In this think piece, I argue that making children diagnosticians of their own well-being can contribute to a broader understanding of child protection that goes beyond singular issues like corporal punishment. Children themselves are well placed to help define what their protection needs to entail and what is essential to their own well-being. What child protection means to children themselves is best understood by granting young people authority to explain their own lives, while also relating their concerns to the broader contexts in which they live. By means of some Zanzibari young people’s visual representations of protection and safety, I emphasise the need to ‘see beyond’ their photographs and ‘read’ them alongside their own explanations. Their accounts ultimately build a case for the need to broaden understandings of ‘protection’ to include ideas of promoting well-being.