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Posting photos of children online

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Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 04 Mar 2016 8:03am () Replies (10)

NetSafe shared this article on their Facebook page this morning:

French parents 'could be jailed' for posting children's photos online

It states, 

French parents are being warned to stop posting pictures of children on social networks in case their offspring later sue them for breaching their right to privacy or jeopardising their security.

This is something that I have discussed a few times with my wife and a former colleague of mine. Not about the possibility of being sued, but thinking about what choices the children have about what gets shared online by their parents. What control do the children have over their own privacy and their own digital footprint when others are posting the photos?

Should we be giving our children more say in what gets posted online?

Mr Delcroix said: “We often criticise teenagers for their online behaviour, but parents are no better.”

He argued that people should think about how their children will feel later in life about images of them as infants or adolescents being posted on Facebook or other social networks. “Children at certain stages do not wish to be photographed or still less for those photos to be made public,” he told Le Figaro newspaper.

It might be interesting to ask your students what they think? Do they feel they have control over what gets posted about them? Do they see it as an issue?

What about in regards to what is shared from school? Often parents sign the forms saying that it's okay to share photos or work of their children. Should the children be signing these too? And what if they change their minds?

Check out the Digital Citizenship resources on Enabling e-Learning.


  • anne robertson (View all users posts) 11 Mar 2016 12:35pm ()

    Interesting discussion. My youngest son (aged 16) doesn't like his photo being posted on Facebook. He doesn't seem to have a philosophical objection in that his discomfort is not based on privacy concerns, more about embarrassment at his friends seeing his Mum post photos of him. Teenage angst, sort of thing.  So I am very careful about asking him before I post a photo and getting his approval first. If he deems it to be "ok" then I post but I don't tag him so it doesn't show up on his friend's feeds.  

    I have had the discussion frequently in school with students (all girls) about the "rights and wrongs" of posting photos on social media and they are much more relaxed about it as long as they are the ones posting photos of themselves. They definitely don't like their photo being posted by someone else.  Ownership and control is an important factor. We had an interesting discussion when we were doing a google search of their names as part of a digital citizenship lesson when some of their photos appeared linked to their old schools' websites.  Some of them were quite proud others were very embarrassed and upset.  I guess that comes back to the point made above - their parents had clearly given permission for their photos to be used but the children had not been consulted. 

    So, it is all about informed consent and parental responsibility, isn't it? What else do children under 16 have the "right" to consent to?

    Medical treatment is an interesting case in point; the Medical Council of NZ states that "People under 16 years of age are not automatically prohibited from consenting to medical, surgical or dental procedures so judgement of the patient’s competence to make an informed choice and give informed consent is needed in each instance".  Under 16s can't vote but they can drive a car and get married.  As was also mentioned earlier many students have a much deeper understanding of the implications of social media than their parents do and so involving them in the decision-making makes sense. 

    Just to throw another spanner in the works - I recently read an article in a UK paper which I now can't find, but in it the police were making parents aware of online stalking and grooming. They made the point that if, as a parent, you condoned/supported or even encouraged your 8 yr old to have a Facebook page and lied about their birth date to set it up, then your now 13yr old appears as an 18 yr old on his/her Facebook profile and will therefore be subject to all the unsolicited adverts related to their posts and profile, etc depending on the privacy settings of their page. They are also "fair game" (words of the police, not me) for the trollers out there. Food for thought. 

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Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship

A group to support schools help their students, staff and whānau become digital citizens