Your Sitter and Your Kids’ Photos
by Latayne C. Scott
Recently I saw a dear friend post a collection of pictures about their family vacation. In one of them, their pre-teen daughter sprawled in shorts, pointing to something on a wall, with her legs open.
Her loving parents were oblivious to what others saw in the picture, and were very grateful when I pointed that out to them. They took that photo down immediately.
Other parents are understandably cautious about randomly posting photos of their children in bathing suits or in settings where a house number, for instance, can identify their location.
What most parents don't think about, though is the importance of setting a "no photos of my kids online" policy with babysitters and caregivers. While you as a parent might try to limit the distribution of online photos to just friends and family, your teenage babysitter may not do that; and furthermore may not have the maturity to recognize how photos and videos can sexualize kids: Your child in her underwear dancing like Beyoncé isn't just "cute" to a predator, but arousing.
My advice? As we outline in Protecting Your Child From Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger, you should have a written contract with every babysitter and caregiver in your life. One of the things that contract should specify is that they can take no photos of your children unless you are present.
Be vigilant. “Trust but verify”—monitor their online postings (Instagram, TikTok, and other apps) to make sure they're complying.
About the Author
Latayne C. Scott is the author of 25 published books and thousands of magazine articles. She is co-author with Dr. Beth Robinson of Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger (Bethany, 2019) and an upcoming book about how to talk to teens about sex (also to be published by Bethany.) She blogs with Dr. Beth Robinson at KidsCallMeDoc.com.
Her latest books are What Will Be Made Plain: An Amish Ghost Story (TSU Press, 2019), A Conspiracy of Breath (TSU Press, 2017), The Parables of Jesus (TSU Press, 2017), and as a contributor to Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds (Kregel 2017).
You can read “Latayne’s Corner” on the 4th Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.