Posting A Child’s Life For The World To See Is A Privacy Issue

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Pic: NARA (PD)

Some parents are to their children what the NSA and market research corporations are to the rest of us.  Myra Hamilton writes at the Conversation:

Children consistently delight and surprise us, and make us hoot with laughter. It’s only natural to want to share these moments with friends and family. But the trend of posting information about our young children on social media sites raises an important issue: don’t children deserve some privacy?

Traditionally, people may have told funny or icky anecdotes about their children to their nearest and dearest when they saw them, or wheeled out embarrassing photos of their naked children at 21st birthday parties.

But social media sites provide the opportunity to share this information far more widely. Parents can place information permanently online where it may come back to haunt them, or their children.

Many parents post photos and videos online of their young children during their most cute, funny, or embarrassing moments. Daily chronicles of the most personal kind are appearing on social media sites around the world. These posts include the most intimate anecdotes about anything from poo and vomit to funny or misguided comments children have made.

This can begin from the child’s earliest moments – from ultrasound images to photos of newborn babies still naked and covered in blood. One parent even posted an image of a toddler on the toilet with his pants around his ankles, peering down with trepidation.

While it’s natural for people to want to share information about their children’s funniest moments, it raises important issues about children’s privacy. A discussion of these issues has been strangely absent and as the trend intensifies, it is a discussion we need to have.

The issue is particularly salient in the context of younger children who are not old enough to speak for themselves. They cannot consent to the information being shared, or understand the possible implications.

Are children not owed some privacy as they learn to navigate the world? Can they not expect their most intimate moments, when they are at their most vulnerable or raw, to be shared only amongst those closest to them?

Should they not have the choice, when they are old enough to exercise it, about which of the moments catalogued by their loved ones are made more public?

Read more here.

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  • Anarchy Pony

    Just more proof that the purpose of social media is to normalize the surveillance state and informant culture.

  • Gergith

    I feel this is more a power of attorney issue than anything else. Up until you are 18 you are not legally an autonomous citizen, so why SHOULD you have the right to privacy, when you don’t have other rights like the right to deny medicine as someone else is legally responsible for your decisions. Even to the extent that a parent can get arrested for a childs crime when they are young enough because, again, the parent is legally responsible. Parents do have the right to take your picture in the bathtub when you are a child and place it on the internet so long as it passes all other laws. It’s just CLEARLY a child doesn’t have the faculties to make the decision EITHER way. So giving the child the choice my allow it to own the decision, but are they more likely to say yes to sharing at a young age when they have no concept of privacy? Wouldn’t the parents attempting to protect the child have a better concept of this?

    • Calypso_1

      I feel it is more a poor parenting issue than anything else.

  • Ted Heistman

    Not to be mean but I usually am bored silly by what people post about their kids on Facebook.

    • lunasea

      Glad to know you’re not a threat, but you are kind of missing the point…

  • AManCalledDa-da

    This is the prime reason why Da-da writes his blog anonymously: to protect his children. Jeez, you think Da-da LIKES wearing bandages? Ok, he does, but there’s nothing wrong with a mummy fetish. It’s the opposite of nudism!

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