64 Responses

  1. As much as this stuff drives me crazy, I do enjoy following this blog. You are so delightful, Lenore! May I take your picture, or do I need the permission from everyone who reads this blog 😉

  2. Wilson, I presume by your name that you’re a man so while Lenore might give you permission, the rest of us will have to sit here judging and side-eyeing you until security arrives to remove you. Not to mention, you’ve only requested permission HERE and not via Form A52B with Form P97Y attached. And good luck getting THOSE through before old age! If we rushed, we might suffer a papercut. 😉

  3. Great post! 🙂

    Actually, I AM that parent who takes pictures of other people’s kids. Only, the sport is ice hockey, so due to the lighting and the speed of the game, only high-end camera equipment can adequately capture the action. So I take pictures and post them ONLINE for parents to download. In the past eight years and over 50,000 pictures later, I have never had one complaint or request to take a picture down. It might be because you really can’t see anything other than a face under all the smelly protective equipment, but I think it also has to do with how the photographer carries themselves, particularly if they have high-end equipment. I think you DO need to network and create a comfort level with the parents rather than shooting from the shadows, but I would never ever ASK before I took pictures. That’s where all the problems start.

  4. Sigh… Thankfully, our school has not gotten there. I hope we never do.

    I do want to ask that you continue to blog along with vlogging. I’m not a video water. I watched this one, actually because I didn’t realize it was a video and wondered where the text was, and I love you, Lenore, and love getting to know you via video, but…I just don’t have the patience for videos. Plus it makes coworkers wonder what the heck I”m doing when they hear videos going on!

    I know…I’m stuck in the dark ages!

  5. Can you go old school on them?
    I would bring a sketch pad and art supplies and draw their likeness as well as some of their teammates in action around them. If anyone complained about me capturing their snowflake’s image, I would quickly transform the face into a zombie monster.

  6. Great post, Lenore. Just some technical pointers:
    Turn off the fan in the background, it’s distracting how it turns on and off.
    Filter the light, it’s too harsh.
    Um, please, you um, use far too many um, ums.

    On topic though, she does not need permission from everyone under the sun. Pull out the camera and start clicking away. If someone gives static, ignore them. Or better yet, take their picture.

  7. I’m with dmd. I’m stuck on an old, slow computer until my better one gets fixed, which could be a while, and videos just aren’t happening. And dmd makes a good point — videos aren’t always work-appropriate, even if the content is fine. They’re distracting in workplaces or if you use the computer in a public place. It would be good to have the option to skip the video and still get the (wonderful) content.

  8. I also prefer written posts; I don’t have the time or inclination to watch videos.

  9. Net ball is like volleyball not basketball. I agree that I prefer written post.

  10. I want written posts too, I rarely watch a video. I would only watch a video if the written post is so compelling that it draws me in.

  11. Count me in for the written posts too. If you have something useful to say you can write it down. Opinion videos are for self-involved tweens on youtube.

  12. Videos are blocked here at work so I can’t watch, and I rarely sit at the computer at home. I need Free Range text! 🙂

  13. Another vote for written articles.

  14. I typed a transcript of the video, I hope that’s okay. (Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands today, ha ha.)

    I will echo the others somewhat in terms of video vs written-text, but not exactly–I like it that you’re “vlogging,” it makes it seem more “media-like,” we get to hear your voice inflections, see your body language & facial expressions etc. I like all of that. It’s just that I like the option of text for reading as well. I’ve always been a reader for years, there’s just something about reading words that really helps nourish the mind. And you can easily read in some environments where you can’t see the video content (on a smartphone, for instance, or in noisy environments).

    So in other words, I say, keep “vlogging,” but also type up the content, so I & others with free time on our hands aren’t compelled to (ha ha).

    Here is the transcript, I will them comment on the substance of the article in another comment.

    Here’s today “letter of the day” from a mom who had the audacity to try & take a photo of her child playing basketball.

    “I wanted to take a photo & a short video of my daughter playing netball [which is like Australian basketball] so I could send it to her grandparents. I was advised I needed permission from: all the players’ parents on my daughter’s team AND the opposition team as well as the umpires [uh, yeah, because adults are so upset when you take their picture at a game] and written permission from the association. All I can think of is how does this policy protect my child?”

