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Shutterbug74 Mar 31, 2010 1:33 PM

Banning Photography....what do you think?
There was an incident reactly which came to my attention and subsequent article I've found on the web....

Recently, at a local rec centre a Mom was taking a photo of her son, whose 3, at his first attempt of a kick of the soccer ball. The Mom, naturally thirlled, was excited for her son and wanted to capture the moment. No sooner had she clicked the shutter than someone came over and told her she wasn't permitted to take photographs because parents hadn't signed releases for the indoor play of 3-5 yr olds.

I was wondering if I'm just showing my age in thinking this is completely ridiculous and should look forward to long meetings with my child's principal in a couple of years or is this merely a sign of the times and something I should accept....having NO photos of my child outside the home?

I thought it would be interesting to find out.....

PATWRIK Mar 31, 2010 2:47 PM

Personally I think its ridiculous.

I can only imagine how the future will look at schools with graduations, promotions, recitials, etc.

Because one child's parents did not sign a "release form" you, as well as every other parent that wanted to take photos, are forced to remember mentally this moment.

I do understand the other side of the issue as well, being my sister is a school teacher. But personally...wth...

JohnG Mar 31, 2010 2:55 PM

OK, here we go again ;)

There are some interesting talking points here. I read the article you linked to. What grabbed my attention was a comment in the article towards the end of the page saying the rule was in reaction to not to a specific instance but to other instances nationally in the UK where a photo of a student had been used in some fashion on the internet and the school was included in a lawsuit. So, strip away all the talk of protecting students. What I get out of this is the school is simply trying to limit their exposure to frivolous lawsuits. Sadly, that's a real concern. Even if you win a lawsuit, even if it ends up being dismissed, it costs A LOT OF MONEY. So institutions wish to avoid them at all costs.

So, I do NOT think the situation in the story is about paranoia - it's about the sad real fact that frivolous lawsuits costs people and institutions way too much money.

Which, to me, is a completely different scenario than someone fearing a picture of their child could lead to the child being harmed. THAT topic has been beaten to death in a couple threads already. I mean beaten, buried, resurrected, beaten to death again and repeated about 100 times.

Now, the question of the mom taking a photo of their kid kicking a soccer ball is another instance. We're missing a lot of information. For instance, the "complainer" - was it their stance that it was illegal for anyone to take a photo indoors where kids are involved? I'm not up on my Canadian law, but I think it's close to US law and it is NOT by definition illegal. In the US there is no expectation of privacy. However, an indoor place is still not public property. So the owner (even if it's a municipality) can legally make rules regarding what is allowed or not. And they have the legal right to prohibit photography. As to why they would prohibit it? See above about the UK. Too many people trying to make a quick $$ and legal systems that don't punish them for trying.

I think a lot of the regulation of photography is more centered around risk mitigation (i.e. avoiding lawsuits) than it is out of fear children can or would actually be harmed.

Quite honestly I don't blame schools or whoever. Stop the frivolous lawsuits and punish people for bringing them and I think you'll find less institutions do this sort of thing.

Shutterbug74 Mar 31, 2010 7:53 PM

In this case it was at a YMCA, so I suppose "private property" and there wasn't a complainer merely a staff manager advising a lady of the "policy" of not allowing photos. This was an indoor game of run-a-round but the Mom's little boy was getting ready in a standing position to kick the ball into the net as practice.

Sorry if this has been posted before as a question.....I haven't seen other bad.

But I do think you're's ridiculous in my opinion and solely for the purpose of litigation rather than "protecting" anyone. But, I have found it surprising how many parents (of young kids) are in favour of banning photography at events for fear of the unknown. When I ask why they're concerned there's never anything specific that has ever happened.

Oh well.....too much "hyper-parenting" in my opinion.

2morrow Mar 31, 2010 8:05 PM

I teach at a middle school and so deal with this semi regularly. One thing that I have had to worry about in the past is pictures of foster kids. I had a parent tell me that the biological parents of their foster child was actively looking for them. If they found them they would have to pick up and move the entire family (again) and asked I not photo the kid. I think as more people use flickr, picasa, etc. there is more potential exposure for kids. Out of the 1000's or so students I have photoed for yearbook, sports teams, etc. I have only had one but, I guess that is all it takes these days. It helped me personally see that some people have legitimate concerns and it's not just the fear mongers screaming "Who knows what you will do with that picture of my son in the blurry background!!"

VTphotog Mar 31, 2010 8:35 PM

There are a number of different legal systems in the world. The reference cited was for the UK, which has different laws and customs than the US, or Canada. The best thing to do is to find out what the rules are Where You Live, and abide by them as best you can. Often, we have these discussions which get rather heated due to some who seem to believe that their laws apply to everyone.


Shutterbug74 Mar 31, 2010 8:51 PM

I used that online reference for just that purpose alone. In general, I was simply curious as to what others thought and not looking to debate laws because it does vary so widely.

Having a little one of my own whose at an age where she's going to start to participate in activities I was caught very off guard with this kind of hyper-parenting and extreme over protectiveness.

It reminds me of the old debate of "Bugs Bunny" being too violent back in the 60's (I think it was the 60's) or of the Simpsons being morally corrupt for our youth in the early 90's.

Alan T Apr 2, 2010 5:51 AM


Originally Posted by 2morrow (Post 1073290)
I teach at a middle school and so deal with this semi regularly...

I have occasionally taken photographs semi-officially in schools, and assisted others with the process, here in the UK. On a few occasions we were approached by teachers concerned about potential vulnerability of particular children should their location be publicised, as "2morrow" pointed out.

I also know this danger to be real from an acquaintance who fosters children in the care of the local authority. For example, a child may have an absent abusive parent, or may be involved in an acrimonious custody dispute, which may even be international.

What happened on the occasions I witnessed was not a blanket ban, but remarkable ingenuity on the part of teachers in removing the particular child from the shot without the child even noticing.

When I am out and about with my camera I often see happy family groups who add something to the image I'm capturing. I am scrupulous in asking their permission to include them, unless they're a long way away.

Of course, identification of a subject would depend on where the image appeared and any included location information. Putting an image of someone on a social networking site seems to me somewhat different from just any old photographic forum.

calamity Apr 4, 2010 4:44 PM

If there is a huge issue with it then they should just say, have a sign saying you're taking pictures! It's required when filming in the street so if people have the same issues with their photograph being taken then all they need to do is simply tell photographers to have signs warning the public that they are indeed taking pictures, and those who don't want to be in them can take whatever necessary actions to avoid being photographed. Banning photography is just ridiculous!

ruthless Apr 6, 2010 11:01 PM


Originally Posted by JohnG (Post 1073153)
I mean beaten, buried, resurrected, beaten to death again and repeated about 100 times.

I laughed out loud, John, I'm going to have to use this in my next software development meeting. :D

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