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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not Your Grandma's Photo Album

A picture is worth a thousand words, and on the internet you have to worry not only about what they're saying, but to whom they're saying it.  Gone are the days of snapping candid family photos to be placed in a book taken out at your discretion for an audience of your choosing.  Too many people are forgetting that while facebook, flickr, photobucket and the like seem like a family photo album, they reach a long-ranging audience, many of whom will not understand their sense of humor.

Recently, a 19-year-old woman became internet famous after she published this photo on her facebook.  Publicly.

Rachel Stieringer is now facing one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor. Stieringer, who lives in Florida, says she thought it would be funny to post a photo her baby with a bong and a lighter.  A Texas resident did not agree, and called a Florida child abuse hotline to report the photo.   Police gave both Stieringer and her baby drug tests.  The baby's came back negative.  The bong, in this case, was just a prop.

Do I think the picture is funny?  Absolutely not.  But I am not here to judge Stieringer.  After all, there are many things I think are funny at which other people roll their eyes.

Like this:

Did you think that picture was funny?  Probably not.  But I find it hysterical.  Still, there is a huge difference between what I posted and what Stieringer posted, that difference being that no one can call the authorities on me for having poppers on high chairs.

If you want to be what I would consider crass, go for it.  If your sense of humor dictates you photograph your little one in a fake compromising situation, well, it's your camera, it's your baby, and as long as no one is getting hurt, it's not my business.  Until, of course, you post it up on the internet, and expect me to relish in your tastelessness.  Even then, most pictures merely end up on snark websites for others to laugh not with you, but at you.  Introduce something that may be illegal, and, well, you cannot expect the stranger on the street to know that there isn't any marijuana in that bong.

What I'm saying is, if you must take a picture of your child with a beer bottle - or next to baby powder squished into a line to look like cocaine, or being 'mauled' by the cat, or whatever else you think is funny that I don't - use the filters available to you on any of those photo-sharing sites.  Privacy filters can be your best friend, especially when your child's image is involved.  You and your buddies still get a laugh, your children still get to cringe in their teenage years, and nobody goes to jail.


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