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Please mind my privacy

Written by

Fanny

Bismillah,

It was 2009.

I was out with a group of friends that I knew through the internet and it was our first time gathering as a group — and seeing each other’s faces (for some) for the first time too. We went for food and karaoke. I had fun and took some pictures. When I reached back home, and because it was such a hip thing to do, I uploaded the photos I took on my Facebook and tagged them (we were also friends on Facebook before we met).

Not long after that, one of them messaged me and asked me to take down the pictures.

It was 2009.

I wasn’t aware how uploading photos on social media and tagged the person itself is such a big deal. That there are people that actually oppose to that. For me back then, it was bizarre. It was just a picture of people gathering with friends and having fun — what’s the problem?

It was 2009.

The said person stopped talking to me altogether — and for the first time in my life, I thought hard about invading people’s privacy

***

It’s 2021 now.

I am a mother with two young kids. In a world where people no longer use social media for fun and connecting with friends, but also for predators and sick minded person hunting for prey. Ever since my first brush with privacy in social media in 2009, I locked all my social media accounts. I never accepted friends requests from people that I don’t know personally. I limit access to most of my uploaded pictures to only friends in real life. I am now aware — that whatever I put out there, it’s for others to judge and sometimes, invade. And when it comes to my kids, I am even more paranoid. As my kids grow bigger, one thing that I want them to know is that I respect their privacy and if they say no to me if it’s about their privacy, I will follow it.

Seems okay so far?

Enter the world of picture/video forwarding.

A friend once confided to me, how she regularly sent pictures and videos of her kids to her families. For the sake of being a good daughter/daughter in law/family. She never said that these are only for her family’s eyes — but she thought, her family should understand.

Imagine her horror when she saw those pictures of her kids being splashed on some of her relatives’ unlocked and public social media account.

She asked those to be taken down. But the damage is done — who knows what kind of people have seen those and what they use that for. And the worse thing was, she got mocked because apparently she was ‘sweating the small stuffs’.

Perhaps she was indeed in the wrong (for the small part) for not telling it explicitly to her families. But she thought “Isn’t this … common sense?”

Boy how wrong she was.

From then on, she shared less. Eventually, she almost shared nothing. Eventually, when she indeed shared, she needed to stress so many times that these are not to be shared — anywhere.

What was once a happy occasion of sharing, now it feels like a chore, she said. Because no one mind her privacy — and her kids’ privacy.

When I heard her story, I resonated with her a lot. And I could feel how scared she was when she saw her kids’ pictures on public display. No matter what the reason was, people should know that they should not crossed the line. But I guess it’s still a long way to go to educate people on this.

But if you want to be kind to people that not as open as you:

  • Never mock them if they ask you not to share what they share
  • Understand that everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to sharing
  • Never add people to any group without their permission
  • Don’t share their phone/contact numbers before asking them
  • Don’t post their kids’ picture on your social media. If you do, and they are okay with it, cover their kids’ faces with sticker/emojis.

Be kind. Be considerate.

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