Every now and then I notice some Odd Activity on my Flickr account. There’s a page where you can see activity over the last X amount of time, including comments on photos, notes, and who may have add what photo as a favorite. It’s the last function that sometimes reveals weird results, like when a photo gets favorited that I posted months and months ago. If it’s a photo of, say, the moon, or a flower or whatever, I don’t think twice about it, but every now and then the photo is something just sort of—well, the other day someone favorited a photo of me wearing knitted slippers. No big deal, except it seemed a little odd, and when I looked at the person’s account they had no photos of their own (FLAG), their name was something like pxy205m (FLAG FLAG), and when I looked at their favorites page, every single photo was of a woman wearing knitted slippers (FLAG FLAG FLAG WTF).

I guess in that instance someone could have been collecting inspirational photos for their big slipper-knitting project of 2007, or something. There have been others, though, where the circumstances are the same—weird user name, no photos of their own—and the photos they’ve collected are all clearly fetishy in some way. Feet, for instance. Or boobies. Not that I post pictures of my boobs on Flickr, but you know, sometimes they are just Present and Accounted For.

This kind of stuff mostly makes me shrug—whatever gets your rocks off, you know? If slippers are your thing, fine. Have at it. But. BUT. This morning I found that someone had favorited an old photo of Riley, one I’d taken during the summer where he’s viewed from the back playing with a hula hoop. He’s also naked, with his little butt completely visible.

I took a look at this person’s account (no photos of their own, natch) and here are the photos they’ve collected. All little kids, all in various stages of undress. Little boys, specifically. I might have been convinced that this person just liked colorful candid native kid-focused scenery if he hadn’t added my son’s blindingly white suburban butt to the page.

I don’t know how this person found the photo of Riley because I don’t tend to tag things, I certainly wouldn’t have added some descriptors like “NAKED HEINIE” or “PED0PHILES WELCOME”. Maybe they just stumbled across it, maybe they spent a lot of time going through my son’s photos looking for a naked one.

Either way: fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Someone slobbering over my feet? No big deal. Someone slobbering over my son? VERY. BIG. DEAL.

I deleted the photo, but the whole thing has given me the heebs. I mean, one thing I can do is never post a picture of him unless he’s fully dressed—how sad is that, that innocent pictures of babies should be censored? I could limit photo viewing to friends and family. I could stop posting any kid photos on Flickr and just use that site for documenting my thrilling fashion choices. Which would be so, so lame. I love looking at family photos from the people I follow on Flickr, and I love sharing pictures of my own family.

I suppose I’ve been kind of naive, assuming everyone that looks at the snippets from our lives is doing so with good intentions. Or if not good intentions, at least not sweaty, creepy intentions.

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Pickles & Dimes
14 years ago

Ick. Just ICK.

It’s good you deleted the photo, but it still sucks that everything we do on the Internet has to be censored because some nutjob might get off on it.

ICK.

Erin
14 years ago

Oh I’m so sorry. I am always so skeeved out by the Flickr perves – usually feet people – but I cannot imagine …

I sometimes really, really hate the human race.

stephanie brown
stephanie brown
14 years ago

oh gosh! is there any way to report someone like that?

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

So true. I had taken a few naked-baby shots of Melissa with her little undiapered butt in the air and dumped them up on my Flickr account with all the other ones I have up of her, but then I got skeeved out that someone, somewhere could construe the photos as something *other* than completely sweet and cute. So, I took ’em down STAT.

Kristin
14 years ago

Ahhh, gross. This kind of thing skeeves me out and periodically turns me off the Internet. That dude’s intentions are most certainly, completely creepy. Not that it will help Save the World from Creeps or anything, but I wonder if we can get him banned from flickr, just on principal. Shudder.

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

I found some of the feet folks in submitting photos for the NaShoePoMo pool and was sufficiently weirded out. I’m impressed that you didn’t crawl through the internet to clobber that creep!
I have read your site for 4 years now & have always enjoyed your photos – I hope the pervs don’t stop you from posting!

