Control over the use of any content uploaded to a website, a blog or to social networks It is lost once published. And any content includes texts, comments or opinions and, of course, photographs and videos. In the specific case of graphic material, experts warn of a phenomenon that is already known as oversharing or sharenting and which refers to the overexposure by the parents of minors especially in social networks Instagram Y Facebook.
A survey prepared by the firm of Informatic security AVG In 10 countries, including Spain, it is recorded that 23% of children have an online presence even before birth because their parents publish images of ultrasound during pregnancy. The percentage skyrockets rapidly, to the point that the 81% It's in Internet before meeting 6 months. The figure continues to increase in the early years of childhood.
In the United Kingdom, for example, according to a study published by the Nominet company, parents publish about 200 photographs of their children under 5 years of age on social networks every year. This means that before turning 5, 1,000 images of each of these children will circulate. The repertoire is varied: babies who sleep peacefully, splash in the bathroom, premiere urinals, play happily in the park or show an endless number of lovely experiences for parents, but dangerous for children for various reasons.
Silvia Martínez, director of the University Master's Degree in Social Media: Management and Strategy of the UOC, also warns: "It is assumed that parents are the main stakeholders in guaranteeing and protecting the image of their children and that they will seek their welfare above all In the decision making prior to the publication of images, the protection of the best interests of the child and their individual rights should prevail over other interests, however, when parents share photographs of their children on social networks, especially if they are minors, may not be aware of the risks involved. "
When the private becomes public
"On many occasions, parents believe that the exposure they make of these images will be limited to the circle of their direct acquaintances, but their scope can be much broader," says Silvia Martínez, also a member of the Research Group on Learning, Media and Entertainment (GAME) "First," continues the expert, "most maintain a public profile on the networks, so that image could be seen by any user. On the other hand, even if the parents have limited the exposure of their profile making it private, sometimes the acquaintances themselves or family members share those images that have reached them through the networks (even without having an authorization to do so), thereby extending that scope that photography can have. "
What do the social networks themselves say about it? "By publishing content on technological platforms such as those that make up social media, we give these companies certain rights over their use and the treatment of the information contained therein," says Silvia Martínez. For example, Facebook's terms of service, in the "Permissions you grant us" section, specify the following: "The content you create and share on Facebook and other Facebook products (Instagram is one of them) belongs to you and no provision included in these conditions voids the rights you have over it. "
The heading refers to intellectual property rights, which will always be of the person who uploads the publication. Now, if you keep reading, the nuances begin. "If you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store it, copy it and share it with others (in accordance with your settings). (€) You can delete the content or your account at any time to terminate this license. In any case , the content you delete may still be visible if you have shared it with other people and they have not deleted it. "
Another risk of publishing photographs of minors is that they can be used as pornographic material worldwide through, for example, the extraction of the image of their genitals when they are naked. They can also turn children into possible victims of child pornography through substitution, with applications and computer treatment.
On December 4, 2018, a story was published in the Wall Street Journal that warned of another of the dangers of overexposure of children or sharenting: identity theft. "I would like to welcome my son to the world. Mom and Uncle Maddox love you very much, Artie," said the presentation in society of Arthur Lance Maddox Parker, accompanied by the photo of a newborn sleeping peacefully. But it turned out that Arthur was not Arthur.
Emory Keller-Kurysh, a 33-year-old woman from Canada, was the baby's real mother (who, by the way, was a girl). He had taken the photo two years before with his cell phone in the hospital room after giving birth and had published it on his public Instagram profile. Fortunately, this mother received proof that her daughter's image was circulating as if she were another woman's baby and alerted Facebook Inc., owner of Instagram. The company closed the account of the mother who had stolen the identity of the child because it violated the terms of service of the social network. For its part, the royal mother changed her profile to private so that only the people she approved could see the photos of the girl.
In cases like this, the expert in digital communication and social networks of the UOC warns the following: "Share content and narrate every progress and achievement that children get, comment on their tastes and preferences, indicate the sites they visit or show such private spaces as their rooms can also trigger greater dangers. All these data offer a lot of information to third parties that can take advantage of it to try to achieve criminal purposes or even attempt against the integrity of those children. "
By spreading the children's childhood we are printing their first fingerprints. Silvia Martínez explains: "By publishing these photographs, you contribute to creating an identity with which the interested party, in this case the son or daughter, may not feel represented or comfortable, and end up even feeling ashamed by certain situations or information very staff that can be shown in those images. "
The study Not at the dinner table: parents and children's perspectives on family technology rules, prepared by the universities of San Francisco and Michigan, provides data on this point: "56% of parents share potentially shameful information about their children, 51 % gives data with which they can be found and 27% hang photos directly inappropriate. "
The consequences? It increases the risk that they will become targets of ridicule and suffer harassment or cyberbullying, or that the images will be misused by others with the consequent impact on self-esteem, reputation and social relationships. "Therefore," says Silvia Martínez, "consent or authorization to upload photographs of third parties to social networks should always be requested, and this should also apply to parents when they want to publish images of their children. Even if they are holders of parental rights or guardianship and have the power to decide, asking the child before publishing his photograph will allow them to intervene in the digital identity that he or she may be building. "
Law in Spain
The legislation advances in terms of protection of the so-called right to be forgotten. Thus, Organic Law 3/2018, of December 5, on the protection of personal data and guarantee of digital rights includes a specific mention to the exercise of that right when third parties have uploaded information regarding minors in social networks.
Article 94 (3) on the right to be forgotten in social media services and equivalent services includes the following: "In case the right was exercised by an affected party regarding data that had been provided to the service, by him or by third parties , during his minority of age, the provider must proceed without delay to his suppression by his simple request ", and this without the need for other circumstances such as those mentioned in other cases contemplated in that same article.
Obviously, before using the law, "it is especially important to promote an education that facilitates a conscious and responsible use of communication spaces such as social media. This implies having greater knowledge and, above all, understanding the conditions of use and privacy policies presented by these platforms, but also to deepen the scope of the information that is published and the potential risks that may arise from the use made by other users of it, "concludes Silvia Martínez.
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