Proud parents, look out.
In a bid to preserve the privacy of children, French authorities are instating the first laws that could see children given the right to sue their parents for posting pictures of them on their social media accounts. Parents could be faced with a fine of up to $AUD53,000 and even the possibility of jail time for their “crime”. Ouch.
The new laws will allow for adults to receive compensation for pictures posted by their parents on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram when they were children and unable to provide consent at the time of posting.
Is this fair, or just plain craziness?
Personally, I don’t post pictures of my children on social media. There might be an odd pic here and there of them with their backs to the camera, but that’s where it ends. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to show the 69,036 random snaps I take of them being the adorable little monkeys that they are, but I don’t want to open that door. If I’m honest, it’s not really even about their privacy, although this has made me think about that too, it’s that I don’t want to throw them into a digital world where my private family pictures become the Internet’s property and no longer just my own.
When I look through photo albums at my mum’s place (remember those?) filled with pictures of me covered by a protective film, I reckon I’d DIE if they were online for all to see. The frizzy hair, the pimples, and all the awkward moments from childhood, through puberty and then into adolescence are memories that I’m happy to keep hidden away from the the eyes of everyone but my loved ones, and loved ones only. When I look back on some of those photographs, I thank my lucky stars that when I was growing up, there was no such thing as social media.
The saddest part of all of this is that a parent posting pictures and videos of their children on social media is almost always done with a beautiful intention. They’re parents who are proud of their kids, who want to share all of those adorable moments with their friends and family, especially if there is distance that prevents them from sharing those moments in ‘real life.’
My pessimistic mind, which always searches out the worst possible scenario EVERY TIME, also worries about pictures of my kids falling into the wrong hands. It takes nothing for someone with a sick mind to take a screen shot of them and use that photo for God knows what. Let’s face it, how intimately do we really know all of our Facebook ‘friends?‘ In many cases, these are people that we haven’t seen for years, who we really don’t know anymore.
It’s such a tough call. You can’t live everyday being scared by the ‘what-ifs’ of life, I totally understand that. Part of me wishes I was more relaxed when it comes to this stuff, but I just can’t be. My kids are still little, but I know there will come a time where they want to enter the world of social media and I really don’t want them to. How can I tell them not to post pictures of themselves if I’ve posted pictures of them myself?
All that said, I think the idea of children being able to sue their parents for pictures posted of them on social media is ridiculous. It opens up a very wide and very dangerous door for every man and his dog to pull out a lawsuit on their parents for a snapshot in time, a time that was ultimately an act of pride for their child.
What’s the answer? I don’t know. I think as parents, we just continue doing what we think is best for our kids. For me, that’s keeping them off social media, but for you, that could mean continuing to post pictures of your gorgeous little ones whenever you decide to. Either way, we’re just doing the best we can for our kids and no one has the right to judge what your definition of ‘best’ is. Except the law in France.
Do you post pictures of your kids on social media? What do YOU think of these new laws?