    The answer is, obviously, it isn’t. It doesn’t do anything other than, let’s see, it promotes petty tyranny on the part of the people running this stupid association that somehow thinks that all parents are nefarious pedophiles for taking pictures of their children playing. It promotes the idea of technophobia, if your child’s picture is–anybody child’s picture–is captured electronically & then sent over these scary scary waves to somebody’s Facebook where anybody can see it, somehow that endangers children because, I don’t know, because they’re not a blank page on the yearbook? Why, Why people think that when your child’s picture shows up anywhere other than, um, on your mantlepiece, they’re in danger, it’s a new thing, it doesn’t make any sense.

    Um, then of course, there’s “predator panic,” that anybody who’s taking a picture of a child could be. um, a disgusting pervert. Although, if a digusting pervert took my kid’s picture & took it home–uk, uk, uk, I’m not going to think about it too hard, but if they did, you know, [gestures as if to say “not a big deal really”], that’s my, um, that’s my word of advice [gestures again], not actually a word. Um, and then, of course, it’s just the bureaucratization of everyday life. Suddenly this woman needs, um, let’s see, 10 girls from her daughter’s team, 10 from the other team, a couple of umpires & all the parents–about 35,000 signatures, uh, to take her daughter’s picture and send it to the grandparents. But that’s what’s happening when we live in a society that believs children can never be too safe. Let’s add another layer of protection that’s really just meaningless.

  15. I can’t watch the vlog since I am reading from Africa and the internet is beyond slow.

    At the international school here no permission in needed and most of us are sporting huge cameras with big lenses, since we bought them for safari so we could really zoom in. No one seems to mind, thankfully. We just snap away.

  16. This hits home for me because I am a parent of 2 kids ages 3 & 5 and also because I take photos of EVERYTHING, and especially because few things, if anything, rankle my nerves more than people acting like your wanting to take photos of anything in public makes you like the KGB or Jerry Sandusky or something or someone to be feared and to watch carefully.

    It’s a bunch of horse manure. As Lenore said, “Why people think that when your child’s picture shows up anywhere other than, um, on your mantlepiece, they’re in danger, it’s a new thing, it doesn’t make any sense.” You’re stinking RIGHT it doesn’t make any sense. It makes no sense at all. What, are freaking aliens from Mars going to see your kid’s picture & abduct your child to outer space & force them to be enslaved to hard manual labor until the 25th century or something?

    I’ve told this story before, but it bares repeating. Two years ago at a garage sale, when my son was 1, a young girl of age 11 or so took a liking to him, picked him up and was holding him adoring him. I saw this and, as is common for me, I snapped a photo of it. I was documenting the preciousness of another child, 11 years old (my guess), adoring my child, and the sweetness of it all.

    A few moments later a woman approached me asking me to delete the photograph because “I don’t know you.” I refused to do it. This was a picture I was taking of my child and I will be damned if I was going to delete it over her stupid paranoia. Besides, as I told her, if you want to be that way about it, I don’t know you or your daughter, and yet it didn’t stop her from just picking up my son without asking me, the parent, if it was okay–for all I know, you & your girl both are hooked on ecstasy & your child is slipping pills into my son’s mouth. But, unlike you, I don’t think that way, I just see 2 children innocently enjoying it each, and I’m taking a picture–get over it, lady.

    I’d like to see someone try & stop me from photographing my child playing in a basketball game, I dare them to. They are going to have a fight on their hands like they’ve never even thought of. It won’t be pretty.


  17. I’m reading from Africa too! Nice to know I’m not the only globe-trotting Free-range mom. And yes, I prefer written posts, as I often read during my lunch break at work.

    On the photo issue – I remember reading once about photo copyright laws and such, and that a photographer has the right to take photos in public and use them how they want. The only issues arise when the photographer is using the photos for commercial purposes. So if I was the mom, I’d just go ahead and shoot – there’s nothing they can do about it. Maybe things are different in Australia, who knows.

  18. Lenore,

    I read your site on an iPod, that means I can’t watch the videos. I suspect I’m not your only reader in this situation. Would you consider including a brief write up for us?


  19. I love the vlogs (that face to say “not a big deal” was perfect and can’t be translated to print) BUT I definitely understand the followers who’d rather read and/or read your posts at work and will therefore miss out. My question to Lenore and all of us is — what is the best way to get this word out — out to everyone — not just to all of us believers? How to get beyond preaching to the choir kind of thing. I think the vlogs might make their way more quickly around Facebook (I’m not on it anymore and don’t like it, but it’s the world we live in). Basically I think the vlogs could go viral more easily b/c we are such an image-focused, visual society these days or at least young people are. I think maybe of them may not have the patience to read, while meanwhile we (I’m 36) may not have the patience to watch.

