You are witnessing and partaking in an incredible story of God’s love and work here on earth – and it’s not for you to keep.
The truth is, many potential abuses can occur from media getting in the wrong hands. Seemingly innocent photos and videos of children and adults have put people in harm of sexual exploitation, abuse, and trauma of various kinds. Even with good intentions, you can accidentally dishonor and disrespect someone by posting a photo before understanding the cultural and societal norms.
Please hear our heart: we don’t share this information to scare you from taking pictures, but rather to provide some context and implications of understanding cultural norms. However, for the safety of those we meet, it is important to consider whether the story or image you are sharing is safe, dignifying, and honoring to that person.
Even if you have permission and follow all official guidelines, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the impact of your social media images are respectful to all people.
- When you arrive at a new ministry location, do not capture any form of media before your cultural briefing.
- Please develop relationships with and know the names of the people you are photographing.
- Ensure your goal is God’s glory, not building a name for yourself.
- Do not post the personal information of any child or adult you meet. This includes, but is not limited to, their last name, identification numbers, specific medical conditions, size measurements, home address, school name, community or village landmarks, or place of employment.
- Refrain from posting pictures of children without the parent or guardian’s consent.
- If you do not have consent from someone to take their picture, do not post it. If you do not have consent from a parent or guardian, do not post photos of children. If you are unsure if you should post a photo, ask a ministry leader first. It’s always better to create a personal photo album to remember your mission experience offline and not post images publicly if safety is a concern.
- Please do not take pictures of people’s homes/huts/etc to show the severity of poverty. We want to honor the boundary and not exploit poverty.
- Show respect and compassion for culture and the people you are serving. Portray people with dignity and respect. Ask, does this photo show this person/place in a positive light?
- Show people their picture! (Try to give them a copy – polaroids are great!)
- Give context – we want to avoid telling stories that we don’t have context around.
- When sharing stories on your blog or social media, change people’s names and blur out faces if you don’t have that person’s permission to share their story or photo. If ministering in an orphanage, the red-light district, or with any known survivor of abuse/trauma, you must ALWAYS use a fake name and blur faces when sharing testimonies online even with consent and permission to share. Please do not share orphanage names, and ask permission before sharing any other host ministry names online.
Please note: Adventures in Missions reserves the right to ask you to remove any public posting that might bring harm to the people, ministries, and communities visited during your mission trip.