Christina
Christina
14 years ago

I pretty much just started using flickr to document my obsession with shoes thru NoBloShoeMo… but I had all kinds of people add me as contacts, all people who ONLY had pictures of ladies and their shoes favorited. I even got a little mail message from someone (after I posted a picture of a pair of shoes just sitting in my car, not ON me) asking me to post a picture of me wearing them. Umm, NO THANKS. Like you said, it’s not that big of a deal, but kinda weird.

In the instance of the picture of Riley? SO NOT OKAY. It really is frightening to think of what in fresh hell someone is doing, favoriting all those pictures of innocent little kids. It’s so unfortunate that you can’t post a cute picture of a baby’s nude little booty, for fear of all the sickos out there. Ugh.

JennB
14 years ago

People haven’t gotten sicker, we’re just seeing them in a more public light due to the internets. But it’s wrong that because of one pervert you have to censor yourself. It’s the tyranny of the dumbbell (and, if I were you, I might see about flagging that person to the local pedophile watchers…)

Denise
Denise
14 years ago

Okay, that made me think maybe that person should be reported. To flickr, or whoever – I watch too much Law & Order: SVU, maybe, but you hear the same sick stuff on CNN as you do on that show every week. Ick.

Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

Holy crap! That is freaky, what a creep! I have a picture of Eric in the bathtub on my Flickr account, you can’t see anything but that picture has had the most views!

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

I would be freaked out too, if I were you. That feels like such a violation. Like you, I don’t really care if someone wants to jack off to a picture of my handbag or my feet or something, but a little kid is a whole ‘nother story and it makes me want that pervert with all the naked boys on his Flickr page to be arrested and er, violated in prison on a daily basis.

I understand your reticence to post more pictures but that makes me sad too, because I love to look at your pictures. IN A NON-PERVY WAY.

Amanda
Amanda
14 years ago

AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! Creeepy! Creepy!

I post our nudie shots as family only, and I never let any stranger favorite any picture of mine for any reason. If they favorite my things I block them.

Alyson
14 years ago

I am fairly new to blogging, and I have been composing a list of rules for myself for my blog. Knowing there are weirdos out there, I decided I would not put identifiable pictures of anyone out there. When I finished my first knitting objects that I wanted to blog about, instead of my youngest son modeling it, I put them on a canister and took pics on my front walk. My son’s smiling face would have made a much better picture, but, no. Maybe I will change my mind in time, but I am still struggling with that public blog vs. private person thing. But I WANT a blog. Silly, huh?

Regardless, Riley is a wonderful boy (a boy’s-boy), and I enjoy seeing pictures of him on your blog. I’d hate to think we couldn’t share things like that without some nut-job using them for nefarious purposes.

Angie
14 years ago

Oh, crap. I need to go check out any tags I have on my own flickr account. That is scary.

hello insomnia
14 years ago

Ugh this is gross and creepy, Linda.

WCD
WCD
14 years ago

They are jerking off to your slippers gross gross gross. Now I am paranoid where the hell do I look for tags on my account??

Zoot
Zoot
14 years ago

I’ve had the same thing but (brace yourself) with my 12-year-old son, and that’s TOO CREEPY for me. I’ve blocked dozens of profiles who favorite random photos of him (using the same flags you have) and it creeps me out. I have started setting most dead-on-face shot photos of my kids to private, only my contacts can view them. It sucks, but it’s nice not being creeped out anymore.

Nona
Nona
14 years ago

Yuck! I hope there’s some way to report this. I feel sick just thinking about it. Stupid, stupid world sometimes.

Banana
14 years ago

That is completely unacceptable. Can you flag this guy somewhere? Send an email to the flickr police? So. Disturbing.

Trina
Trina
14 years ago

That is why we cancelled our myspace account. We got an email from a local guy who said he thought our daughter was cute and wanted to take pictures of her. She wasn’t even a year old. I FLIPPED out. It’s so ridiculous that you can’t share your family because of the weirdos out there.