    LRH – that story is amazing. You make such a good point. If any paranoid parent was going to overreact to that scene, it would be the child of the baby (you). Instead, you acted the way almost anyone would have acted a generation ago. Oh, cool, I get a minute to look at this tchotchkes unencumbered by my 1-year-old while that nice girl plays with him. That’s what I would still think (and I’m guessing most of us on here).

  20. @Gweneth. This is not the Aussie way… but unfortunately knobheads seem to manage to gain positions where they can make their knobhead rules so they can feel big and heroic… lol wow great job the pedo across the road with the high powered camera is free to take pics but they managed to save the poor defenceless child from her mum…

  21. @ LRH, thanks for the transcript.
    When I was in 4th grade, the school had these forms the parents had to sign if they DIDN’T want their kid’s picture taken/publicly released for whatever. The form supposedly forbid visiting journalists from taking and publishing the child’s picture.

    My parents signed and turned in the form.

    Toward the end of the year two classes did a model rocket launch, with a news paper reporter present. Next day, the city newspaper featured a large picture of me in oversize safety goggles, controller in hand, watching my model rocket shoot skyward. And a slightly smaller picture of me (surrounded by larger classmates) preparing my model for launch. [The caption included my name, age, grade, and school… you know all the things kids aren’t supposed to tell lest the boggy man get them.]

    No one complained, and my parents never did sign that form again.

  22. LRH–thanks for transcript. I hate the video. Please write text

    I also will say that LRH’s arguments and those of others on this blog have made me tolerant of photographers. Personally I hate taking pictures and I am not much for having my image or my kids’ images on the internet for eternity. Personally, I would rather live life than hide behind a view finder.

    HOWEVER, the passion people demonstrate here for their “right” to photograph has convinced me that this is one of those rights that although I don’t like, I must defend. Now I tolerate and just hope that no one puts a picture of my fat butt in my bathing suit on the local newspaper or blog.

  23. LRH, thanks for the transcript.

    Aside from people who visit your site on a machine that either a. can’t watch videos or b. is in a public area where, perforce, they can’t hear what’s being spoken, there are always people who can’t hear or who can hear but can’t easily comprehend what’s being said (I’m thinking auditory processing disorders or perhaps non-native speakers who can read English fine but can only struggle through hearing it in an unfamiliar accent).

    If you want a wide range of people to understand you, it’s generally best to include a transcript. (And if you include your own, you can edit out all the ums and uhs and filler words!)

    With that said, the whole subject is stupid, stupid, stupid. Permission slips to take photos of your own kid? Aside from being totally pointless and completely unenforceable, how, exactly, do they expect to manage this?

  24. Ditto the need for a transcript. Thanks LRH. If I watch a video on my laptop my kids are instantly drawn in. If I read text they just think I’m working on schoolwork or email. Written posts help me be a little more discrete while web surfing 😀

  25. I agree, Lenore, about the paranoia surrounding a child’s image “popping up” somewhere on the “evil internet” and spurring an imaginary “pervert” to action… meaning they would somehow track your child down! Wow, does that seem convoluted to me. Already it’s so damned rare for a stranger to grab or hurt a child, and then this subcategory (which I’m figuring is still just a fantasy / urban myth) of “predators” who search the internet for adorable kids and hunt them down… does this ever happen? And even if it does, do I imagine there’s a likelihood greater than, say, that of the sky turning purple and it raining grape juice?

    I’ve mentioned before that I have a friend who thought it was reprehensible for single guys on dating websites to post photos of themselves with their kids. Of course, it was because he was selfishly putting his kids in DANGER of being MOLESTED by a PEDOPHILE. Huh?? Would it be any different if he took his kids to the grocery store? I walked her through the whole thing, insanely unlikely step by insanely unlikely step to get to the conclusion she imagined was foregone… thinking this exercise would cure her of her derision of these proud dads. Nope. She remains convinced that any photo of a kid on the internet is like a banner on your home saying, “I have a kid here inside, and he’s a bit sad because his parents got divorced, and he needs adult attention, so please, come and groom him into a twisted, one-sided, power-abusing sexual relationship.”


  26. Another African here!

    I recently created a website for a lady who does children’s parties. Because it is a website for a business we felt it was prudent to only use pictures for which she got permission from parents, where faces were clearly visible. But if I want to take pics of my child and there are others in the picture I don’t think it would be a problem here. This afternoon I had a whole bunch of strange kids (partygoers at aforementioned business) feeding my horse carrots. I was sorry that I didn’t have my camera on my at the time as I would have loved to take a pic of the scene – excited kiddies and grateful horse being fed as many carrots as he can hold.

