According to their web site, Shutterfly, “in a snapshot” is designed to make it “fun and easy to be thoughtful and creative with your memories.” You can use Shutterfly to not only print your photos but also enhance, share, and store them as well as create gifts featuring them. Users can use Shutterfly’s products and services to stay connected to their friends and family, organize memories in a single location, tell stories, and preserve their memories for themselves and their children.
According to their Terms & Conditions, children under the age of 13 should not use this site. To access Shutterfly’s Terms & Conditions, go to http://www.shutterfly.com/help/terms.jsp. At this link, they provide the following statement about minors’ use of their site:
“We hereby notify you that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, software or filtering services) are commercially available that may assist in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Information identifying current providers of such protections is available at the websites of GetNetWise (http://kids.getnetwise.org/) and OnGuard Online (http://onguardonline.gov/). Please note that Shutterfly does not endorse any of the products or services listed at such sites.”
When you post your pictures on Shutterfly, you have control over who is able to access them. When you choose to share your pictures with others, the recipient will receive a link to view your album. If you choose to share a single album, they will only see the pictures int hat album. If you share as an album in your collection, they are then able to view pictures you have uploaded in the past to other albums in your collection. Shutterfly does not make pictures publicly accessible. You can also choose to share your images as a collection on a personally created web site. On this web site, you can choose to have visitors add photos to your collection or comment on photos.
If you delete photos, Shutterfly holds them for 2 weeks before they are removed from the server. This gives you an opportunity to change your mind or retrieve accidentally deleted photos.
There is risk involved in posting pictures online, whether on Shutterfly or any other photo-sharing site. Using privacy settings to limit access to your photos can help protect them but there is no guarantee of safety. Remember that if you share your album with others, you have no control over who they may forward the link to. People you may not realize could then access your photos. Also, if the link is forwarded to people you don’t know, they may gain access to your name and e-mail address along with all the photos you have uploaded.
There are also forums available on the Shutterfly site. Any information shared in the forum becomes publicly accessible. Inappropriate content may exist within Shutterfly. If an album is set to private, users would have to be invited to view this content. However, if a user is a member of a forum or views public galleries, they may come across inappropriate content. Personal information and images can be shared through the forum services, user comment function, public gallery, image sharing, or blogs.
Safer Use of Shutterfly
First and foremost, think before posting photos. Personal photos should not have revealing information, such as school names or locations. Look at the backgrounds of the pictures to make sure that identifying information isn’t provided unknowingly. The name of a mall, the license plate of your car, signs, and some clothing all contain information that can give a location away.
Also, think before sharing. Only share photos with those close friends and family members that are trusted. Be aware of what photos your children are sharing on this web site. Set your collection to private and require a password to be entered in order to gain access to your collection.
If participating in the forums or other public areas of Shutterfly, be wary as to what identifying information is provided. Don’t accept invites by unknown individuals.