Patton360° | Close to Home
By: Posted On: 2009-05-02

The Province newspaper (Vancouver, BC) reported the other day that a man in his fifty’s approached two young boys that were selling lemonade and asked them if he could take their photo.  The boys felt uneasy about the man and went inside and told their parents who in turn called the police.

THE PROVINCE: Man approaches boys at Chilliwack lemonade stand

Now the article is pretty vague and leaves a lot of detail out, which of course lets our mind jump to the worst conclusion possible.

We live in a world now where the slightest suspicion can turn a whole community into fearing for their child’s safety and sometimes overreact.

Now, I am not saying that the man was right in what he did. He may or may not have been a dangerous person. The man should have known better then to ask young people if he can take their picture. Most people these days know to ask parental permission before taking any photos of youth.

If it turns out the man wanted to use the photos for legitimate reasons, he made his biggest mistake by the way he approached the children.

When I was younger, I did some freelance work for one of the local newspapers here and in turn sometimes had young people as the subject of the photos I took. But before I took any photos of a younger person, I always made sure to get parental permission.  This is pretty much common sense these days.

One thing I am pleased about is how the two boys reacted in this case. As soon as they felt uneasy, they went to an adult and told them what had happened. This is ofcourse what all children should be taught to do in cases like this.

The man may have been a freelance photographer, working for a newspaper, working for a book, or he may have been doing it for the wrong reasons. Either way, it is a lesson on what we need to teach our kids  to do in situations like this.

However, we need to also remember to not let cases like this create mass paranoia where worry about everyone. We need to live our lives, just cautiously.

Article from Patton360°- a blog by Alexander Patton exploring youth issues from a different perspective. Check it out at


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