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Family taking photos/videos without permission

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#51 born.a.girl

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:45 AM

View PostBrrrroooce!, on 05 August 2019 - 10:39 AM, said:

I think it is unreasonable to say "no photos/videos".

I think it is reasonable to ask that they respect your child's space, and not make the photo the priority.

(For example, a relative of mine interrupts the activity, demands they look at the camera, gets in their face, yells their name over and over to get their attention, sometimes snaps their fingers and whistles too, instructs them how to pose, criticises if they don't produce a photo-worthy expression, etc)

But there is a greater issue than the photo/videos:
  • you asked her not to do something
  • she agreed not to
  • when your back was turned, she did it anyway
It's trust. You can't trust a person who nods and smiles to your face, then disrespects you the second your back is turned.

She obviously felt that your request was unreasonable. She could have been honest; talked about it with you, asked you to reconsider, sought a compromise. But she didn't.

I would not let it go unaddressed. You need to revise your video policy, and she needs to decide if having your trust is important to her.

Good luck!

In seeking a compromise, it's necessary to believe that the other party are also prepared to compromise. That's what we don't know.

#52 Nasty Butterfly

Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:13 AM

IMO you may want to re-think the filming without her knowledge. In terms of protective behaviours I think her growing up thinking it’s normal for the grown ups in her life to be secretly filming her is far more dangerous than a MIL that likes to take a few happy snaps.

#53 No Drama Please

Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:44 AM

I hope you don’t feel like you’re in a pile on, OP! It’s hard to find perspective sometimes, when you are worried about keeping your children safe and how to make sure people respect their personal space. It’s confusing and can be stressful.

Maybe you could think of it in terms of how to control the actual images, like set boundaries as to not posting on social media (you’ll definitely find a lot of kindred spirits there) or making sure there’s nothing like “cute” bath photos, things like that.

#54 Lady Sybil Vimes

Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:06 PM

Your poor mother-in-law and her contrived, non-naturalistic photo taking. You are being very unreasonable. You caught her “red-handed” taking a video of her own grandchild? The horror!

And your observational videos of your daughter when she’s not aware she’s being filmed/photographed sound a bit creepy to me. You’re taking some happy snaps, not making a David Attenborough documentary on toddlers in the wild.

#55 ERipley

Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:43 PM


Edited by ERipley, 19 August 2019 - 08:53 PM.

#56 foom

Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

Some of my favourite images are ones taken on the phone camera in the hurly burly of life. Mucking around at a cafe when we are all bored. Sitting on the ferry. A cheeky face staring out of a train window at me. Stuff restricting myself to a good SLR taking art quality photos.

#57 Gonzy

Posted 05 August 2019 - 01:02 PM

Geez some of the responses on here :doh:   Why would the OP come back!

This day and age where everyone has a smart phone and access to a camera at their fingertips, is EXACTLY why we should be more sensitive as a society when it comes to taking photos and consent.

We can't just assume that everyone is comfortable with it, and indeed the OP, for her own reasons is not.  Her MIL needs to be able to respect that and if anything, the OP just needs to have a conversation with her about why that is her VALUE and what that means to her, her DP and their child.

I am sure there would be a suitable compromise such as the OP sending MIL photos or videos etc, or even agreeing to allow the MIL to take the occasional video.  All the "Poor grandma" and "I feel sorry for the MIL" comments are unnecessary - the OP hardly said she's about to cut ties based on this subject so I don't think there's such a need for confected sympathy.

#58 MeeraK

Posted 05 August 2019 - 02:32 PM

A very interesting discussion! I realise my views seem very much in the minority, and sorry if they seem pretentious/unrealistic/controlling etc to some. We are documenting our kids’ lives like never before, and I just wonder what effect it may have in the long run... I haven’t been able to find much research online about this, but I am sure it is being studied. This is an older opinion piece from the NY Times parenting blog - it does help to explain a bit of where I’m coming from - here’s the link, in case anyone is interested:


#59 MeeraK

Posted 05 August 2019 - 02:41 PM

And for what it’s worth, I have a very lovely MIL who is involved and very caring, and whom we see weekly - we can have an honest discussion about this and come up with a compromise if it continues to happen. I posted on here as I was curious to know what other people think.

