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I didn't see a stranger take a photo of my DS. I feel sick.

(242 Posts)
CoffeeChocolateWine Fri 17-May-13 17:02:25

Please go easy on me as I'm expecting to get a flaming here. But if anyone has anything nice and supportive to say then please do!

I took my two DC swimming earlier...DS is almost 5, DD is 10 months. We were on the bus on the way to the pool and I stood with DD in her pram in the buggy area (the brake on my pram doesn't work so had to stay with her where I was) but DS wanted to sit at the back of the bus. There was only about 3 rows of seats between us and I could see him quite clearly so I thought it was fine.

My DS is a confident little chap and he started chatting to a man who was sitting opposite him...showing him his Octonauts toys that he had with him and telling him the characters names etc. Anyway, I could hear exactly what my DS was saying and I could see him from where I was and he was fine, the man he was chatting to was in his 50s or 60s and looked like a nice friendly man and I wasn't concerned at all. He was just being friendly to my DS. But I was keeping an eye on him...but also trying to entertain DD in her pram.

Anyway, when we got off the bus my DS said goodbye to the man he had been chatting to and the man smiled and waved. And my DS started telling me that he'd been chatting to a nice man and telling me what they'd been talking about. But then he told me the man took a photo of my DS on his phone. I DID NOT see this...must have been when I was looking at DD in her pram.

The way my DS tells it, was that DS pulled a funny face and the man took a pic so DS could see it. But I just FEEL SICK at the thought of this man...a COMPLETE stranger walking around with a pic of my son on his phone and I am really punishing myself already that I didn't see it and walk over to the man and ask him to not take photos of my son and to delete it from his phone.

I can't stop thinking about it and I feel sick and I'm shaking as I type this. I don't think I'm over-reacting...any mum would feel the same right? Before anyone starts criticising me...I know, I know I will get my DS to sit or stand with me next time and not speak to strangers. It was very misjudged and I'm punishing myself already. But as I was there and hearing (but evidently not seeing) everything that was going on, I didn't see the harm. Now I do.

VenusUprising Thu 23-May-13 16:26:42

I think the OP needs a cuppa brew
And also to chill out a bit.

Yes, travelling on public transport is a bit eventful with a baby buggy and child, but if it makes you uncomfortable, then keep your kids closer to you than you did.

Fwiw, I do think that talking photos of kids without asking their parents if they can is a bit off, but we live in a world where we all have cameras, and photos are commonplace. I don't think there was any ulterior motive.

Your shock seems to come from the fact that you didn't see the photo being taken, and in a way, yes, you werent there for your son at that moment, you weren't looking at this man and your son while that happened, but you have only two eyes and two hands, and you were attending to your baby at the time.

I feel you need to cut everyone some slack: you are being too hard on yourself, and too hard on this old guy as well.

If you like OP you can castrophise and be paranoid, but I think you'd be better spending your time just relaxing with your family.

Spero Thu 23-May-13 16:15:47

I don't think you are alone in being so uncomfortable with a stranger taking photos of your child, but it is not something I understand, as Pagwatch says, I can't see what horrible outcome there would be for my child.

I think I would be more likely to be flattered if someone wanted to take her picture - no one ever has! I have taken pictures of someone elses dog before, it never even occured to me to think they would mind.

Maybe it is a hang over from the old and quite powerful belief that a picture took something of our souls.

CoffeeChocolateWine Thu 23-May-13 15:25:31

everlong, no not obsessed with it at all. Haven't even thought about it since Sunday when I last posted. I've just responded to somebody else's post.

everlong Thu 23-May-13 15:02:03

Only read your first and last post OP.

I sort of understand your concern. But it's been nearly a week and you seem still a tad obsessed by it.

Chill. Nothing will come of it. Honestly, don't make yourself ill over this.

CoffeeChocolateWine Thu 23-May-13 14:51:20

Posted too soon!

Meant to add...we were only on the bus for a few mins so there wasn't a lot else that happened during the interaction.

CoffeeChocolateWine Thu 23-May-13 14:44:31

Spero, in honesty I can't put my finger on why I feel so uncomfortable with it, and perhaps 'inappropriate' isn't the right word because that does suggest some kind of sexual undertones. But I have never thought that he will get some sexual gratification from the pic...that would be worst worst worst worst worst case scenario, and, of course, I don't think and never have thought, that that is what this was. It just strikes me as 'odd' behaviour because I don't know for sure why a stranger has taken a photo of my child.