  27. Brian – I wanted to say I generally agree about taking photos. Hate watching people “experience” something only through their camera or video camera. Saw parents doing this at a dance recital last week. So you were *at* the recital, where you could have watched your daughter dance in real life, but instead you watched it on a 2-inch screen held between your face and the stage. WHAT???

    mollie – thank you so much for spelling that out..i’m often trying to make the point to. i just don’t get the jump from photo to molestation. i had never made the argument in such a concrete way. are you going to do the michael jackson bag over the head in public? that’s the only consistent way to act if you don’t want anyone ever to see your kids. THAT’S not going to attract attention.

    on a related subject – i’ve seen people posting new baby photos with a black banner across the eyes. (sorry i just have to laugh even writing this.) is that something new? is there ANY rational for it at all? it’s like “you see me, you see my sweaty, exhausted wife holding the newborn baby. you know we have a baby..and that if you came to our house in the middle of the night you’d find one there, but ..haha!!!…we’re pme step ahead of you. you won’t know what the baby actually looks like!

  28. Another vote for a transcript of each vlog; maybe it could be right underneath the vlog post? Thanks LRH. I’m not a big video person either.

  29. To clarify: I LIKE the video and I LIKE the idea of “vlogging.” I’m big on reading, but I know people who aren’t, and a video they will watch even if they may not read the column. Also, it is nice to see some of your personality–your tone of voice, how you dress (I think you dress very nicely by the way and I LOVE the glasses), your hand gestures, your sarcasm in your voice–these are things video can convey.

    I am just saying I like a transcript to SUPPLEMENT it. It doesn’t have to be exactly word-for-word dead-on as I tried to type it (of course I noticed a typo or two after I posted it), so long as it tells the story same as the write-ups did before.

    Rachel Don’t jump to conclusions that someone who is taking a lot of photographs at an event isn’t “soaking it in” (my words) or at least trying to. It’s just that photos allow you to re-live it later & remember details later. The idea is to “experience” it yet document it at the same time, without one meaning the exclusion of the other. It can be done. Yes, if you are fiddling with camera settings too much, it can be a distraction, but it’s not like that for me anyway. I know my cameras very well & don’t get bogged down with such things. I am going to WANT to document it, so much so that I make a point of refusing to go to places (particular museums etc) if I can’t take photos while there. It bothers me too much to not be allowed to. (I do understand, though, when they do that at places such as the Treasure Department in Washington DC where you see them printing the money.)


  30. LRH – maybe you’re a better multitasker than me. I always feel it disrupts the experience. Plus with the dance recital I found seeing the guy’s video in front of me distracting, as well.

    A few years ago I ran a 5K at the Bronx Zoo with some friends early on a Sunday morning. I had my toddler there too, (in a running stroller). Afterwards we wanted the zoo for a few hours and it had the most peaceful, dreamlike quality. I tried to put my finger on what was different than the usual zoo experience and then realized — since we had come to run, no one had a camera.

  31. Rachel Well that’s you, and that’s okay, heck I don’t consider myself a multi-tasker at all, but I do manage that. If the zoo experience was better for you due to the absence of photography, again fine for you–me, I’m photographing the sucker.

    As for seeing the guy’s video in front of you–oh well. If that was me in the audience, you’d sure been seeing my still images on playback as I was checking them out.

    You have to forgive me if I’m abrasive about this. My thing is my mother, for one, is someone who will go on a 2 week vacation and may take 10 photos MAXIMUM, because she’s “soaking it in.” No problem at all, I don’t for a minute get on her “you should take more photos, for crying out loud, you may never come back here again,” I accept her that way. The problem is she doesn’t reciprocate per se, she’s prone to griping at me & others who like to take more than 10 photographs over a 2 week period. She doesn’t accept that others like to take lots of photos as part of the experience, you have to be like she is or else you’re someone who needs to be fixed. I say–you experience the vacation your way, I’ll experience it my way. I’m a grown man for crying out loud.

    And yes, I also get irritated at these people who act like someone taking a photo & having it anywhere other than their mantle-peace is like practically sending an RSVP to every weirdo & pervert in the land, especially when it leads to the insanity talked about in this article. Get over it already.


  32. Re: Vlogging

    I can see the vlogs as a supplement to the daily posts, maybe a once-a-week thing, the Tuesday Tirade or Free-Range Friday report.

