Child Welfare

In many countries, interacting and taking photos of children you don’t personally know is not a legal issue, but it is an ethical one. 

The best question to ask yourself when you come across children or see a great photo opportunity with a child is, would I take this photo or interact with this child if I were at home?

Imagine the uproar if a complete stranger was walking around a shopping centre, singling out children to play or take their photo.  Please use the same rules if you were in a foreign country walking around a village or marketplace where children may be playing, working or just generally living their lives.


Sometimes the parents/caregiver of the children are around and if you are spending some time interacting with the locals the parent may give permission for you to take photos.

If you are granted permission and consider it would be appropriate to do so, take the photos.  It might be a great idea to send them a copy of the photo on your return home as they most likely do not have many photos to keep.

Asking permission is certainly a more respectful way to go.  But be prepared for them to say no and accept their decision gracefully.

We respectfully request that ICON Adventures travellers follow our child welfare guidelines:

  • Don’t behave towards children any differently to the way you would at home
  • Treat children and their community with respect
  • Ask permission of an adult before taking photographs, stop if they are not comfortable
  • Never take photos of naked or partially naked children
  • If you see a traveller acting in a way that is, or could be interpreted as, inappropriate, threatening or sexually provocative, do not turn a blind eye, do something to stop the behaviour and protect the child.
  • Under no circumstances should you ever be alone with a child
  • Do not share your personal details with any child so that they can contact you directly
  • Don’t ever physically discipline or abuse a child
  • Do not give gifts, treats or money directly to children as this encourages skipping school and begging.

We strongly encourage ICON Adventures travellers to support local community-based organisations of the destinations we travel to.  This may be in the form of taking aid, while you are preparing for your trip, you decide you would like to take some aid with you, please contact us for advice on what might be appropriate. This is actually quite a complex subject and not a one size fits all, so if you are keen, flick us an email for advice.

Sometimes aid is not required, but you may come in contact with remote villagers who have little access to shops.  In this instance you are welcome purchase local items to hand out during your travels, as this helps their economy too. Please ask your local guide, they will have the most appropriate advice for the location. Eg bread rolls, fresh fruit, pens and pencils etc