January 20, 2019

Are Your Children Yours to Post on Social Media?

“In France, a child can sue her parents for posting pictures of her on Instagram. On any social media network, in fact, it is the responsibility of the French parent to protect a child’s image. The Gendarmerie have even posted on Facebook about it: “Préservez vos enfants!” The law rests on the principle that the images you post of a non-consenting child will endure in the future, and thus may distress or shame the child in the years to come.

We all sort of know this, but brush it off as part of parents’ prerogative to embarrass their kids. Nobody thinks twice about posting a picture of their child throwing a tantrum, for example. Parents have always celebrated their children against their will, from the family photo album on the yuletide knee to the Facebook update.

But all social media platforms are not created equal, and the ones we favor are rapidly changing. In March, the Pew Research Center announced that 35 percent of U.S. adults now use Instagram, an increase of seven percentage points from 2016. Instagram is on a sharply upward trajectory in American culture, challenging, if not surpassing, Facebook as the central place where people perform their identities online.”

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