I agree that if the circumstances were purely that a friendly man was taking a pic to make a child smile then yes that does sound completely innocent and no harm will come, but whose word do I have to take for it? A 4yo boy who doesn't know anything other than innocent because I haven't raised that topic with him yet.

I guess I just wish I'd seen it and seen what led to him to take a photo. What I heard - and heard clearly - was a conversation about Octonauts, so how did that lead to a photo being taken??

Pagwatch Thu 23-May-13 14:25:35

I quite understand your feeling anxious that you were unaware what had been happening. I would be cross with myself too, not because of what happened but because I like to keep an eye on small children in public.

But the photos wouldn't bother me because I see no dreadful end to the sentence 'the man has a photo of my child and......"

People treat phones as an entertainment centre now. People use their phones and cameras to entertain children all the time.

Spero Thu 23-May-13 14:15:21

I am still at a loss, perhaps naively, to understand why taking a photo in the circumstances described is so inappropriate.

Do you fear he would superimpose your child's head onto the naked body of another child and achieve sexual gratification by so doing? Or he would somehow use the picture to publicise your child's existence and make him vulnerable to abudction?

Our photo is taken frequently by the State - we have more CCTV cameras than any other European country, as far as I know. the vast majority of us carry cameras daily in our smart phones. Sorry, I really just don't get why it is so awful. Anyone could surreptiously snap us.

CoffeeChocolateWine Thu 23-May-13 11:44:31

maninawomansworld, I appreciate a man's perspective here so thank you. I take on board your comments...and actually agree with them.

I don't expect you to have read the whole 10 pages of thread, so I just want to stress again that my reaction was not because it was a man...I would have felt equally uncomfortable if it had been a lady taking the pic, because it was without my permission.

And, vile as I find ephemeralfairy's post, I will reiterate that I did not assume this man must be a paedophile for taking a pic, his actions just made me feel very uncomfortable. I have only my 4yo's story to go on, that he pulled a funny face and the man took a pic to show him...but I don't know for sure that's what happened.

I (incorrectly, judging by this thread) assumed it was fairly obvious what was appropriate and not appropriate behaviour for a 5min interaction with a child on a bus and I still think that taking a photo crosses the boundaries.

I was actually on the tube the other day and found myself in a similar position to this man...a girl of about 4 or 5 sat next to me and started chatting. I looked up at her mother and smiled to make sure she could see and was happy that her daughter was chatting to a stranger. She smiled back so I carried on chatting to the girl for about a 5min journey and kept glancing at her mother to make sure she was still happy and felt comfortable.

It did cross my mind though, what would happen if I now took out my mobile phone and took a photo of the child. I can't believe that no one on the carriage would look at me as if to say "what on earth are you doing?", and the mother wouldn't come up to me and say "err...why are you taking a pic of my daughter?" According to the majority of people on this thread, they wouldn't have minded...I just find this really odd. Obviously I didn't take a photo of the child smile

But going back to the bus incident, mainly I was concerned that something happened that I felt uncomfortable with and I didn't see it despite me thinking I was keeping a eye. I was mainly angry at myself.

I'm really not an overly-anxious mother...I love that my son has confidence to talk to people he doesn't know and I warm to people who take the time to talk to him. I would NEVER assume bad intentions of a stranger for no reason...unless their behaviour gave me just cause. And I felt and still do feel that taking a photo crossed the line.

wentmad Tue 21-May-13 11:28:49

Maybe if you feel this way you shouldn't have let ds sit on his own

helpmesum1 Tue 21-May-13 11:27:39

every 1 is say what harm has it done with that man having a funny pic on his phone i would not want any stranger having pic of my dh on his phone weather it was a funny pic or not i wud of walked over and asked the man to take the pic off.yes ds is safe nd fine nothing wil cum of this but (mum)being over portective isnt a bad thing etha.

ephemeralfairy Tue 21-May-13 11:03:35

Erm...get a grip?? It's not like he was some old peeping tom hanging round the swimming pool with a cine camera in one hand and his cock in the other.

However, if a small child tries to strike up conversation with me on public transport I always ignore and move away if possible. Not because I'm worried its mother will think I'm a perv, but because I find the inane chatter annoying in extremis.

maninawomansworld Tue 21-May-13 08:40:26

I get where you are coming from but this is exactly what perpetuates the climate of fear we live in.
As a man, I would seriously think twice about going within a country mile of someone else's child for fear of someone getting the wrong idea.