#60 ERipley

Posted 05 August 2019 - 02:50 PM


Edited by ERipley, 19 August 2019 - 08:54 PM.

#61 Gonzy

Posted 05 August 2019 - 02:54 PM

I get it OP, I share some of your concerns.  Mine are more related to the social media generation/hype, but I really do understand that with the advent of smart phones and social media generally, we seem more focused on taking photos and videos and 'sharing' them than we are sharing in the actual moment.


I remember being very self-conscious as a child when the camera was pointed at me. That’s because every photo counted. It was weird and uncomfortable and we had to have fake smiles plastered on all the time.

This is actually a really good point too.

Edited by Gonzy, 05 August 2019 - 02:57 PM.

#62 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 August 2019 - 03:05 PM

I’m going to be 32 soon, the amount of rolling video of me doing NOTHING my grandparents took (and yes parents also just had their camera on at times for nothing special ons hoping to catch something?) and the boxes and boxes of photos my grandmother had developed is astounding. I can’t imagine how much she spent in film and their are multiple copies of photos she was one proud grandma0

#63 marple

Posted 05 August 2019 - 03:44 PM

So much analysis of every tiny thing. Is the world any better? I'm not convinced.

#64 autumn-mae

Posted 05 August 2019 - 04:02 PM

team get over it.

children aren't an art project

#65 Blue Shoe

Posted 05 August 2019 - 04:10 PM

I think it’s possible to have a healthy balance, OP. I’m not shoving a camera in my kids’ faces all day long, but I love that I can just pull out my phone to document what they’re accomplishing - the small moments, like when my DD curled up to read a novel front to back for the first time, or my DS finished a puzzle by himself. Those are the little things it’s nice to look back and remember. Short snippets of video can be great too, to look back and remember how your child used to mispronounce certain words, how they dance around the house, play with their toys, etc. They change so fast, you really will have trouble remembering all those little things without pictures and videos to remind you.
I also have a DSLR and will occasionally pull it out for nice portraits, but they’re a different sort of photo - they show how the child looks at that age, but not so much about their personality or interests. If I had to choose, I would choose the candid photos (lesser quality though they may sometimes be, from a technical perspective), because they hold much more meaning than the more formal ones. And I’m a photography snob!

I agree with PP - it is definitely reasonable to set guidelines about what sort of photos (no bath shots) your MIL takes, and what she does with them. I don’t post any photos of my kids on social media, only on an invitation-only photo sharing site (we use Cluster). Something like that could be a good compromise as you could control what photos go up, but there would be plenty your MIL could proudly show her friends if that’s important to her. I know my PILs love our online album and get so excited (they live OS) every time we update it. They will sometimes ask for high res copies of certain photos to print out and frame etc. That’s what grandparents do!!

#66 EmmDasher

Posted 05 August 2019 - 07:12 PM

View PostMeeraK, on 05 August 2019 - 02:41 PM, said:

And for what it’s worth, I have a very lovely MIL who is involved and very caring, and whom we see weekly - we can have an honest discussion about this and come up with a compromise if it continues to happen. I posted on here as I was curious to know what other people think.

I knew this without you saying this. Only someone that had the very best MIL would choose to burn parenting capital over this issue or know that they could even say/do what you did without engaging WW3. I think you perhaps don’t realize quite how good you have it in that sense. While I do think you have every right to parent how you want, I do think you are being unreasonable given how normal grandparent photos are and your chosen philosophy is far from mainstream and not evidence based. It’s just such a low order issue on the parenting scale and not one of waste a moment thinking about.

Edit: we also maintain a private electronic photo album for grandparents and close family. We post the best photos in there and I know the grandparents love it. I think they’re less inclined to take their own photos because they have ready access to plenty.

Edited by EmmDasher, 05 August 2019 - 07:15 PM.

