Williams July 20, 2011 @ 8:37 p.m.

THAT GUY ALSO CHEWED GUM IN PUBLIC!

SO IF ANYONE OBJECTS TO YOUR CHEWING GUM, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY STOP, BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU'LL KIDNAP CHILDREN!!!

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S_Ardent Jan. 30, 2013 @ 9:07 p.m.

America is in the trouble it is now because of people like these commenters. People who would give up their last right, their last free breath, just so they can feel safe and secure, regardless of the illusion it is.

The only safeties one has in today's world is the one makes for oneself, and rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Keep snapping!

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