    In blogs, older information gets stacked below new information and it’s good to keep current and new. But videos seem to all float around in the same big pile. I think that the vlogs don’t have to be as topical, letter-of-the-day style, but can be more enduring, like your wonderful Big Think interview discussing what free-range parenting is and why we need it today.

    The vlog

  33. Cont.

    The vlog format is also a good place to respond to public and media appearances where you are not able or allowed to tell your story or to reinforce your message (I’m looking at you, Anderson).

    Finally, you are such a talented and witty writer, and your in-person delivery is so delightful and engaging that I think it would be ok to combine the two and make your vlogs a little more scripted/polished so your wonderful voice can be heard loud and clear.

  34. Mollie – Your friend was complaining about heterosexual men advertising for women putting pictures of their kids on dating websites? While also, I assume, believing, as most do, that all pedophiles are men. So she assumes that there are a large number of pedophiles who paid to join match.com just to troll the site for heterosexual males who happen to have children? And then what? They pretend to be women just to get an address to be able to steal the child? Or do they spend the next several months dressing in drag to get close to these children?

    I think people have suddenly decided that photographs steal the soul. I can think of no other reason for this obsession over other people having our children’s picture.

    My child was apparently on TV – and dressed in her bathing suit to boot – this week. There is not much happening by way of anything interesting in American Samoa so the local TV station films everything and random nonsense ends up on TV, including apparently my daughter’s swimming lessons. No releases to be signed or advance notice to parents. Nobody pulled their kid out of the class or asked them to not film (my daughter is the only palagi). I had court and a friend took her to lessons so I wasn’t even aware it happen until my boss told Maya that she saw her on tv (Well Maya had told me that TV cameras were there but I didn’t believe that something as idiotic as swimming lessons would be on Tv and told her it must have been the newspaper).

    Contrast that to the palagi (white) who yelled at me for allowing my child to go to the library (the building right next to my office which id apparently “wandering the village”) alone because there may be a fire, earthquake, tsunami, or child predator. Ignoring the fact that I cannot prevent natural disasters, Samoan families sleep on multigenerational pads on the floor. Am I to really worry that some pedophile, who has regular access to his granddaughters in the same bed, is going to make the effort to kidnap my child from the library (especially since Samoans are not the industrious sort)? And then what? It is a 26 square mile island with limited passage off. And it is not easy to hide my blue-eyed, blonde palagi in the sea of Polynesians.

  35. I think you’re cool, Lenore, but I too don’t like vlogs or podcasts, and this post tells it best: http://www.idlewords.com/audio-manifesto.txt

  36. Just to balance the voices I like the vlog – as an additional way to get the message out. I like your incredulity and passion which comes across in spades when we get to see and hear you. And think of all those blind people who can hear the message now 😉

    Keep up the good work. Let’s just keep shouting about this in as many varied and different ways as possible.

  37. There are days where the rules surrounding our children are just too much. Today is one of those days. Ugh.

  38. Oh, just to clarify, I don’t dislike the vlogs. If I were able to watch them, I’m sure I’d enjoy them. But please include text also — a summary of the main points, if not an actual transcript.

  39. Lenore, I think what you did with the last post (video and summary) would be a good compromise so that those who want video get it and those who don’t or can’t still have text. Then we can all meet in the comments to talk about it.

  40. I like a combination too. It’s different way to get the information. Video alone really doesn’t do it for me.

    That said, I love it when a parent takes photos at school events and posts them. One of my friends does that, and it’s a real help. Different perspective from mine if I have my camera along, and I’m great for forgetting it. Besides, she has a better camera and doesn’t have a toddler to chase or keep quiet (depending on the event) like I do.

  41. As to the photography issue. I’ve told the story before of how my aunt as a pre-teen was at the park showing off and doing all kinds of gymnastics. She was quite photogenic and a local photographer snapped photos of her antics. Years later my grandmother met and became friends with the photographer. When he realized my grandmother was the mother of the girl he had taken photos of years earlier he tracked them down and gave copies to my grandmother. Those pictures are some of her most precious possessions because they documented a big part of my aunt’s personality she didn’t have the time or skill to photograph herself. As a child I was in the paper a few times and my mother has those framed for all the world to see. Neither thought the photographers had any nefarious motives.

