A stranger took a picture of my son in the park

Since I no longer work 9-5 we enjoy going to the local park most days. I always dress Little F in his strawberry waterproof outfit and wellies, as he loves puddles and mud. There are two spots in the park where, regardless of the weather, permanent puddles and mud can be found. I let Little F wade in them to his heart’s content. It’s a joy to watch and I am not the only one enjoying it.


Last week an older man smiled at us going past and than stopped a few meters away. I assumed he was watching the ducks and geese in the nearby pond, as with spring’s imminent arrival there’s lots of activity there. He wasn’t. I only realized it when I looked around at the sound of smart phone taking a picture. Picture of Little F covered in mud.


My first though was that I don’t mind. He seemed like a nice old man enjoying watching a child in his element. Maybe his grandchildren have grown up, or maybe he hasn’t got any. There is nothing wrong with him taking a snapshot to remind him of this happy moment. Maybe he will show it to his wife, or maybe he lives alone and looking at this photo will brighten his day.

Little F in a puddle

A second later came not-such-a-nice-thought. ‘I should stop him and point out that it’s not acceptable to take pictures of stranger’s children without asking’. I started to wonder if this is a bad mummy moment, where I should have stepped in to protect my child’s privacy.


Now that I see this though written down it strikes my as ridiculous. We are not the royal family and there is no worry that the picture will appear in multitude of magazines and on front pages of newspapers. It’s also unlikely to be posted online (thought over 60s are on facebook!). It’s just one lonely man taking a photo for his own pleasure, and not a perverted one.


I hate the fact that modern life (including facebook privacy policy) and recent pedophile stories spoiled that moment for me and made me feel that I was guilty of a little failure towards my son. I don’t post pictures of him online, but it’s mostly because I want him to have a choice when he is older. I want him to decide by himself what images of himself, if any, he will make public online.


How would you feel about a stranger snapping a picture of your child without asking for permission? Has it ever happened to you?


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