Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Man called "pervert" for photographing his kids having fun

What parent doesn't have boxes full of pictures of their kids (or nowadays hard drives full). But the problem in the current state of affairs is that people are so wickedly paranoid about everything that they seek to destroy everyone else's sanity because they fear everything. A man photographing his own kids was called a "pervert" when parents started to think that he was taking pictures of other people's kids to post on the internet.

Half of what I don't understand is why people were freaking out in the way that they did. He was confronted simply for taking pictures, not that he was doing anything dodgy. The owners of the slide that his kids were on claim that "Our policy is to ask people taking photos whether they have children on the slide. If they do, then that is fine." However, what the operators don't seem to understand is that even if they don't, there isn't much of any legal action that could be taken.

People think that taking pictures of people that you don't know is a crime, especially when the subject is a child. I find this funny because in my high school photography class one of ours assignments was to take pictures of young and old people. Would you criminalize a class of photography students for taking pictures?

As with any article, the comments that follow it are often more important to read than the article itself. Depending on where you read the article, you get be surprised at people's common sense or appalled at the stupidity of mankind. Here are some from the original article:
I understand the parents concern. I see nothing wrong with the dad telling the other parents of his intent so they could keep their children out of the photo and then extending the same courtesy to the other parents. Normal parents did not create this multi billion dollar industry mess. We have to protect our children the best was we can.
- Lucy MacKay, Georgetown Ky
This poster is quite unrealistic, and leads me to ask many other questions. After her short post, I have to wonder if she herself announces to others that she is taking pictures of her own kids while the play in the park. When you do announce that you are taking pictures of your own kids, doesn't that make you seem just a touch overprotective?
I sympathise totally with Mr Crutchley [the father], I was recently in a country park with my wife and daughter. My wife had gone to buy the three of us some ice cream, and in the meantime my daughter fell over on some play equipment.

I of course picked her up in my arms to soothe her, and within moments a woman had come over to me and asked where the girl's mother was. I could see in her eyes and tone that she was suspicious of me holding a crying girl. The woman absolutely refused to leave our side until my wife returned.

Just like Mr Crutchley says, it spoiled my enjoyment of the day, and made me wary to go anywhere near my own daughter for the rest of the day - ironic in this age where fathers are so often accused of not paying attention to their children.

I cant help but wonder if anyone would have said anything at all if it had been my wife holding my daughter instead of me.
- John Thomas, England
There is an interesting dilemma where father's are being criticized for not being involved with their kids, but then when they are involved (especially in this case, for safety) the worrying parents of other kids condemn them for being near kids in public.
This is a direct result of the NSPCC's campaign over the last few years to spread the fear of abuse and paedophilia. Sadly this has had the side effect of people (i.e. men) being to scared to help if a child is in trouble and also accounts for the huge drop in male primary school teachers and role models.
- R Williams, Aylesbury, UK
It would take my a long time to find it, but there was an article about a father who volunteered his daughter to take part in a study. The girl's job was to sit on a bench in a mall a few feet from a "Missing Children" poster. Almost all people walked right by the girl. When people who walked by were questioned, many (particularly males) said that they were afraid to do anything for fear that other parents would attack for speaking to a child.

The study proved two things, that no one tried to abduct a child sitting by themself on a bench, and that had the child really been missing nothing would have been done.

On the BoingBoing mention of this article, there are general level-headed people who see what is worng in the situation, being that a father can't even take pictures of his own kids:
It is rather sad. My wife worked as a lunch supervisor at an elementary school. Being a "small town" person and having a flock of younger siblings in her youth she would give crying kids who'd bumped heads or dropped their deserts a hug or pat on the back. Her supervisor said that just wasn't done - there would be no touching whatsoever.

From this I assume that the proper thing to do if you find a child needing help is to review the situation and determine f there is a non-contact way of helping them. If not, just walk away or phone 911 to have properly trained and bonded staff initiate human to human contact - providing parental permission has been arranged.
- Woodwose
Especially in elementary aged kids, I don't see where it is beneficial to the children that the teacher is prohibited from making any contact with the child, even if the child is hurt. I would bet that most of those children feel better because of the comforting that they got from the teacher. It's not like a teacher would do anything intentionally wrong because it would ruin their career if they did inappropriately touch a child. A hand on the shoulder isn't going to kill a child.

Speaking of protocols for teachers, it is ridiculous what they have teachers doing. One of the teacher that I had wore latex gloves so that she could put on a band-aid. A gym teacher I had once told us about how a parent thanked him for not following the "correct" protocol for emergencues. An ice-skating boy slipped and cut his wrist. If the teacher had spent time to look for gloves, the boy would have likely bled to death. Instead, the teacher reacted quickly and saved the boy's life.
I am a woman, (hence the name, cranky old woman) and my grandson is on a junior soccer league. So, every Saturday morning, I go to take pictures of his game, and I am subject to a lot of evil looks as well. It's kinda difficult to take just pics of him, when there are nine other kids on the field. I took some pics of him once playing with the next door neighbors, and when I gave some copies to the parents, they were quite rude, and told me they did not want me to photograph their boys. I was hurt, stunned and insulted. But, I am trying to decide how I might have reacted were I in their shoes. Must I be constantly sizing everyone I meet with a camera as a child molester? I guess I can no longer assume others good intentions.
- Cranky old woman
Given the fact that the grandparent was the neighbor, and that it would (should?) be one of the people that you know the best, it is crazy that a parent would be so defenisive about it considering that it is perfectly acceptable to take pictures of your grandkids. When I was a kid, I would spend hours at a time at my neighbors house with her grandkids, and that was one of the few places that I felt totally comfortable. As a kid, I would think nothing of it if she was taking pictures of her grandkids and I playing together.
My friend was taking pictures of me at a park while i was wandering around looking at flowers under the influence of something or other. Some little (adoreable) demon kid ran up and started throwing grass at us. Whatever, He wasn't hurting us and we were laughing about it. So my friend starts taking pictures of the kids, and THEN the mom comes over.

Guess which aspect of the situation concerned her most? Her kid throwing shit at strangers? or photography.

As long as kids are fucking adoreable, shutterbugs will take pictures of them.
- Cpt. Tim
This is completely valid. Many kids, like my nephew, will run to the camera seeking to have their picture taken. And it's not like people don't take picture of random kids. If you see a group of kids at a park doing something completely silly, there is nothing wrong with taking a picture to remember that silliness. I have taken pictures of kids before when I was at airshows. Planes can only be interesting for so long, then the interest as a photographer is drawn to pictures of people enjoying the show, which includes kids.

As a teenager myself, I am fresh out of the age where even my own mother fit into the "unhealthy paranoia" category. I play soccer about twice a week with a drop-in group. My mom always worried about the whole child predator thing and was always warning me to be careful, and thankfully, I have never once listened to her about this. The group that I play with consists of primarily me and one of my best friends, and the rest are primarily adult males. Have I ever once felt uncomfortable around them? No.

After nearly a year with this group and nothing happening, my mom has finally calmed down. This might also have to do with the fact that she just randomly dropped in once to watch, which was rather annoying because the stare of my parents creeps me out more than anything else.

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12:43 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (3)
Barack Obama for President