Sharing children’s images on social media – the dos and donts
At this time of year, we are knee deep in sports finals, end of year class photos, communions and confirmations – not to mention the usual birthdays and events we see across social media all year.
Every day I am constantly seeing images of children on social media in group photographs shared by parents that they do not have the right to share. I don’t know who these children are and yet I am seeing their images and a lot of the times parents/ children may be tagged and
the location shared as well.
I can see all of Johnny’s classmates in his school pictures the parents have shared- but what about the images of the other children in that picture? Have you received permission to share this image and tag them?
We can NEVER assume consent or permission from other parents/ guardians – it is illegal and morally wrong. We don’t have the right to share their child’s image across social media just to share that our Johnny has finished National School, reached a final, made communion etc. Remember we never know what is going on in someone else’s family- there could be legal implications to this sharing and the parents can rightly sue you for sharing their child’s image without their consent.
So, what are the legal and best practices to adopt in this situation?
1) Are other children identifiable in the pictures? If so and you have not asked for consent to publish their picture, then consider blurring the face of each of the children that aren’t your own.
2) Do not tag or share school or location tags unless you have permission.
3) Remember you don’t know where these images will end up so always be mindful of
the images you share- you may only share them to family and close friends but what
about everyone else?
4) Check your privacy settings and make sure your profile is private and this limits who
can see your child’s image.
5) If you want to share images with other parents who may have missed the event or didn’t take any photos, then consider sharing them on a photo
platform or via a transfer system but advise them you don’t have consent to share the images of all the children.
6) Once you take these photos you become the data controller of the image and so are
legally responsible for what is captured, how it is shared and stored.
7) Ask your child do they want their image shared across social media. The digital age of consent is 13 but you know your child – are they able to decide on how, where,
and why their image is shared?
Remember your children do not stay children for long and there is a startling
statistic that said:
“According to a UK study by Parent Zone and Nominet, the average parents share almost 1,500 photos of their kids online before their 5th birthday.” (taken from https://tinybeans.com/sharenting-and-othe risks-of-social-media/)
Always err on the side of caution and if you are unsure about sharing images I came across
some useful tips from the ISPCC about “The Do’s and Don’ts of posting pictures of your
children online” https://www.ispcc.ie/digital-hub-posting-pictures-of-your-children-online/