When I participate in author events, I love to do a drawing for a free signed copy of my book. It makes my day to see how excited the winner gets.
Each time, someone snaps a photo of me with the winner. And each time, I grapple with whether to post the photo online. Yet repeatedly I see authors post photos of themselves with young fans on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and their blogs.
There are laws about posting pictures of people without permission. Generally speaking, if they're in a public place (like the J.K. Rowling event above), it's okay. However, if the photo is taken in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, you may be violating that person's rights.
Okay, so technically, a book event is a public place. No one should have a reasonable expectation of privacy while posing with an author. However, when that person is a child, there is a completely different set of issues.
There was a case recently where Facebook removed a photo of a woman's young daughter where her buttocks were exposed. The photo was meant to mimic this 1959 ad.
The mom protested, but the entire thing served to remind us that we live in different times. In 1959, even a real photo of a child's bare buttocks was innocent and cute. Today, we know a little too much about society. Today's parents, rightly so, want to control who sees photos of their children online.
For that reason, I'm a little iffy about posting photos of other people's children, even with parental permission. What do you think? How should authors handle posting photos of young fans online?