By Lena Katz (Correspondent)
An ongoing debate for years in this country centers around whether or not it is okay for parents to post media of their children online without their permission.
The main concern regarding this practice, is that posting media of children without permission online is a violation of privacy. However, other people say sharing media of their children helps them connect with family members.
Jill Katz, former school nurse of the Massachusetts Public School District, says she is concerned regarding the security of a child put in this situation. “…posts could be used by others to track down children in cases of non-custody arrangements,” she said.
Dr. Marcus, Assistant Superintendent for Information System and Administration, of Sharon Public Schools, says that unless parents explicitly state that they do not want their child’s awards or activities published, the Sharon School Department has the right to publish awards, achievements, clubs, etc, of the child in question.
The father of viral Youtube star from the video “David After the Dentist”, David E. Devore, has a different attitude on sharing videos and pictures of children online. “Our experience as a viral family has been overwhelmingly positive. We have been able to experience things that we wouldn’t have been able to do without the video,” he said.
Yvette Nau, a freshman at SHS, says that as long as the child gives permission to the parents, parents can post whatever they want to.
“…Without permission, it just doesn’t make it right. However, if there is permission then I think yes, parents do have a right to be able to post those things without fear of getting ‘in trouble’ with their kids,” she said.
A few years ago, an unnamed Austrian 18 year old sued her parents, forcing them to remove embarrassing childhood pictures of her on Facebook. “They knew no shame and no limits…they didn’t care if I was sitting on the toilet or lying naked in the cot, every moment was photographed and made public,” she said.
There is certainly a security issue when it comes to this topic. FERPA protects children under 18 years of age from having their educational records leaked. According to this law, parents cannot post educational records of their children on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform.
Signy Arnason, director of Cybertip.ca, operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, says that another serious issue that has arised due to this topic, is the danger of pedophiles. If a parent posts a picture of their child on a social platform, there is a chance that a predator could take advantage of the situation, and manipulate the photo to make it more sexually suggestive. “Basically, they’re changing the face out. As sick as you can make it, they’re doing it,” she said.
Many parents are trying to go about ways of protecting their children to eliminate the safety hazards. The effect this issue has on children is undeniable to many people. Jill Katz says that children can react in different ways to having their pictures posted, due to their upbringing and surroundings. “The answer really depends on age and circumstances; some children are much more vulnerable than others, particularly in cases where there are estranged parents or other family members,” she said.