Kids can soon sue their parents for posting their pictures on Facebook
Authorities in France have warned moms and dads of posting intimate or embarrassing photos of their young children on Facebook. Such an act could land them with a fine and jail time.
French parents could face fines of up to €45,000 and a year in prison if found guilty of breaching their right to privacy when they are young, reported the Guardian. Thanks to the country’s strict privacy laws.
“In a few years, children could easily take their parents to court for publishing photos of them when they were younger,” Eric Delcroix, an expert on internet law and ethics, told The Telegraph.
“Children at certain stages do not wish to be photographed or still less for those photos to be made public,” he continued.
In a 2015 study, author and child psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, said, “Your favourite picture of your child sitting on the potty for the first time may not be their favourite picture of themselves when they’re 13.” She found that parents in the U.K. post nearly 200 photos of their young children (under the age of 5) every year.
Earlier this year, France’s national gendarmerie wrote that “you can all be proud moms and dads to your magnificent children, but be careful.”
“We remind you that posting photos of your kids to Facebook is not without danger!” it wrote.
Given the relative youth of social media, it’s difficult to say precisely how growing up online could affect children but there are concerns around trespassing privacy, safety and security.
Professor Nicola Whitton from Manchester Metropolitan University added to The Guardian: “I think we’re going to get a backlash in years to come from young people coming to realize that they’ve had their whole lives, from the day they were born, available to social media.
“Parents have to work out what’s right for them, but be aware that this is another person, another human being, who may not thank them for it in 15 years to come.
“It may seem hard, but my line would be don’t put pictures online until they’re of an age where it’s appropriate to discuss it with them.”
Speaking to the Telegraph, Viviane Gelles, a lawyer specialising in internet privacy told that in French law, “Parents are responsible for protecting images of their children.”
They could in turn be harming the future reputation of their children by posting them online with irresponsible abandonment. As a result, a grown child would have all the possible rights to sue their parents arguing that their right to privacy was breached by them.
However, Professor Sonia Livingston at the London School of Economics – who has conducted research into children’s rights in a digital age – did not agree with the proposed new laws.
She claimed that the “draconian” rule need not apply if parents are honest and able to explain to their kids about what they do and don’t want online.
Prof Livingston said: “If (parents) can be open with their children about what they wish to share, with whom and why, this need not result in a draconian crackdown on all sharing.”