Being Concerned About Children’s Pictures Becoming Memes

Picture it. You are scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed one morning, while you sip your first cup of coffee, and suddenly… there’s a face you recognise.
Its an image that has been shared by a Facebook “friend” you have only a vague memory of meeting or ever speaking to, who found it on their friend’s feed – someone you don’t know at all.
Its been liked, and commented on, and shared numerous times already by this friend’s friend’s friends – never mind the attention it got when it was posted on The Divine Side Of Parenting, or the Dads Who Babysit Badly Facebook page*.

Its your child’s face!

It’s YOUR child!

Its the picture you took before cleaning up the mess he had made, ‘coz it was so typical and funny and you knew your family would get a laugh.
Its the picture you took because your little princess looked so cute all pink and smiling on her tiptoes after her bubble bath and you knew her granny would love it.
Its the picture you took ‘coz they were smiling in an especially cute way, like they had just been mischievous and your timing was perfect.

And now it has a caption on it. In bold white text.

There are quite a few very well known memes on the internet that are made using pictures of children. They have many different captions ‘coz there are some very clever and funny people in this world. Some of those captions are mean and crass and offensive.
And they are on the internet forever.
You’ll know them if you see them (I have deliberately blurred the images so they won’t be shared yet again). Do you think their parents shared them as memes, or in the hopes they would become memes? What about when these children are Googled by prospective employers one day? The internet doesn’t go away. It can’t be deleted.

You’ve seem them before, haven’t you? You may even have commented on them, liked them, and shared them and thought nothing of it.

Think before you post pictures of your children online. It doesn’t matter if your Twitter feed is private, or what your privacy settings on Facebook are – they are changed all the time, nothing is safe.

And remember that pictures of naked and semi-naked children are considered child pornography when posted online in South Africa. Yes – even babies, and yes – even when posted by the child’s parents.

And I don’t give a crap how justified you think your cause is – you may NEVER post pictures of someone else’s naked children without their permission!
It was an incident exactly like this that got me onto this subject today – a woman photographed a naked child, and shared it publicly on Facebook because she didn’t like the circumstances under which the child was naked – she was all “I won’t rest until I find out what was going on…” and “I won’t rest until I find this child’s parents…“.
This is not how you take action, FCOL. How dare you.

*not actual Facebook pages

You may want to read:

Being a Mom Reaching Milestones

Not seeing my son on his birthday! 🙁

Today my gorgeous son turns 26.

At 2:43 this morning his 26th year on this earth ended.
And this year is the first year I won’t see him on his birthday!

I couldn’t wake him up with coffee and presents.
I haven’t baked him a birthday cake.

I miss him SO much!
And I am SO proud of him!

He works too far away for us or for him to pop in for cake and tea. I would have loved to surprise him!

Another Parenting Milestone.

Another parenting milestone, and not one I was ever looking forward to.

Its going to be my first Christmas without my boy. :'(

He had been gone almost eight weeks – the longest its ever been for me not to see him at all – and he was briefly home from working in Mozambique so I got to see him for a few days.
But this morning I dropped him off as they head back to the dive centre with a massive trailer full of supplies and groceries.
And as I pulled the car into the garage at home I suddenly started crying when I realised I don’t know when I will see him again.

He’s working all through Christmas, and new year, and when they do come back into South Africa for supplies, they don’t come all the way to Joburg.

I miss him a lot, and I can talk to him on the phone, but its not nearly the same.

I Miss You, My Daddy Darling

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August 7th 2016 was the 46th anniversary of my mommy and daddy darling “going steady”. It was also the day my daddy darling died.

My dad was “Uncle Duck” to many, many people, a larger than life personality who made friends wherever he was, drawing you in to his space and making you laugh. Able to discuss almost any subject, my dad’s general knowledge was vast, yet you never felt like he was trying to lecture you.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with my dad in attendance, you would have found yourself being fed peach schnapps on the dance floor, and you couldn’t say no!
And he was a prankster too!
My BBF and I spent weekends and school holidays in each other’s homes, and one weekend we were riding bikes when Gen took a tumble, grazing her knee badly on the gravel. We limped home, and she sat in the bath as we rinsed stones and grit from the cuts on her knee. Then my dad appeared, full of concern, with a tin of mercurochrome spray. He gently patted Gen’s injuries dry, spritzing a little of the spray on her knee as he worked, and then before she could blink he sprayed a bright orange-red stripe of mercurochrome from her knee to her ankle! She went to school like that for a week before it finally washed off properly!

My dad’s family was his treasure. He loved nothing more than spending time with all of us together, and any occasion was a reason to get together. I have treasured childhood memories of me and my sister B as little girls, gallivanting to the movies with my dad, just us three, watching The Fox and the Hound and Bambi on the big screen. He loved tradition! He dressed up as Santa to hand out Christmas presents. He went to great lengths to hide Easter eggs for his children and grandchildren to hunt in the garden. We were given bicycles for our 8th birthday, a good quality watch for our 14th birthday, and sometimes for sport – a tin of condensed milk and a box of jelly powder wrapped in newspaper, like he got as a schoolboy.
I remember one time, he and my mom caught and painstakingly painted doors and windows on a couple of garden snails, so that we little girls could “find them” in the garden and see the snails carrying their own houses!

When I was raising my knucklehead on my own, my dad was there if I needed him. No matter how hard it was for him to be a father figure for my son as well as being his grampa, he never let me down.

My daddy darling, you can be proud. My life is filled with happy, treasured memories of us.

I miss you so much.

And I will be careful, always.

My Son, the Professional.

Wow.

I am still pinching myself.

Our knucklehead is now a fully qualified, PADI certified, Dive Instructor, passing his exams with distinctions and sporting a CV chock-full of related qualifications like Rescue Diving and Emergency First Response training.
He’s now adding Free Diving Instructor to that list, and he is on cloud nine.

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Last Sunday, the day after his exams, we went to celebrate with him and the other newly qualified candidates, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the knucklehead happier. He didn’t stop grinning, and if you asked him how he was, he threw his arms in the air and literally whooped!

If you had told me, even two years ago when he had just started his internship, that we would reach this point, I would probably have smiled, hesitant to take it as a given, even though I had all my fingers and toes crossed that he would make this work!
And it has been ALL him. He has had to work and study and look after himself – cooking, cleaning, doing his washing… We paid for his internship and supplied him with groceries, but he had to do all the work!
He has matured and grown up so much.
He is so proud of himself.
And we are so proud of him.