Why should it be like this though? Your boy sounds lovely, the man on the bus obviously thought so and wanted to make him smile, what's so wrong with that? Would you rather your son get on the bus and no one talk to him when he tries to be sociable? Isn't being nice and sociable something we all try to encourage our kids to do?

Wuxiapian Sun 19-May-13 22:37:55

smile CCW

CoffeeChocolateWine Sun 19-May-13 21:44:03

xylem, are fruitcakes that nutty? I'm not a fan and never made one but I didn't think they were that nutty? A handful of almonds perhaps, but they get so lost among all the fruit that I really wouldn't describe them as nutty. Nutty as a nut roast, or nutty as a jar of peanut butter, or nutty as a snickers bar would have had far more impact wink

I meant to the an telling us about the 'incident'.
I think we said "oh dear" a couple of times and tried to look concerned until he went away.

People were always taking DS' picture when he was little, he had blond curls.
Once we were at the beach and a man came over all stern-faced to tell us that a man had been taking his picture. We were really nonplussed, it was a public beach, anyone could take photos, we weren't sure how to react.

Ilovemyself Sun 19-May-13 19:45:34

I have to say t,his is what is bad about the world today. I hate feeling bad about taking photos of my children in case I get someone else's in. I hate feeling awkward playing with my children's friends in case their parents are worried I am up to something. I hate the fact you can't cuddle a child who is upset for fear of being accused of being up to no good.

I know there are some really nasty people out there, but if you are sensible there should never be a risk. There certainly wasn't in this case.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 19-May-13 19:08:32

Haven't read whole thread, but I would go with your instincts - you thought the guy was a nice, friendly, straightforward man so the chances are he almost certainly was.

If you'd felt at the time that he was a weird, pervy type who made you uncomfortable then I think you'd be completely right to be upset, no matter how "unharmed" your son actually was. But really it doesn't sound as if he was remotely dodgy! So cheer up. smile

Nanny0gg Sun 19-May-13 17:57:21

xylem8
Have you read the OP's subsequent posts?

<sigh>

xylem8 Sun 19-May-13 17:54:39

In think you are nutty as a fruitacake and it is hysterical people like you that put men off working with children, denying our sons strong male role models outside the family sad.

valiumredhead Sun 19-May-13 17:49:11

I agree with you coffee even if the intentions were innocent I wouldn't have liked it at all.

CoffeeChocolateWine Sun 19-May-13 17:11:20

at the start of the thread people where telling her exactly how ridiculous she was being, instead of taking it on the chin, the op became more and more argumentative.

I'm totally baffled by this comment Bobyan. Where have I become more argumentative? Was it the bit where I admitted that I over-reacted and that I had calmed down or the bit where I accepted that the circumstances were innocent...perhaps you should look that up in the dictionary too because you clearly haven't understood confused Anyone would think you've just got it in for me...

But I'm still not changing my mind that I think the man crossed a line by taking a photo, no matter how innocent his intentions...it made me feel uncomfortable. Can I help how I feel?

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 15:45:57

OP, I think it's odd to take a picture of a child you're interacting with but in all honesty I am very cautious when It comes to other peoples children. In fact the last time I see a child distressed in ASDA not knowing where her mum was I was worried I'd be accused of trying to abduct her whilst taking her over to the security guard. This level of panic and hysteria about society which really isn't called for in today's society is why so many have said yabu.

Your issue is that you weren't supervising your children to the level you thought you were. That's not unreasonable to think because in spite of you saying you could hear their conversation you didn't hear the conversation between them about the photograph and it's very unlikely that the man took the photo and no words were uttered between them about it. However, no matter how odd it is that the photograph was took, it really is no need to panic or stop your son from sitting at the back of the bus in ear shot smile

valiumredhead Sun 19-May-13 14:25:29

I wouldn't like it either OP, not something I or anyone I know would do with the parent's permission.

I like the way everyone just knows this man was harmless hmm

If my ds came home from school and said there was someone (male or female]) taking pics of him I would want to know why as it's not appropriate - even if he is 'fully clothed!'

I wouldn't feel sick but I wouldn't like it at all and tbh I can't think of anyone I know who would either.

Btw I have always encouraged ds to smile and say hello to people he doesn't know as the majority of the time strangers and just people we don't know yet, but taking photos doesn't sit well with me at all, it's not appropriate.

I've used 'not appropriate' far too often grin

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