Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Watermarking and the Scary Internet


We have all seen those Facebook posts "Share this so my 7th graders can see how big the internet really is" bla bla bla.  People share them, "oh what a great concept" and don't think about it more than that. But lately several of the blogs I follow have been talking about online privacy and it has really got me thinking.  

If we're friends on Facebook then you already know I don't share a lot of Natalie on Facebook.  I relegate her to Instagram because I can keep my account completely private, decide who can follow me and sharing my pictures isn't as easy there as it is on Facebook.  I don't share her on Facebook because I feel like I can't control who sees those pictures regardless of the "privacy" settings. (Yes, I know how ironic it is because I have the blog, but I feel like I only have a handful of people who follow my blog so it doesn't feel the same way to me - don't worry, I'll share more on this in a moment.) I once posted a picture of Natalie on Facebook and someone shared it which caught me completely off-guard. Why? Because what if someone else shares Nat's picture from that person's page? I can't control that. In no time, my daughter could have been shared on the internet by  people I don't know and I don't know who has that picture and what they are using it for.

Stephanie from Newlyweds: North just did a piece on watermarking that put a name to that fear: virtual kidnapping. There are some really strange and really sick people out there.  Reading the article (linked above) from the Washington Post about baby role-play really made that even more apparent to me and made me feel even more paranoid about how I can best protect my child. Virtual kidnapping.  Seriously? Who would have thought this could even be a rational fear?!  With the advent of the internet and social media, the fears of parents now are so different than the fears of my parents and those before. Megan from Willow & Co did a post that goes hand in hand with Stephanie's post and it really made me think about things I can do and things I can change to protect Natalie more.

So what now?  Now I am taking on a massive project of going back and watermarking every single picture I have on the blog that has my daughter's face on it.  This also means updating all of my pins on the Becoming the Wilkinsons pinterest board too.  I had debated deleting those posts, like Megan did, or simply removing all the pictures, but that seems harsh. I don't want to delete the posts that I took the time to write - especially since this is a tracking tool of sorts for me.  This is the diary of my motherhood journey. So from here on out, I am going to be watermarking anything that has Natalie's face on it.  I will continue to put my little @becomingthewilkinsons discretely on my pictures that include Brandon and I, but I will be more cognizant of watermark placement in pictures that are of just Natalie.  

It's a scary world out there and I know I can't protect her from everything, but damn it if I won't try!  And I know there are going to be people who scoff at this and people who will think I am crazy and that is absolutely okay by me. I am simply doing what I think is right for my family. Isn't that all any mama wants to do?


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