Child Images & Social Media

MLVelascoPosting pictures of your children on Social Media:

Recent research showed that the average British parent will post almost 1,500 pictures of their children on social networks before the children turns five. More than half of these pictures are posted on Facebook, while the other half on twitter, Instagram and other social networks.

The research also points out, that the public sharing of intimate pictures, no matter how young the child was, might cause lasting psychological damage once the child becomes a teenager.

Only last September, an 18-year-old Austrian woman sued her parents to force them to remove childhood pictures of her from social networks. She stated, “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.”

The legislators in all European countries are becoming aware of the potential negative impact of this practice and are planning to put strict regulations on what can or cannot be posted on social network

France, is the country with the strictest controls and anyone posting a picture without the explicit consent of the people appearing in it, can incur a fine of up to 45,000€ including parents posting pictures of their own children.

The regulations in Spain, are both parents consent necessary?
In Spain, minors have the same constitutional right to privacy, honour and image, exactly as adults. Parents, with parental authority may freely exercise these rights on the behalf of their children, and must also ensure this right rather than threatening it.

In this sense, the Data Protection Act and the Royal Decree 1720/2007 of 21 December 2007 establishes a differentiation by age, requesting the consent of minors over the age of fourteen, and consent or the parents or guardians when they are less than that age.

The, the major controversy , however, is revolves around whether the explicit consent of both parents is necessary, for the publication by one of the parents of photographs of their under age children on social networks.

Consent of both parents must be implicit, so the publication by a parent in a social network, such as Facebook implies consent if there is not a complaint by the other parent. The same way, in cases of divorce, if both parents published photographs of their minor children in social networks prior to divorce, the law will assume the existence of implicit consent between them.

This issue has not been always clear in Spanish courts, with contradictory sentences. For example the sentence issued by the Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona, Section 18 of April 22, 2015, established that the consent of both parents is not necessary, when the photographs are published in familiar social networks (and of course with the requirement that they do not affect the integral protection of the minor), and in an opposite way the Judgment pronounced by the Provincial Court of Pontevedra, First Section of June 4, 2015, which resolved that a parent can not publish photos of the minors in social networks without the consent of the other parent.

Use common sense when posting pictures of your children:
If you are a parent and your child asks that you to remove their picture from Facebook, do not resist: it is their legal right.

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