Jaime Y. was in the waiting room of her doctor's office when she noticed a man taking a photo of her daughter with his camera phone — while pretending to be doing something else with it. She shot him a dirty look and he put his phone away, but this Circle of Moms member is angry that a stranger now has photos of her child. What he did, she says, was "creepy."
While many moms who've had these types of encounters echo Jaime's sense of violation, many others report only a sense of mild discomfort. Why the range of responses? Parents have wildly different sensitivities to danger, as the stories below reveal.
Where — and Why — to Draw the Line
Caitlin A. is one mom who doesn't get rattled by strangers snapping pictures of her child. Often, she explains, the person is from another country or culture, and this kind of interest in your child is perfectly innocent. When she took her daughter to a local festival, several groups of international tourists asked her, politely, if they could snap her picture. She found their requests harmless and sweet. She adds, though, that if these tourists had not asked permission, or if her child had not been fully clothed, she would've felt entirely differently.
Most moms seem to agree that a line should be drawn with strangers who don't ask permission, and that the threat of pedophilia is the reason. Someone with bad intentions could use the picture to identify your child later, perhaps when she's at the same location with someone other than you. As several moms point out, in this situation, a predator who know what your child looks like could more easily pose as someone familiar.
But perhaps the scariest scenario of all is one raised by Jennifer A.: when you are not aware that someone is photographing your child. With requests made openly, at least you can rely on your instincts and make the judgment call to say no based on the context. What parents really need to worry about is the sneaky people. As she advises, it pays to stay alert.
Have you ever encountered a stranger photographing your child?
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