What to Do When a Stranger Takes a Picture of Your Child

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I was sitting in an airplane, happened to glance in front of me and saw a picture of my son on someone else's phone. I glanced again. I was shocked and wondered why they would take a picture of him. I told my husband and he asked the people in front of us about it. They denied it and gave a random excuse. My husband was firm and said, "It's not okay." It scared and worried us that a stranger would just snap a picture of someone else's kid. I looked online and sure enough other parents that have had the same issue of random strangers taking pictures of their kids. Some parents have grabbed the phone from strangers only to see dozens of pictures of kids. Some parents talked to police about it, but there was nothing they could really do about it. The following weekend we were on an airplane again and I was sitting next to someone. I had my daughter on my lap. The stewardess came to ask the other person to move to a different seat and I glanced down to get something and noticed that on the stranger's phone was a picture of my daughter. I immediately asked her about it. The stranger said it must have been an accident and said she would delete it. I watched her delete it and move to another seat. I learned a few things from these experiences:

1. Be aware of people with phones around you - Now days, everyone walks around with their phone in their hands and has instant access to a camera. Watch around for someone who has their phone aimed at your child or seems interested in your child. Be aware of your surroundings.

2. If you see a stranger with a picture of your child on their phone or taking a picture of your child, immediately say something and let them know that it's not okay. If you catch them in the act, it's hard for them to deny it. Make sure that you also speak loudly enough that others around you can hear you too. Embarrassment can help prevent someone from doing it to someone else and help them to realize it's not okay.

3. Speak out when someone is doing something that makes you comfortable or fear for the safety of your child. If you aren't comfortable, speak out. The more we speak out, the less the practice becomes the norm.

4. Be very careful about posting pictures online. Here's a great article on why you should be safe, click here.

5. If you see someone taking a picture of someone's kid and the parent doesn't seem to be aware. Please speak out and say something. I would appreciate it and I am sure the parent would too.

You may wonder what's the big deal? The big deal is I worry about the safety of my children. I don't know why the stranger is taking a picture of my child and what they plan to do with it. I am sure other parents feel the same way too. I have a greater understanding of how celebrities feel when they are hounded by paparazzi....violated. If you do want to take a picture of someone even if you know them, you should ALWAYS ASK FIRST and be okay with whatever response they give you.

Additional Sources:

1. What to Do If a Stranger Photographs Your Child
2. What Should You Do When a Strangers Takes Photos of Your Child
3. Mom Says Stranger Snapped Pics of Her Child in Walmart 
4. When a Stranger Takes Photographs
5. Strangers Taking Pictures of Your Child --creepy or criminal?
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