Monday, May 21, 2012

Field Day Rant

Michael with Somebody he knows.
Mackenzie with unknown classmates.
I excitedly arrive at my kids school to watch them participate in their first Field Day.  Memories of my own experiences bring a smile to my face as I spot Michael & Mackenzie decked out in their special shirts.  Tug of War just ended and Mackenzie has a look of disappointment on her face.  She certainly inherited my passion for competition and displeasure for losing.  I guess that means I cannot get too upset with her about it but I give her some words of encouragement and ask her to lift her chin and smile.  After all the next event is about to begin.

I conduct "on-camera" interviews with both kids and a few of their closest friends about how the day is going.  Then it happens.  Like a hawk stalking its prey, I am ambushed and given "the speech". 

"Excuse me, sir.  We would like to ask that any video you take be only of your own children.  So please zoom in so that none of the other students appear in the frame and do NOT publish any of the videos on Facebook, Youtube, or any public sites!"

What kind of horrible, litigious-minded, lawsuit-happy people have we become?  Have we really come to a point where I need to walk around getting parents to sign a release just so I can film my children having fun, playing sports, or accomplishing their goals?  This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL and we are in a PUBLIC situation are we not?  Is there an expectation of privacy?  Is this against school policy or the law?  My guess is neither.  I am placing all bets on this being a PC move intended to protect the school and administration from any potential backlash.

Either way I put the obvious, shiny-silver video camera down and elected to mostly take IPhone pics.  I did get a few short videos of the kids on the phone but my mojo and excitement for capturing the moment had been smashed.  Perhaps the most frustrating thing about it was not knowing who to blame.  I certainly don't blame the messenger.  So how did we get to this point?  What would you have done?  Am I alone in this frustration?

And don't get me started on how EVERYONE was a winner and no blue ribbons were handed out!


Susie Bibb said...

I understand your frustration but I also see the school's side of things. I can see how someone would have a problem with you putting video and pictures up without being asked. The reason here is that your kids go to a certain school. As soon as you put that video up, anyone can figure out where the other kids go to school. It's not just a child predator situation, it could also be an adoption situation, or an ex-husband, ex-wife, abusive relationship situation. You can't control who views your site. There's a lot of evil out there. A ton of reasons to protect your kids from the internet.

Jim said...

I may have misunderstood her but it seemed like she was telling me even the zoomed in, my kids only videos were NOT to be published on Youtube or Facebook. Well, isn't that my perogative since they are MY children? I for one, am tired of living in a paranoid society even though there are reasons for the paranoia. Thanks for your balanced look at the other side. I need it even thought I don't always want it.

Laurie B. said...

I know the school code of conduct has something you sign about your kids being in published pictures, but I don't know how they can control it.

Several years ago when my 15 year old was little, I was videoing her school, lunch table, classroom, putting up her bike for grandparents who were too old to ever visit and wouldn't see where we lived. A teacher stopped me and said the same thing (other than Facebook, which didn't exist yet.) Coincidentally, that evening there was a school program with an audience full of video cameras out. I asked her if she was going to stop them, like she stopped me....same rule, right? Don't photograph or video any child but your own.

By the way, I swam on a neighborhood swim team growing up, before "everyone was a winner," and I can remember EVERY SINGLE ribbon I ever got: one sixth place in breast stroke. I liked that system-it means more when you actually earn it!

My son has a GIGANTIC trophy on his shelf from an adult men's softball tournament that is 3rd place trophy. Not one man wanted it because it was 3rd and Beau was over the moon when they handed it to him after screaming, "I WANT IT!" What does that say?

Susie Bibb said...

Paranoia aside, doesn't it seem to be plain old fashioned good manners to not post someone's picture if they don't give you permission? A rule I'm sure I've broken... but I'll try not to from now on. ;)

Jim said...

I have two basic thoughts in response to that.

1) If I am intentionally taking pictures of your child and have no reason to be doing so then yes, that is a concern and probably should be addressed. But if your child is in the background or even poses with my child because they are best buds, I don't see the issue.

2) In college I took a class about copyright law as it pertains to public domain specifically related to photography (my area of study) and videography. In it I learned that public places and public officials shouls have NO expectation of privacy and NO releases need to be signed when capturing images of either. A private citizen when in public should not expect privacy. When they desire such a right, they are free to go to a private place, like their own homes.

I understand that we don't want to be filmed and photographed everywhere we go but I personally would not get upset if me or my family was in the background of other peoples pics. But that might just be me and that is one of the reasons I decided to continue the topic today.

Susie Bibb said...

Yeah... I get it. It's a hard thing to control anyhow. Thanks for the info on the law. That's something I've actually wondered about. Good to know. :) It's an interesting topic. I know that at one of our churches we had a question on our registration forms that asked if your child's picture could be used on the website for the church. Perhaps that's different because it could be seen as advertising? But maybe that wasn't necessary at all?