When Ali caught a stranger trying to take a picture of her daughter in public, she didn’t shrug it off. In fact, the Australian mom walked directly up to the amateur photographer and declared the behavior to be unacceptable.

Ali recalled what she told the man in an interview with 9Honey:

“I said ‘stop stop stop. What are you doing? You need to delete whatever photo you’ve taken’ and I picked up my daughter and we continued on our way.”

Perhaps what had disturbed Ali most about the confrontation was that for the second time in just one weekend, her daughter’s picture was taken without her consent.

Ali, who had been at the Sydney aquarium with her toddler at the time of the incident, explained although her daughter is outgoing by nature, she had never witnessed anyone point a camera directly in her face:

“My daughter is incredibly social, and we are out every day, all day long, and this doesn’t happen.”

Moreover, her daughter was dressed extra “girly” that day, which made mom even more uneasy about the context of the photos, as she told 9Honey:

“She looks like a boy…I’m not a big pink fan, and so we dressed her in clothing that had pink on, and someone took a photo. It was confronting because you don’t know where those photos are going to end up.”

According to 9Honey, Ali took to a local mom’s group on Facebook to ask if any other women had experienced a possibly growing trend and, if so, how they handled it:

Hi mums,

This weekend I was out with my family and had 2 experiences that really bothered me.

I have a one year old little girl, she looks like a boy. So this weekend I dressed her up in pink on both days.

On two separate occasions strangers tried to take her picture. On both occasions they stopped and stood within 2 feet of her and put there (sic) phones right in her face. Both times she was simply playing. The first photo taken by a young woman the second was attempted by a man (I managed to get between him and my daughter before he could take the photo).

Is this a common thing? Has this happened to you? How did you react?

I very calmly picked up my daughter and walked away telling them not to photograph my daughter and to delete any photos. I’m shocked that they thought this was ok.

Yes there is a photo of my daughter with me in my Facebook profile but random strangers? Really?

Ali told 9Honey commenters assured her the situation was handled appropriately:

“People were saying I did the right thing. I don’t want my daughter being in the centre of conflict, because she learns from tones of voice.

For me, it’s a warning sign. She shouldn’t have to put up with people coming into her personal space at one year of age.”

Ali admitted to 9 Honey that, while she does have photos of her daughter on social media, it’s who is taking the photo that’s bothersome:

“But I think that there’s a fine line between a random stranger taking a photo, and not knowing what they’re going to do with that photo.”

She added:

“I guess there are people out there who don’t have the best intentions, and they’ve always been out there. We know more about it now than we did then. I won’t stop bringing my daughter out in public but I will always stand up for her.”

In an interview, Kelly Baker, an editor at Nine.com.au’s motherhood section, “9Mums,” shared with 9Honey some tips for parents who find themselves in a similar situation:

“Two points to remember when these kinds of things happen … Firstly, while your own babies are more precious than any single item in the universe to you, they’re just sweet kids to everyone else. That might help bring a little perspective.

That said, they’re your kids — nobody else’s — and if something doesn’t feel right to you then it’s your prerogative to shut it down ASAP and to not feel badly about that afterwards.”

In the United States, it is legal for anyone to take a photo of a child in public and publish the image without parental consent, under the First Amendment, with the exception of a few states’ laws and jurisdiction given to school districts. If a photo is published it must be for editorial use, and the photograph must have been taken in a public setting.

However, as Baker advised and many parents would agree, if something doesn’t feel right, shut it down immediately.

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