There are times to keep your tech in your pocket

Today I was lucky enough to head to Lancaster County Pennsylvania. I was not exactly sure what to expect. As I drove west from Philadelphia I enjoyed being out of the city and was excited when I saw my first horse and carriage being driven by an Amish man. As I got closer to Intercourse (yes there really is a town called Intercourse) there were more people in traditional Amish clothes driving buggies. I did want to pull over and get my camera out, but I decided not to. As I got closer to Intercourse I realised I was entering some kind of Amish theme park. There were literally bus loads of people in the very small town. A whole tourism industry has grown up around the Amish, their clothes, their buggies, their quilts and their way of life. I don’t know much about the Amish and their beliefs but I did not feel comfortable taking their photograph like they were some kind of freak show.

There are times when just because you can pull out your smartphone or camera and take photos of people does not mean you should. Having the ability to take a photo anywhere anytime has, I think, got out of hand. I saw people today taking photos of Amish people going about their every days lives but for me it felt wrong. These people are not tourist attractions so for me it did not feel right. There was an interesting tension as many of the Amish worked in and may even own the tourist shops selling all kinds of touristy crap (most of which seemed to be made in China) but I still did not feel comfortable photographing them.

I did take one photo today, it felt OK because there were no people or identifying details in the photo.

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Have you ever been in a situation where you want to take photos but you either knew or felt it wasn’t right?

Keeping kids off the radar

I’m surprised Dear Reader that my previous post did not create greater discussion, as I have previously been involved in face to face discussions about the pictures parents post online. A long with the different parenting styles the rules about posting photos online a different for each family.

There are all kinds of terrible stories about what can happen to photos you post online, some are more true than others. You may think you have the strongest password, but you just never know what can happen to photos you post online.  I know I have copied and pasted photos from the internet, even though I know I’m not supposed to.  

The reality is that the internet is forever, and anything you post online will be there forever so it’s a good idea to make sure you think about anything you post online.  

For what it’s worth here’s what I think about posting pictures of children online, two simple rules.  

  1. Don’t post any photos (of anyone) online you would not be happy to see up in shop window for the world to see – ever!
  2. Limit potentially embarrassing photos of your children as they are likely to not like it when they are older.  You also don’t know what impact they might have in the future. We all have embarrassing photos of ourselves but thankfully mine are in albums not online for the world to see.

In honour of this post I won’t be posting a picture of me as a baby as they are safely stored in an album in my parent’s library, but here’s a picture of Blossom the cat, ‘helping’ me watch TV.  Pets aren’t too fussy about their digital footprint 🙂

Blossom the cat in front of TV