Not Forgiven and Certainly Not Forgotten – Social Media and Lawsuits
When someone you love and know has a baby, inevitably both theirs and your Facebook feed is saturated with updates of cute photos of their photogenic bundle of joy. You may like the photo, even comment on the baby’s cuteness factor, and your loved one or acquaintance may think that posting photos of their bundle of joy is harmless.
But what if that bundle of joy grows up, finds these photos, and resents or even hates them? As technology evolves, so do the laws around them and now parents are facing the possibility of being sued over social media posts.
Overseas media are reporting on court cases involving parents being sued over social media posts by their children.
In Austria, one young woman, just entering adulthood, took her parents to court over their choice to post hundreds of photos of her as a child on social media, without her permission. In France, parents could face five figure fines and even imprisonment for posting photos of their children on social media without their consent. Outside of the courtroom, overseas research has found that UK parents have posted around 1,000 photos of their child before their said child has even reached five years of age.
While there have been no court cases so far in Australia involving parents being sued over social media posts by their children, Australian parents are no strangers to using social media to brag about them.
So what are the main considerations parents need to make to prevent being sued over social media posts in the future by their own children?
The main considerations that parents need to make are:
If you, or a loved one, or an acquaintance are planning on posting a photo of your or their child/children on social media, the first thing to do is to get that child’s/children’s permission. If the child/children is too young to get permission from, make sure that both parents agree to posting the photo. If the child/children is old enough, make sure that they understand what permission means and that they have properly given it.
To protect a child’s/children’s privacy, parents need to both ensure that their privacy settings on their social media accounts are strict, and that the photos they are posting don’t infringe on their child’s/children’s present and future privacy.
Safety goes hand-in-hand with privacy in that parents need to ensure that they know who they are sharing photos of their children with. Parents can do this by revising their privacy settings and who they are connected with on their various social media accounts (friends, followers and so on).
Security also goes hand-in-hand with privacy and safety, but isn’t just restricted to social media security. Security when posting photos of a child/children also includes ensuring that photos are protected from getting into the wrong hands by installing anti-virus software on all devices.
So there you have it, now parents everywhere know what to consider when posting photos of their child/children to prevent being sued over social media posts when their bundle of joy grows up.