#67 JoanJett

Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:07 PM

I guess I wonder why you didn't have the full discussion upfront, if you have a very understanding MIL and the benefit of regular interaction and if this is a "core" issue to your parenting philosophy.

My opinion is no doubt influenced by the fact that my kids see one set of grandparents once to twice per year, and the other grandparent every few years, due to the limits of distance.  We have regular contact by other means, but there is no doubt that my children's grandparents know our values and priorities as parents.  They also know our kids, and know when to leave them alone and when it's appropriate to take photos and videos.  

Grandparents, if you're lucky, will love your children like no one else in the world, so unless there is serious pathology at play, I personally think you need to choose your "line in the sand" moments judiciously.  

Maybe it's because my kids are older, and I see the absolute joy they have in watching old videos of themselves, but my attitude is different.  

For centuries, families have attempted to capture the elusive beauty of childhood - in painting portraiture, to the formality of Victorian photography, to super 8 film in my childhood.    

Our generation is not novel in our fascination with capturing our children, we just have more efficient means of recording the images.

I'm reminded of the Mad Men episode "Carousel", promoting the slide projector, a slightly different technology to ours, but to me, the sentiment is the same:

"Nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound.  It's a twinge in your heart more powerful than memory alone.  This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine.  It goes backwards, forwards, takes us to a place where we ache to go again.  It's not called a wheel.  It's called the carousel.  It lets us travel the way a child travels.  Round and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved."

I personally would be happy that my child is loved.  And a few appropriate non-shared videos or photos once per week would be white noise in the greater scheme of parenting.

#68 c.sanders

Posted 05 August 2019 - 09:34 PM

It might be worth having a read about "precious firstborn syndrome"
Many of us have been there so no judgement.

#69 Prancer is coming

Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:32 PM

I get where you are coming from OP.  It concerns me how reliant people are in screens and the role modelling of using phones all the time.  I sometimes wonder if some people forget to be in the moment, it is like it does not happen unless it is filmed.

I have a kid that does not want his photo taken, unless he is doing something fabulous he wants documented.  And I find his view is not respected, not all the time.  People just expect everyone should be photographed and they are being unreasonable if they don’t want a photo.  Even school will respect his view to a certain extent, but not if they feel they need documentation.  Our school also will not publish photos without parent permission, even in a newsletter or classroom.  

I realise my views are in the minority and this issue would not worry me as much as others, so the most I would do is sit quietly and seethe.  You have had a talk, she has eased off but may still sneak the odd photo in.  I reckon that is an improvement and you know her motivation is loving your child.

If this is a big issue for you, it is okay.  There are probably plenty of other issues people are particular  about that do not bother you in the slightest.  Still plenty of research to come about about these technology issues.

#70 Ellie bean

Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:02 AM

^^yep my dd has been comfortable saying “no” to photos since about age 3, and I have backed her even when it’s caused an argument with a relative. I never photograph my kids if they say no. But I think that is quite different to what the OP is saying.

#71 CallMeFeral

Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:10 AM

View PostMeeraK, on 04 August 2019 - 07:38 AM, said:

Hi there - we have a 2-year-old and I feel quite strongly about her growing up away from being constantly photographed/videoed. It seems to be the norm these days, and I totally understand/respect why people do it - but I feel it might be harmful in the long run to be constantly watched and every little thing recorded through an iPhone - in terms of children becoming quite self conscious from an early age. We had so few photos growing up, and the ones we have are so precious. When we take photos of DD, we tend to use a good SLR camera which we bring out for important occasions. And when we video, we do it in a very observational way - standing back and filming so DD usually isn’t aware she’s being filmed, she’s just in the moment. We maybe capture one video a week, which I feel may still be too much. My question is - do you think it’s reasonable to expect others to follow these rules when they are with DD? Last time we visited my MIL, she kept taking photos and videos of DD on her iPhone - presumably to show her friends. It all felt very contrived so I asked her to please stop filming with her iPhone from now on as it makes me feel uncomfortable - and she apologised and said she wouldn’t do it again. However, while I was away for a brief moment recently the iPhone came out again for some filming - I caught her red handed but I didn’t say anything as she of course knew she was acting against my wishes. I’m just wondering what to do about it - should I raise it again, or just relax about the whole filming thing? It’s something that I feel deeply uncomfortable about, but perhaps I’m being unreasonable?