    Fast forward to now. I live in the land of retirees and my children are rather photogenic. Something about my son’s devilish smile and my daughter’s red curls and Irish eyes. Both have been photographed by strangers and although I wish/hope I’m not in any of those pictures, I have no problems with them being photographed. My husband’s friend put in announcements for the birth of both of our kids into their old high school alumni newsletter (she teaches there now) complete with photos. Instead of being upset I thought it was a really sweet gesture. My sister in law has hundreds of photos of the kids plastered all over facebook. While neither my husband or I are on it we think its great that she captures all those moments we miss and shares them with our friends all over the world. Heck they’ve even ended up on the website for a local restaurant we visit often. Strangers have surely seen the photos on facebook, the website, the newsletter and obviously the photos strangers have taken. None of that threatens my children and none of that bothers me in the least. Just because I am not a shutter bug doesn’t mean I can’t see the value in it. Can there be anything better than sharing a child’s joy, innocence and first experiences in the world? What better way to spread the happiness that brings than through photography. Maybe we’d curb some of this worst first mentality if we shared more of it instead of less.

  42. Stumbled across this site today after growing frustrated with the parenting around me.

    Are you telling me that your kids all sleep in their own beds? That you don’t rush them to the ER the minute a bump forms on their forehead? That you allow them to hang out with other kids and not have to rush over the second there looks like a disagreement? If so … I’m in!

    In regards to today’s topic, it actually doesn’t have to do with kids but my sister-in-law (who I sort of mentioned in the prior paragraph) had issues with us posting photos of her wedding, despite the fact that we took the pictures with our own camera. She also had issues with us taking pictures of her son’s birthday and posting them despite the fact it was our camera. She also had issues that there weren’t an even number of pictures that included her, despite it being my kid’s birthday and my Mom taking random pictures. We actually joked about having a “Johnson Photo Authorization Form”. I thought it was funny.

    I’d like to know more about this Free-Range Kids thing and if I’m in the right place. I’m kind of anti-attachment parenting (to an extent) and am looking for parents who are “normal”. Nowadays everyone seems so overprotective that my wife and I can’t stand to be friends with anyone. Please help!

  43. I don’t know the specific legalities in Australia, but if someone told me this while I was taking picture/video of my kid in a public setting i’d look at them as if they were a particulalry interesting puzzle, laugh, and back to photos.

  44. Oh, Lenore, even if I didn’t agree with you wholeheartedly I’d watch your vlogs because it feels like home. I’m from Jersey originally (oh, fine, more like Joisey, since it’s Hudson County) and I miss it something awful. I grew up on the streets of Guttenberg, a town across from the 79th St. boat basin, pretty much (if you look west from Manhattan you see the Galaxie Towers, a blight on the Palisades, that’s it) where I was expected to get out of the apartment first thing after breakfast, come home for lunch unless someone’s mom offered to feed me, in which case I called home and be back in time for supper, which I never managed. Yes, most of the moms were home, but they weren’t ‘watching’ us, they excected that if someone got hurt or there was a BIG fight, we’d come tell them. Otherwise we were on our own. I tried, when possible to raise mine that way, too, and think they are much the better for it. I sent the link for this to my elder son, who regularly sends me photos of my grandsons at their various activities, including (dis)organized sports, and who being quite good with a camera also took the photos of his younger brother and sister when they played sports. I have boxes of such photos, memories that cannot be replaced, for me, and one day for my kids to look back, and for their kids, etc.

    Your point about photos being posted on facebook made me laugh, since I have a photo of my younger son, around age 4, on Christmas Day wearing his Superman jammies and a wonderful beanie hat with an armadillo and a helicopter blade. Pity the pervert fool who hunts him down based on that photo, since he is now a 6’3″ retired Marine who is living proof that the Vikings invaded Ireland!

  45. I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed for those people that actually think that all this “over-protection” is nessessary. Aren’t “they” embarrassed?

    I’m 34 and my kid is just shy of 3 months. I can’t imagine the friends he’s going to have in highschool. Will any of them NOT suffer from high anxiety disorder??

    Will the confident kids (those raised my by hovering parents) automatically be known as “bullies” because they aren’t scared of their own shadow?

    Do “these people” realize that this is a North American phenom? I guess it doesn’t matter, just the thought of going to Europe to these people must be to be to much to even contemplate….espicislly with all the “gypsies”, (as seen in TV), around.

    Embarrassed and hoping I don’t inadvertently “bubble-wrap” my own,

  46. Don’t you know that the camera steals your soul?!

    It also reminds me of a discussion I read somewhere recently about those stick figure stickers people put on their car. And there were multiple posts of people warning about not the dangers of letting predators know how many kids are in your family. Say what?!

  47. I just put those on my car. They are so cute!!!

    With all the research these preditors have to do, it hardly seems worth it? (No offense).

