Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Extreme Safety Measures
The world we live in is not one I would call 'safe' for children anymore. When I speak to my Grandparents they tell me in their day things were much safer, but then again I can't help but think this may not have been true. I think in my Grandparents age things still went on but just weren't talked about, far less published in the media. So I guess you could say with the adaptation of what the media will now print, which is usually more of the bad, awful stuff than the positives of life, I do now feel that this world isn't what I consider a 'safe' place for my child.
Since becoming a mummy I've found myself lying awake staring in to the pitch black as my other half snores away and my son rummages around in his cot in the next room. Listening to him innocently chase his dreams and occassionally crying out for me if he has a night terror makes me all the more aware of how innocent he is in this big bad world. The conotation of the big bad wolf and red riding hood springs to mind often. My son is so small, so new and fresh to this world and his beautiful and pure innocence is something I spend hours worrying the world could steal from him in one cruel swoop. I know it's normal to worry but it terrifies me.
I do everything I can to protect him of course. Like we all do as parents. Despite my fear of everything that could hurt him I have still been suprised lately about some of the procedures in places (which when your honest about it) which are to prevent the unthinkable things from happening to our children. For example the first time we took my son swimming, we left it late as I am not an avid swimming pool fan. My son was about 8 months old and he loves water and was splashing around with Daddy. There were only a handful of people in the large, exclusively accessed swimming pool including one older child whom I assumed was about age 7/8 or so. I got my camera out to capture the whole 'first swimming' experience, snapping away pictures of my son and partner. May I add at this point the pool was so empty no-one else was even half snapped in any of the pictures. Within no time at all the lifeguard had practically fallen over himself to get to me to tell me to put my camera away as you can't take pictures at a swimming pool. Now this might sound like an idiot thing to do but I genuinely had never heard this before so was quite suprised. When I thought about it though it made a lot of sense. Swimming pools mean people with lots of flesh on show etc so I can see the logic of not allowing photo's but I did draw the line when he asked me to delete the photo's I had taken. I refused because after showing him no-one else was in them, I wasn't about to delete them, there was to me no point. He let me keep them but advised (ok told) me to not do it again. Happily I agreed I wouldn't.
Then there was the time not long ago we took my son to a soft play centre. He was in his absolute element! Happily running around like a mad child burning off some steam, snapping away (yes I'm one of those mummies who likes to take photos, so what!) I was proudly pointing my camera at him when I was told I wasn't allowed to take pictures in there. Now this one did shock me. Children are fully clothed at soft play centres and I couldn't see the harm in taking a few snaps there when for the most part they were of him only with the occassional half limb of another child. It's not like I was snapping away at every child possible, because then I could have understood it. I was only interested in photographing my own child.
To me this is a step too far. I know the world isn't a safe environment for our children but not allowing photographs to be taken in an area where so many happy childhood memories can be made seems extreme. And this is coming from a parent who worries about the potential nasties of the 21st century. I know fully about the dangers and exact workings of certain types of people who could cause harm to children but this doesn't mean I think rules like these are a good idea. I don't see what they are protecting to be honest? There are other ways of policing photographs like this, the staff should be trained to look out for the difference between a happy parent making photographic memories of their child and a person not doing this. Don't remove the right to photograph our own children from us just because some people will abuse this.
Of course now that I have made the mistake of using my camera in these places, and now I have been informed this isn't acceptable I of course will abide by the rules not to do it again. Abiding by the rules doesn't mean I agree with them. The swimming pool one I can understand, nudity etc and it seems safer but a childs play centre that is alien to me.
I do indeed look at the flip side and look from that point of view but I DO have experiences that I wish I didn't and yet my opinion still remains the same about these rules being extreme with regards to soft play areas. What do you think? Should soft play areas allow photographs to be taken or do you think it's safer that they aren't allowed, bearing in mind your hardly likely to even be allowed within ten foot of one of these places without a child of your own in tow. Which I know doesn't rule out the risk altogether but does narrow it down. I would be interested to know what your thoughts are on this so please comment below. But as for me, I still think this is extreme even though I spent an hour laying awake worrying about the awfullness of this big bad wolf world that we live in.
Love Chloe xx