Janet Powell
Janet Powell
14 years ago

Wow. This very subject was discussed at length in an eBay sellers forum, and it still comes up from time to time. Parents often sell items their children no longer use, and at first many would have their children in the pix. No more they don’t. All experienced sellers know – no identifiable faces at all – several sellers had unexpected and repulsive experiences. I’m sure people who let their kids model for catalog work and the like can tell similar stories. This world is just sick.

Janet in Miami

Divrchk
Divrchk
14 years ago

I love looking at your photos. You take great pictures and, like you, it’s nice to see your family and how Riley is growing. It’s too bad that there are creepy people out there. Did you report this to flickr? As much as a pain as it is, you could make those cute buns pictures only available to friends and family. Why do the perverts have to ruin it for the rest of us?

allison
14 years ago

I know what you mean… some freak favorited all of my belly shots. wtf. They have no pics of their own either, and some of my shots were just of the belly, no head or anything and they favorited them. That gave me the major heebs.

Gillian
14 years ago

I block every single person that favorites my pregnancy pictures. I had a picture of my 2.5 month old son up for a couple of days, he was naked but you couldn’t even see a nipple let alone anything “good” and it got more hits than I was comfortable with, so I made it private. I am sad that I have to do that. I hate the freakpervs. :(

angela
14 years ago

Oh God, the same thing happened to me. I generally don’t post photos of people without their permission, so I thought I was being all smart about it, but then a photo of me and a friend’s half naked child (it was summertime and we were swimming) got favorited by some stranger with no photos of his own and a random username, and I PANICKED. I felt SO BAD that it happened not to me, but to my innocent friend’s innocent child. People are creeps and there is just no way around it. I had to start making photos private and then hotlinking them on my blog and my (private, members only) message board. It kind of defeats the purpose of flickr but since most of my friends don’t have a flickr account, I really can’t think of another solution.

Jess
14 years ago

This happened to me too, not with a child but with a photo of a friend of mine who happens to have a beard. The guy who favorited it had a name like BeardLover and he only had photos of men with beards. And he was a member of a lot of very sketchy groups about that topic, some with blatantly pornographic names. I felt horribly guilty for exposing my friend to that, took the photo down immediately, and told him about it, and he didn’t seem too concerned. But still, I felt really awful.

It’s such a fine line, when to post pictures that you know all can see. Ultimately, I think if something like that happens, the picture needs to be deleted and the user should be reported–but that we’re never going to be able to avoid strange people with strange fetishes staring at our loved ones, either in pictures or in real life, and all we can do is try to protect them from actual bodily harm without letting our concern actually hamper the way we live our lives. I’m not a parent so maybe I would feel differently if I had a child, but it seems to me that it isn’t worth stopping doing things that are important to you just to prevent anyone whose intentions are sketchy from seeing, as long as them seeing the photo could not in any way cause actual harm to Riley.

ang
ang
14 years ago

That person is soo freaking disgusting. I’m sorry Sundry.

alli
14 years ago

Yeah, the feet people have found some of our pictures. But the grossest one was where someone favorited a picture of my husband in his kilt, kneeling down… I’m not going to explain what the other pictures this person (I use that term loosely) had also favorited, but we yanked the picture and blocked the person.

We have set it to where only our contacts can leave comments because we also had some questionable comments left on pictures of our son.

Pocklock
14 years ago

That happened to me. Someone favorited a pictures of my 8 year old niece. She was just standing in the living room smiling at me so I took her picture. There wasn’t anything going on in the picture or anything special about her clothes. It was just a normal headshot of an 8 year old.

I stalked the person that favorited and found the same flags you did. It disturbed me as well.