So I have never heard any evidence that kids are becoming more self conscious from an early age. There's definitely something that kicks in when social media hits, and that's understandable, but pre social media age I would need to see some evidence that this was even a trend, let alone the extrapolation that it was due to cameras. The level of self consciousness described in Jane Austen books doesn't seem any less than people now and cameras didn't even exist. It really seems a stretch on par with vaccines cause autism. There is something underlying your philosophy, and I don't think it's anything to do with a genuine belief in the preciousness of rare photos or the danger of self consciousness, it sounds more like these are things you've grasped onto to justify an underlying discomfort - perhaps with the ubiquity of modern technology or a craving for 'old fashioned' childhood or some kind of general contrarianism against whatever is common.

But either way, if you don't want to photograph/video your child, don't. That's your right as their parent. But yes, you are unreasonable imposing that on your MIL. You are the main influence in your child's life, she will spend most of her time with you, you don't need to control every scenario she is in. She will pick up most of her information from what happens in her daily life with you. You don't need to control everyone else around her, except perhaps if you lived with them so they WERE a primary influence in her life, timewise.

So yes, I would let your MIL take photos, and just live as you want to photo wise in your own home, the majority of the time. It's tempting to try and control every facet of your child's existence and relationship with others, especially with first children, but it tends to create a lot of unnecessary conflict and unhappiness, and control is always relinquished eventually, it just depends when and how painfully. Your MIL loves your child, that is something to be happy about, not to police.

#72 ERipley

Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:52 AM


Edited by ERipley, 19 August 2019 - 08:54 PM.

#73 c.sanders

Posted 06 August 2019 - 08:41 AM

View PostEllie bean, on 06 August 2019 - 12:02 AM, said:

^^yep my dd has been comfortable saying “no” to photos since about age 3, and I have backed her even when it’s caused an argument with a relative. I never photograph my kids if they say no. But I think that is quite different to what the OP is saying.

The difference here is that it's not the child saying no (which I think most people would respect on EB) versus mum imposing that on excited grandparents who don't get to spend as much time as the parents with the child. An iPhone is not intrusive and most kids don't even realise their photo is taken unless a flash is used. An SLR is much more intrusive and if anything I think takes away from the moment because the taking of the picture is more considered and deliberate and requires stepping out of the moment.

I like the idea that maybe it's worth offering to take photos of MIL and child so that MIL can be in the moment if that's a concern.

Edited by c.sanders, 06 August 2019 - 08:42 AM.

#74 JomoMum

Posted 06 August 2019 - 08:51 AM

My husbands grandfather used to be a bit like this. He would do NOTHING but record DS every time he saw him. But he is a very very rude and miserable old man who wouldn’t even say hello to me when I spoke to him.

He also used to send the photos and videos worldwide to everyone he knew. So he was told to stop. Or did he stop on his own when I made sure I was in every shot ... maybe.

Grandparents on the other hand .. my dad does this. I find it incredibly annoying. But he doesn’t post to social media, because he’s not on it lol. And being the kind of mum who likes to record fun times in our life for our son to look back on, Ive come to see it as a bit of a break for me. I go through his phone at the end of the day and send myself the photos I want lol. And bonus, I didn’t have to worry about taking them and I got to actually BE in the photos with our son.

#75 MissMilla

Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:36 PM

I think youre overreacting.
As long as she doesnt post it online or drag your child out of play to pose for pictures i would let it slide.

I have so many beautiful photos that my mum or MIL took without me knowing with me in them too. The best pictures are really the ones taken in the moment. I take a lot of those of DH and the kids, but DH isnt really a picture taker, so the only ones i have is the ones taken by grandparents.

My mum recently sent me some pictures she took a few years ago when my kids were very little, because she just spent her morning scrolling through old photos with my dad and they really enjoyed that. I wouldnt wanna take that away from them.

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