Thank You

After my previous unhappy post, I would to thank all the people who have reached out to offer me love and support. I was in a very low place – I still am – but I’m getting up every day and doing what needs to be done. There are arguments for and against sharing your pain in the internet – for showing vulnerability in any sphere of life – but despite all the trolls and hatemongers out there, I firmly believe the majority of people are decent, kind and compassionate and only too willing to help out a person in need, and your responses are evidence enough.

Love like your heart has never been broken and trust like you’ve never been betrayed. Life is better that way.

Aspie Daddy will continue as before!

Much love,

Gillan

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Child Protection Issues

Long term readers of this blog might have noticed that, up until Izzie’s first birthday, I regularly shared pictures on this site, but have not done so in the past year. This was a deliberate decision, and I shall explain why.

Putting photographs in an album or in a frame for display ensures that you retain control of them – who has access to them, what is done with them, and where they are seen. Putting pictures on the internet means that you have zero control over what is done with that image. As Izzie is too young to give informed consent over what is shared, that right passes to me as her father and legal guardian, and in this capacity I feel it is my duty to protect her image and prevent it being placed in the public domain until she is able to make that decision for herself.

I am not inflexible on this position – I do, for example, allow a few, carefully selected professional photos of my daughter to accompany magazine articles, etc. – but in general, sharing pictures of our day-to-day life is not something I feel comfortable doing.

I am sure that, without my having to explicitly state it, most readers will be able to infer which people I don’t want having access to my daughter’s photographs.

Whenever I have seen such issues raised – keeping photos of children away from the attention of people who might wish them harm – there is always somebody who pipes up with: ‘Most abuse goes on inside the home by family members or trusted friends and neighbours.’ And this is undoubtedly true. And then there are others who say: ‘We can’t censor everything just because there are some sickoes out there.’ Which I also agree with – hence I allow the aforementioned professional photos to illustrate magazine articles.

But the fact remains that, while the risk is low, there are predators out there. While I commend people for continuing to share photos because they won’t let the sickoes dictate their behaviour, as a dad I do not want some disturbed individual looking at pictures of my child, because I know that they are.

How do I know this? One of the interesting benefits of writing a blog is that you receive information about visitors to your site – anonymous, of course, but it records what country they’re from, what they’re clicking on, how they came to your site, and so forth. Every so often, you’ll even get to see the search terms they typed into a search engine – the very words they entered that brought up your page in the results.

I always think of myself as pretty unshockable, but the search terms somebody used to find and access this blog yesterday made me feel sick. I won’t repeat them here, but I will say that they contained the words ‘dad’ and ‘little girl’, and whoever typed them needs to be on a watch list somewhere. That such a person has visited my site makes me feel grubby by association and more than validates my caution about sharing pictures.

So, to all my fellow parents and bloggers who might read this: take a moment and think before you share something. Probably no harm will come from it; probably no sick weirdo pervert is ever going to see it; but no matter how small a chance, perhaps they might.

Baby Photos

This will be a far shorter post than usual and will ask my readers for feedback on a complex issue that our parents never had to deal with, namely, photos of our babies on social media. I have noticed that whenever people visit, they take photos of Izzie and within minutes of leaving these photos are on Facebook. So my question is: is this right?

A couple of weeks back I saw that someone had posted a photo of somebody else’s baby and the baby’s father got all shirty, saying his friend should have asked permission before sharing a photo of his baby. It got me thinking.

Part of me, deep down, thinks I should be very protective over people putting pictures of my baby on the Internet, and I should do something about it.The Internet is a dangerous place and I’m already worried about how I’ll protect my little girl in the future. I did a search for blogs the other day using what I thought was a very innocuous search term: ‘dad’. Scrolling down the results, I was confronted by a picture of a ‘buff’ dad, naked, glistening, and with a knob the size of my forearm. And I have a porn filter on my router, so it slipped through like an oiled-up cockstar. Scary stuff.

But while the deep down part of me is worried about people putting photos of my baby on the Internet, the rest of me shrugs his shoulders and goes, ‘So the hell what?’ Before the Internet, people would stick the photos they took of my baby in an album or in a frame, so I still wouldn’t have control over who saw them. Worse, I wouldn’t know which pictures were being displayed and which weren’t. True, there are a lot of sick people out there, but that’s true whether or not pictures of my baby are online. Perhap once she’s older I might restrict the amount of photos of her online because it makes her a target, not just of weirdoes but of bullies and trolls, but for now I’m not sure there’s a problem.

So what do people think? Should I get upset about people posting photos of Izzie to a-million-and-one strangers or simply smile that they think she’s so gorgeous they want to share her with the world? Because I really can’t work out the answer.

And since I have control of the photos on this page, here are some of us from a photoshoot at Closer Photography in Portsmouth (www.closerphotography.com).

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