I did end up marking any of my photos with children in them “friends and family”. I hate the censorship, but I didn’t know what else to do. I love Flickr and my family depends on it for photos documenting our lives. It just sucks that people like that exist.

nstig8r
14 years ago

ick! if it’s possible to report it, or flag the flickr account in some way, then i would definitely do so. that is just disgusting!

nstig8r
14 years ago

ick! if it’s possible to report it, or flag the flickr account in some way, then i would definitely do so. that is just disgusting!

Shabbir
14 years ago

Not to freak you out or anything, but the more internet famous you get, the more I suggest you pull Riley’s pictures out, or make them family only. Even clothed pictures are a vulnerability if you have a stalker. And once the kids are away at school out of your sight, you’ve got to worry about their stranger savviness until they’re teenagers and automatically distrust anyone over 16.

I know I’m being alarmist, but better to do it now, while the picture collection is smaller.

MRW
MRW
14 years ago

I work for a Judge and have since before I had a kid and if this job has done nothing else, it’s made me probably bordering on paranoid about putting pictures of my son on any kind of public forum. I don’t even let the school photographer use his photos in her promotional material even though his name isn’t anywhere on them. My family used to think I was overreacting, but I know there are some sick people out there just generally and sometimes some of them are mad at the judge I work for or the court in general. I can’t risk it. It pisses me off that I don’t feel comfortable sharing my pictures because some people are so awful, but the possible alternative is pretty grim. I love seeing your photos of Riley and I wish the world wasn’t the way it was.

Donna
Donna
14 years ago

What a freak show. I looked at his pictures, I am assuming “him”, and goddamn perverted assholes. I tell you, anyone who targets a child like that needs to just put on a deserted island with all the other pervs just like him, never to be allowed off.
I once made a comment on a blog about how I should have been a long distance trucker because I can go like 8 hours without having to stop to pee. I got 3 emails from freaks wanting to know how much I went after I did go, what was the longest I had gone without peeing, what color was it, etc etc. Freaked me right the fuck out. I’m emailing my daughter right now to set her profile to private on her myspace page because of the grandkids……

Kim
Kim
14 years ago

As a longtime reader, I really enjoy the picture portion of your blogs, whether they’re family, your house, or scenery. It’s a great bonus feature to what’s already the gift of your writing.
Then you have a day like today.
Like Nona said: stupid, stupid world sometimes.

Trena
14 years ago

…and this is why I can’t bring myself to actually put pictures/do anything with my flickr account. I do occasionally post pictures of Owen on the blog, but I try to pick the most boring, non-naked photos possible (which really probably doesn’t matter to the perverts, but makes me feel better). I get creeped out by the people in the supermarket (usually it’s men who just shouldn’t be exclaiming how beautiful my child is, you know?) so I can’t even imagine how I’d react if I found out someone had done that online. It really is too bad that there is always that one crappy person (or percentage of the overall population) that ruins it for everyone. I, and my 16 month old (Owen, upon seeing pictures of Riley: “BABY!!!”) enjoy your photos because you have a talent, but I would totally understand if you privated them all.

Lauren
14 years ago

Just out of curiosity, I decided to check my flickr account and see if anyone tagged any of my pictures as favorites. Seeing as I don’t have kids or anything, I wasn’t expecting anything shocking. Except that my boyfriend just uploaded several pictures of himself from childhood last week and they have already been tagged by someone with a profile similar to the one you described (none of their own photos, other photos of young boys and girls). That’s SO disturbing. I can’t even imagine how you feel. I’m so sorry.

Christina
14 years ago

Okay so that gave me a serious case of goose bumps AND it made my brow break out in a sweat. This is the sort of thing that makes me scared for my child… what a flippin’ creep… WHY are people like this???

I like to see photos of the people whose blogs I read regularly because it gives you a window into their lives, a sense of what they look like – sort of the putting the face to words. It would suck to just read and not have not have visual image…

I too understand if you went private but it still sucks…

Alice
Alice
14 years ago

most of my flikr photos have, like, 3 views. but i have 3 pictures from a night out where you can see how dirty our feet got after walking barefooted in the metro, and every single one of those has been repeatedly favorited, and the views are in the hundreds on each one. it’s… gross.

