Monday, December 7, 2009; 12:00 AM
DEAR AMY: My 10-year-old son attended a classmate's birthday party held in a public venue. Afterward, food was served at the birthday boy's home.
Video was taken of the children in both places, and the video was posted on YouTube.
We don't know the family all that well, and we were surprised to see very clear images of our child on YouTube.
I called the mom and politely expressed my unhappiness with this disclosure.
Am I mistaken to believe that they took this a bit far without the parents' permission? -- Somewhere in Suburbia
DEAR SOMEWHERE: While your shock would be completely justified if this home video were broadcast on your local television news without your permission, YouTube is a video-sharing site, and many people see the site as a benign way to enjoy and share footage without going to the trouble and expense of reproducing and distributing it.
Video of your son will end up on YouTube when he appears in his school's holiday concert, basketball tournament or Boy Scouts awards ceremony. He and his friends will make films and post them on YouTube for school projects or for fun.
While I understand your rational parental concern about use of your son's image without his (or your) consent, you should use this opportunity to educate your child about the risks of video sharing.
I think all concerned parents regret the loss of privacy our children will experience as they grow up in our virtual world. But it is your son's world to inherit, and you should work with him to make sure he is cautious -- and aware of the consequences.
Tell him that when there is a camera around, he should assume that you are watching -- along with the rest of us.
I have struggled with this same issue... specifically when it comes to Lulu's play productions. While I am thinking that these moms would just shoot me if their kid's pic was on my blog page... it seems that there isn't any problem posting similar pictures from the play in the local papers. What's the difference? And, yes, I am sure that clips from this year's chorus production are going to be on YouTube.