  48. I agree with Giovina. “These people” should be embarrassed. I take photos of my 4 kids often, sometimes even posting them with other members of their sports teams, etc. My youngest son (then 4) sang in a kindergarten performance across the border (heavens, the danger!!) and I snapped a photo of all the kids singing. The teacher then asked if she could have a copy, which she then submitted to the local paper. Yep, I took a photo of my son with other children, it ended up in the newspaper and everyone loved it. No complaints.

    When I read of pedophile-mania and kids not being able to play outside or go to the park, it makes me sad for all the children who are missing out. Bad things happen sometimes…they just do. Our children have had things stolen (the gypsies did it!), been confronted by bullies in the park, etc. But how will children ever know how to deal with these situations if not given the chance to think on their feet *before* something “bad” happens. Children who have the opportunity to experience life and problem solve on their own are going to be far better equipped to handle “bad” situations if they are used to thinking for themselves.

    I’m so thankful for this blog, it reminds me why I’m happy living abroad and raising my children in an environment where they can experience life.

  49. KJ I think you are in the right-place. Sleeping arrangements aren’t necessarily talked about that much, but where it regards letting children play independently without eagle-eyed observation and not having a cow over silly things such as a bump on the head needing an ER visit or having a mental breakdown because someone is taking photos of kids in public settings–yes, you are at the right place.

    Me personally: I am big on the sleeping arrangements deal, and am very anti-attachment. Mine have slept in their own room since they came home from the hospital barely 3 days of age. I’ve always held to the belief that letting a child sleep in your room is disrespectful to your marriage in terms of your mate deserving your undivided attention without a child in the way, and for a child to be that attached to their parents is unhealthy for the marriage of the parents as well as it risks needing the parents for things they’re fully capable of doing on their own. So, in a way, maybe it IS (sort of) free range, because the idea is for your kids to be able to play on their own with kids their age vs expecting YOU to be their playmate, when that’s not really what you’re supposed to be. I also had them start eating real food as soon as they were able, not breast-feeding when they’re practically in med school–I’m sorry, I think that’s just sick. As much as I am of the thought of how someone parents is their own business, I will say that one exception I might would grant: I wouldn’t have been upset had the mother on that infamous Time magazine cover had her kids taken from her for her vulgar display of unhealthy attachment. The only thing is, if I advocate that, then I end up advocating a society where neighbors who don’t like how you parent in terms of free-range (letting them play outdoors, get a little dirty etc) are able to butt their nose into your business, and I do NOT agree with any of that.

    It is too bad KJ you don’t live around where we do, you’d sure like how WE parent. My kids are 3 & 5 and since they were not even quite 2 & 4, I’ve had them playing outside ALONE while I’m in the house doing whatever. I started out doing so for 10 minutes & then going to check on them, then making it 15 minutes, then 30–now, a year later, it’s nothing unusual for me to have them out there for 2 hours straight while I’m inside doing whatever, knowing they’re fine–after all, we live in the boonies (in the woods somewhat) and the play area is fenced-in anyway. I don’t hold their hands in the parking lots except in very busy places (think 4-lane highways in the city or the crazier spots at a WalMart). They watch very little TV–there is a TV in their room, but I unplug it if need be, and in fact I haven’t switched in on in nearly a week. (It’s only there so in the off-chance we decide to let them watch a little bit of Dora, I don’t want the living room full of that noise, I want it away from me.)

    I’ve done things such as, 2 years ago, when they were only 1½ and 3½, going to the lake and noticing we had the place to ourselves–and in response, I went about 50 yards out from shore to enjoy the deep water & while doing so I left them on the sandy shore to play in the sand, letting them run the entire length of the shore (about 100 yards) by themselves, no “hovering” at all. Naturally I did peep in their direction often enough to make sure they were okay, but beyond that–they played alone & were allowed to roam the ENTIRE LENGTH of the shore. On another occasion last year, I was at a different lake & befriended a young 20-somethings couple, and actually asked them if they could watch my son (now age 2) while I went a distance out in the lake for about 20 minutes or so. These were people I just met, and I trusted them–and they did just fine. On that same occasion, I saw another child their age who was playing in the sand, their parents maybe 10-15 feet away, & I nudged my kids to go over to that kid and just play with him–while I went out in the water, looking out to make sure they didn’t wander off. They did fine.