LLL
LLL
14 years ago

I think you need to be catious — within reason. As a former prosecutor married to a cop (who was a detective on the child abuse team) I can tell you there are a lot of twisted sick people out there. If you are putiing images into the public forum there is a chance these sick bastards will find them. That being said, I dont think you need to stop posting pictures, but I would maybe refrain from any little naked body ones, I think those are just to attractive to the wierdos.

The other thing I would never do (sorry to say) is post a picture of what the outside of your house looks like. I would take those pictures down. Not trying to be paranoid here, but realistic in today’s society of find-anything-on-the internet. That’s just too much information.

Last, I would call the police or FBI and make sure and talk to the child abuse or child porn division. Just tell them the facts — and insist that you speak to someone, don’t let them shuffle you off. Seriously. If this guy is a pedofile he likely has more pictures than just those he’s favorited on Flickr and he should be on law enforcement’s radar.

All of that being said. I love your posts and your ssharing with us. You were actually the inspiration for me to create a blog to share with my family about my daughter. Keep writing. Keep sharing. But maybe be a little more cuatious.

Deanna
Deanna
14 years ago

WHY people gotta be so creepy!?!?!?
Seriously, that’s horrible! I’m so sorry you’ve been put in this situation. I’m glad you reported him–and shared this with us. I have oodles of photos of my young nieces and will be more careful about which photos I share. I hate to miss photos of Riley, I so enjoy watching him change into a little man…but in a totally not-creepy way. I feel dirty…

LLL
LLL
14 years ago

PS: from the FBI’s webpage at http://www.fbi.gov/innocent.htm
there is a 1-800 tipline you can call to report potential use of child porn.

Nikki
14 years ago

That’s just…ICK!!

Em
Em
14 years ago

Ack! I had a very similar experience with someone “favoriting” my pictures on flickr earlier this week. I was part of a collection of women with big hips… :( It’s unsettling.

Christian ODell
14 years ago

Ranie and I went thru the exact same thing with Juliet. We checked our comments page couple o weeks ago and some freak had ‘favorited” EVERY pic of Juliet. He had no pics of his own, but every single picture he marked as favorite was of someone else’s little girl.

We reported him to flickr and after about a week they had banned him and erased his account.

When Ranie was pregnant we had another issue like that. Every time I’d post a new picture of Ranie, this other wierdo would favorite it. At first it was flattering, because hey any self-taught photographer with a smoking hot wife is going to get a tiny thrill that someone thinks your picture is nice. But it’s only thrilling once. When they started favoriting every one we posted it got very stalkerish. So, again, we reported them and they got booted.

Report him to the flickr admins and they’ll boot his perv ass.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

Damn. I can only imagine what you must be feeling.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to put my kids’ names on Flickr and I figured, what the hey, nobody’s really looking at my stuff anyway. I don’t have many shots tagged (usually just generic shots), but now I’m going to go out there and edit titles and everything else. Somebody mentioned the bathtub pic of their kid, that happened to me too. I had a shitload of views on that one and when I saw that, I changed the title.

Jenny
Jenny
14 years ago

Does anyone have any experience with Photo Stamps? They are so cute, but every time I get close to ordering, my husband & I think about someone seeing Henry’s picture essentially next to our home address (on the return address and we end up not ordering them. Just curious if other moms think they are safe…

Andrea
Andrea
14 years ago

I told the guy, and you know it is a guy, that he was a sick fuck. I have zero tolerance for this crap. I don’t care if he wasn’t hugged as a kid or his parents were in the Manson family, he should crawl back into his hole.

ZestyJenny
14 years ago

Again, I’m at work and can’t read all the comments, so sorry if you’ve covered this, but how do you tell on flickr if someone has favorited your photos? On the recent activity thing? Photo by photo?

I will be so sad if you stop posting photos of your beautiful family but I will understand. :)

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