A few days ago, my family and I put up our Christmas tree. My daughter loves decorating the tree and gleefully went about hanging her favorite ornaments. I watched her and, instinctively, I reached for my phone, snapped a quick candid and shared it over Instagram. Sharing of these moments and more is not uncommon; in fact, networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter rely heavily on this very activity. But just how protected are we, are our children, when we click that “post” button? Not very, as my good friend, Vanessa Bell of De Su Mama and a BabyZone blogger, is finding out.
Vanessa writes, “A few days before Thanksgiving, I found out some of the most disturbing information a blogger (and mother) can get: someone had stolen my daughter’s photos off my blog AND was claiming her as their own – for almost an entire year.”
That’s scary enough for any parent, but it actually gets worse.
Vanessa continues, “This woman also has an arrest record and has refused to take down Alina’s photos since I first tweeted her on November 26, 2013. The woman has posted photo after photo of my child all over – from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – claiming to be her mother, using the images to engages with me in sexually taunting manners (specifically on Twitter).”
At this point, you would think simply reporting the images would do the trick to get this Rebecca (the woman in question) banned, or at the very least, get the photos removed. Vanessa has screenshots, and I mean, she birthed her child, so what more could she need to protect her child’s images? The answer would depend on who you ask.
While Facebook was easy to work with to remove the images (although, apparently not all of them), Twitter won’t without a legal notice, and Instagram is very hard to monitor. As a mother, this terrifies me to my very core. We live in a digital world, where everything we do is tweeted, tagged, shared, or blogged. More protections need to be made so that parents don’t have to jump through hoops to protect their own child’s images. I know some will say, just don’t post them, but in my opinion, that’s just giving in to fear. Laws must catch up to the digital world to protect families like Vanessa’s from people like Rebecca. Currently, all Vanessa could do is request take downs and wait to see if this crazy woman tries to cause any actual, physical harm, because only then will law enforcement get involved. That’s just not enough.
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