    More recently, a neighbor who lets me swim in their pond (yes, I’m a water freak–I swim in PONDS!) expressed concern they didn’t want my kids around there when I was there. I befriended their neighbor and asked if they would watch my 2 kids while I was in the pond. They do it all the time now–their yard is full of chickens, goats, and probably 10 dogs (all small, gentle) and this person also has 2 kids about the same age as my 2. They get to play in that person’s yard (it’s about 5 acres I’d say) while the mother is on the porch, just casually observing (or from the window) and it works fine. This is for 20 minutes or so while I’m enjoying the pond without worry. Not to be stereotypical of races, but this person is Hispanic–and frankly, I’ve noticed myself that Hispanic parents tend to be more easier-going and less uptight than American parents.

    As for photos–yes, I take photos a LOT, and have occasionally encountered this stupid hysteria. It doesn’t stop me–if anything, it emboldens me to be very proactive about my right to take photos in public in a non-rude manner–and no, taking candids of kids in the park is NOT rude if you ask me. In fact, candids in general are not rude to me (look up Henri Cartier-Bresson, a candid photographer whose work is in museums–not that I’m anywhere near his level you understand).

    Welcome! (I hope there are no typos or spelling errors, I’m tired.)


  50. LRH, do realize that your views on breast feeding are entirely US based. In Mongolia, breast feeding is viewed totally different, where women feed other babies and children not their own, and if engorged, offer the teat to anyone in the room, including grandparents or friends. They also allow breast feeding (if the child wants) until what we usually consider elementary age. It is normal, and understood to be normal. Not something to take the kids away from the parents over.

  51. My brother recently went to Thailand. He just posted a wonderful photo of a child squatting down and playing on the porch of the house. The child is totally naked, there is nothing sexual about the photo, it is just a photo of a child, as seen from the side. I am glad that the parents didn’t make him delete it from his camera.

  52. I wonder how this policy sits with the law in Australia. In most states of the USA amateur photography in public places is difficult to restrict. Wikipedia gives a synopsis of the laws in the USA and the UK but not Australia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law

  53. […] Sounds like bureaucratic bungling and hemhawing in absence of an actual policy. According to Free Range Kids, a mom wanted to take a photo and a short video of her daughter playing basketball for the girl’s […]

  54. Love the vlogs.

  55. On the other hand, there’s this case where a certain very large fast food chain that begins with “M”, took pictures of the roomie’s then eight year old daughter at a grand opening of a new restaurant a few years ago in Central Texas. The mother did not sign a model release.

    Said eight year old is now plastered all over the Northeast in a large ad campaign.

    I haven’t had time to properly pursue it, and what they did was essentially bordering on illegal.

  56. And Mongolia isn’t the only such country, CrazyCatLady. Most mammals wean when their young lose their milk teeth. Why should humans be any different? Heck, for that matter, not ONE of the great apes, our closet relations, weans before 4 – which is much “older” for them than it is for us. 4 happens to be the average age of weaning in human cultures worldwide, an average that takes into account those children which never breastfeed.

  57. […] Lenore Skenazy: Permission Slips to Photograph Your OWN Kids at Sports […]

  58. LRH, you are a troll. Can’t believe you went on an attachment parenting rant on this blog.
    Attachment parenting leads to independent, free range children. On topic, in America you have the right to take pictures at a public event. While in someone’s home, the mom/dad could tell you otherwise.

  59. I don’t think they can legally require the permission slips, can they? I don’t think it’s against the law to take pictures of whomever you want and if newspapers ask permission, they do it as a courtesy, not because they have to. You can deny the school permission to publish photos of your children on their website because I think your kids are entitled to privacy and schools aren’t public places. This is an interesting website that explains it: http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/

  60. LRH: Thankyou for the transcript! I was just about to think “oh no! My favourite take-a-quick-break-at-work blog will no longer be an option since I don’t have sound an therefore can’t watch videos at work!!”

    Please keep the text part to your blog Lenore!!

  61. I also prefer the written format. Maybe you can balance the two with a written synopsis?

    And, about the photos? I am an amateur photographer and love shooting kids’ sports. I’d be deeply disappointed if I couldn’t shoot my kids competing anymore.

  62. Add me to the Yes on Text, No on Video crowd. I like to watch music videos (there’s one on YouTube that has a flash at 0:41–that’s my still camera taking a photo of the band), but many of them stop and reload every 20 seconds or so because we have a cheap DSL data line rather than a cable or satellite modem. To watch a two minute video takes more like five in some cases.

  63. Yeah, go with text unless there’s more to the video than a talking head.

  64. Lenore, I can’t watch the videos b/c my computer blocks everything that isn’t text. and I don’t want to have to wear headphones to listen even if I do get past the computer settings. If you are going to Vlog, put some text so I don’t miss out!


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