If you are on Facebook, you can’t ignore the ‘proud parents’ posting about every cute, smart or funny thing their kid does. Sometimes it’s a video of said kid taking some wobbly steps or petting a goat. Other times it’s a quite disgusting picture of the kid trying and failing to eat ice cream. In short: a lot of kids born today have their whole childhood shared online. Do the children get a say in this violation of their privacy? No.
Xennial parents are the worst offenders. Xennials are people born roughly between the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s. As a true Xennial, I’m right in the middle of it, albeit without kids. There was no internet or cellular phone when we were children. Pictures of our ice cream covered faces had to be developed and picked up a week later. There was no such thing as Facebook. Our parents showed the pictures to their friends in real time, face to face. It’s funny how the people who absolutely hated their parents showing that embarrassing childhood photograph to aunt Jo are the ones posting about everything their offspring does.
What about the privacy of those kids? According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child kids in fact dó have a right to privacy. Parents are posting pictures and videos without the children’s consent. Because this domain is still in its infancy, there are not many rules or regulations yet. Time will tell what happens when said children grow up and discover just how much private stuff mom put on her timeline for everyone to see.
A few years ago an 18-year old Austrian (not to be confused with ‘Australian’) girl actually sued her parents for violating her privacy. She had asked her parents to remove the 500+ pictures and video’s of her childhood from Facebook. They had shared their daughthers’ life with over 700 ‘friends’. The parents refused.
Of course Facebook is just one of many social media platforms. And people do get more aware of the problems. About 94% of the people worry about their privacy, according to a survey. In a world where you have to give information about yourself almost everywhere, I worry as well. My advice is to think about the future when you post a picture of yourself or others online. I, for one, am grateful to be a Xennial whose extremely embarrassing childhood pictures are locked away safely.