Parents in France may have to think twice before sharing images or videos of their child online as the government is bringing in a law that will penalise such practice.
An anti-sharing bill is currently being debated by French lawmakers. One of the clauses being put forward aims to make parents responsible for the privacy rights of their children who cannot consent to their images being uploaded online.
In the most extreme cases, a family Judge could even take away one parent’s right to share images of their child, if deemed excessive or harmful.
This proposed law also looks to punish influencer parents looking to gain followers and earn money by posting images of their children.
It’s important to remember that once you share content online, it can be very difficult to erase it later.
This bill is a world-first and has been welcomed by child psychologists and social media experts. “I find it necessary to protect under-age children who have no voice to speak against the images shared online by their parents,” said Anja Stevic, researcher in communications at the University of Vienna.
“Parents need to be aware of the risks… Mostly regarding ethics or stealing the images for some really malicious purposes online,” she said.
According to a 2015 investigation by the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Australia, 50 per cent of photos innocently shared on social media end up on child sex abuse forums.
This study is outdated since it’s eight years old but according to the French Council of Associations for the Rights of Children (Cofrade), “Europol and Interpol alerted as early as 2020 to the proliferation of online child sex abuse content and the prevalence of self-produced content by young people themselves or those around them”.
Although this bill won’t prevent child sex abuse websites from collecting content posted online, French MPs want to remind parents that they must respect their child’s digital privacy.