Do we show our children too much on social networks?

There are parents who don’t “never”Like Christelle, because they want to “save image” of their children. People who posted pictures “back” or hiding faces like Nini. Those who do it again “sometimes” Like Cecile. “I have to post pictures of my kids on Facebook once a year. This says the mother of three teenagers. I do this mostly to show friends far away how they are growing. But since my son told me I didn’t get his permission, I post less. »

Then there are many publishers. To understand the extent of this phenomenon, enter the keyword “family” or “family” especially on Instagram. A random account on this popular network for young parents shows 2126 photos. Pictures and videos of babies or toddlers, from all angles, alone or with their parents.

Among family influencers who use the image of their children to sell products, the counter is still rising: 3,720 photos for a Breton mother, for example, 5,456 photos for another from Amiens. As for the authors of family vlogs (video blogs), they constantly expose the daily lives of their children.

1300 photos up to 13 years old

“It is estimated that by the age of 13, on average, a child appears in 1,300 photos published on the Internet, on their account, on the accounts of their parents or relatives,” Bruno Studer, Renaissance MP, author of the bill aimed at ensuring respect for children’s image rights (read opposite). The youngest are the most affected: “75% of the children photographed are between 0-5 years old” notes Thomas Rohmer, director of the parenting and digital education observatory (Open).

Since the advent of the smartphone, taking pictures of your children and posting them on social media has become commonplace for many parents. “This is a massive phenomenon that continues to grow, with today especially the rise of video posts on Facebook and TikTokThomas Rohmer notes. According to our surveys, the parents who do this most often are young and often mothers. »

These practices are also more common among families “those who lack digital cultural capital”according to anthropologist Pascal Plantard. “These people mostly use it technologies from the point of view of consumption and the so-called attention economy, on which the activity of social networks is based, with audience and noise, explains this expert in digital uses. Some naive parents who are trapped by the Internet giants do not realize what is at stake. Others, who are immature, will seek their glory through the staging of their children. »

Many are unaware of the risks of this exposure. “I don’t see where the problem is. Samia said. People don’t care about your children’s faces. » Before her son’s words, Cecile didn’t ask herself any questions. “While listening to it, I became aware of visibility problems on the networks. he admits. This is something he is afraid of. He even told me that he does not want to be known for anything in the world. »

Photos hijacked by pedophiles

Worried parents think mostly about online predators. “We don’t know who can see the photos” Celine says. “We can do terrible things with images: from a sarcastic meme (1) nasty editing on porn sites” Anne adds. Deputy Bruno Studer confirms these fears: “50% of photos shared on child pornography forums were originally posted by parents on social media,” wrote in an explanatory letter to the bill. According to the deputy, who prevents the dissemination of information about children’s daily life, photos of naked babies or young girls in gym clothes are of particular interest in pedophile circles. “allowing people to define their place and lifestyle for the purpose of sexual predation”.

Apart from the pedophile risk, the content posted on the internet can cause psychological problems among young people. “Today, the exploitation of self-image, like our loved ones, takes precedence over real relationship. the child may think that his parents prefer his image more than it actually is; analyzes psychiatrist Serge Tissero.

These photos can also be shared on the Internet for life affect self-image and perception,Thomas Rohmer recalls. A teenager may be embarrassed to see certain photos of him, the baby, or the child reappear in more or less favorable circumstances. It’s an age when you want to break away from your family to fly on your own, and these scars can be experienced as a form of humiliation. Not to mention that they can be used in school harassment situations. » Even in adulthood, these images can be harmful, adds Serge Tisseron: “If I’m a high-level manager in a company and my photo of a pot goes viral, smart people can use it. »

“Parents who post photos of their children are not bad parents”

Bruno Studer’s bill, which plans to amend the Civil Code to include the concept of privacy in the definition of parental authority, aims to avoid this overreach. Rather than a repressive text, the law of pedagogy aims above all to sensitize parents to the right to image. Post a photo of your child without their permission, “This is a violation (his) Image rights are part of the right to respect (his) Private life “, the human rights defender recalls in his latest report.

“The idea is not to say that parents who post photos of their children are bad parents, Thomas Rohmer says. But we are witnessing a proposal on the part of influential parentsmay lead to abuse. » The founder of the open organization specifically condemns the spread of hoaxes (such as the spread of fake news from the “kid police”…) to “create a buzz”. “This kind of video goes viral quickly and can encourage some parents to take action without realizing it’s abuse. »

The expert regrets that the draft law does not go further by amending the criminal code. Serge Tisseron reminds “There should be medicines for children up to 12 years old. Because we don’t know enough from the age of 13, a teenager is the legal owner of his body and should therefore be able to ask Cnil to delete the photos without waiting for his majority. »


Online protection of minors

The 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets a minimum age of 13 to register on the social network. Up to 15 years of age, this registration can only be done with the permission of parents.

In its recommendation dated June 9, 2021, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil) believes that minors should be able to directly exercise the rights related to their personal data on social networks, game and video sharing platforms. .

Already, a law of March 2, 2022, proposed by MP Bruno Studer, requires default parental controls to be installed on all internet-connected devices. Internet filtering in schools has been mandatory since 2004.

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