As parents I'm sure you have an abundance of photos from countless sports games, birthday parties, vacations, and other joyous times spent with your children. If you have yet to become a Facebook member and haven't spent time searching through online albums of your "friends," then you are in for a virtual treat with this week's topic!

Photo sharing websites have made creating digital photo albums and sharing pictures with family, friends, and members of other online communities a breeze. Whether for personal or professional use, such websites allow their members and the public to enjoy the beauty of photography.

Flickr, the most well known of all photo sharing websites, is considered an online photo management and sharing application. A basic Flickr account is free, which makes it a practical alternative to other websites such as Snapfish or Kodak Gallery.

If you have never visited Flickr, try browsing through the Darien Library's very  own photostream.                                                                                               (photo courtesy of Flickr user George E. Norkus)

Take a tour of Flickr and learn about some of its functions and offerings.

Some of the unique qualities that have distinguished Flickr among other photo sharing options are as follows:

 

Tags - Names and keywords that you create to describe photos

Assigning tags makes photos easier to locate on Flickr. For instance, if you've visited New York with your kids recently you may want to assign tags like "empire state building" or "statue of liberty" to some of your shots. **It is important to remember that phrases or multiple words are placed "in quotes" to keep terms together.

Flickr keeps a list of the All Time Most Popular Tags. Click on the baby tag and view the results.

To read more about using tags on Flickr, click here.

 

Groups - social networking on Flickr

Groups allow users to connect with other members through common interests and passions. It's simple for users to create their own groups if not already available through Flickr, and groups can either be public or private.

Here is a search for Parent Groups on Flickr. View all the groups that appeared using the search term parent.

 

Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons and how is it beneficial to you as a parent?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that makes it easy for the public to use creative works without violating the laws of copyright. This allows creators to change their copyright terms from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved." This makes work free and easy to use and share, as long as one complies with the specified conditions within the Creative Commons licenses.

 This short video clip, starring Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes, explains the origin and the benefits of using Creative Commons.

Flickr provides a section of users who have decided to offer their photos under a Creative Commons license. This makes certain works available for your use, as long as you adhere to the designated licenses. Read about the various licenses available through Flickr: Creative Commons, and search the photos that have listed such licenses.

Thing 12 - Explore Flickr and Creative Commons. Can you think of how these licenses may be useful to you as a parent? Blog about how they may aid or protect your children.

It is also important to be aware of the photos you post online, especially with regards to your children. Flickr makes it easy to control who you share photos with by setting privacy and safety levels. Much like educating kids about using "words they are proud of," parents should also discuss the relevance of this phrase for online photos.

The success of Flickr has prompted the establishment of other photo-sharing websites such as Picasa Web Albums created by Google and Photobucket. You can browse some of these websites without the hassle of setting up an account.