What happened to the children's right to privacy?

Think about the children's right to privacy
Think before you share. (Photo: Pixabay)
Forfatter: Leah Plunkett
Forlag: The MIT Press (USA)
"SHARE THINGS" / : Parents share a snapshot of photos and information about their children in social media without considering the long-term consequences, and without the children's consent.


In Article 16 on the right to privacy i UN Convention on the Convention states: «All children have the right to a privacy. The law must protect the child's privacy in the family and protect the child from illegal attacks against his honor or reputation.»

Norway acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, and since 2003 it applies as Norwegian law. The convention goes, too in front of other Norwegian laws if they conflict with each other. This means that all Norwegian authorities, individuals and organizations are required to comply with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Still, Article 16 is broken by parents on social media every single day, with no consequences for the parents. It is their children who go above and beyond. The worldwide and ever-growing phenomenon is called "sharenting".

According to UNICEF Norway Stop SharentingDecember 2019 campaign has a child of 12 years today an average of 1165 photos of themselves in social media, shared by parents.

Sharenthood by law professor and parent Leah A. Plunkett is about why parents should think before talking about their children in social media. The book is a thought for me as a first-time parent and moderately active user of social media. After reading the book, it made me decide to completely refrain from sharenting.

But how can all parents around the world bond with them for the sake of their children's privacy? Plunkett writes: “We want our kids to grow up finding treasure within themselves rather than being mined as part of the adult world's digital gold rush. How can we get them there? ”

Pictures of the children can be abused

Share a photo of your child of Internet, you run the risk of being abused. Studies have been done that give reason to believe that by 2030 sharenting will be the cause of almost two thirds of all identity thefts.

Photo: Pixabay

Share Things builds the child's digital archive. Several years in the future, whether in professional or social contexts, these posts can be abused and hurt the child – who at that time has grown up. In addition, the child's exposed existence online can affect its self-esteem and ability to develop its own indentity through childhood.

Still publishing millions of influencers more pictures of their kids on social media in a day, preferably to make money. "Commercial sharenting" is the term Plunkett uses about parents who eagerly share their private experiences with the children to make money.

As parents, we can be good role models for the children and share our digital experiences with them.

The Kardashian family is a good example of commercial sharenting. They follow the recipe: The more children, the more status and fame, which in turn means more money. Their children are permanently exposed to the public, from birth until they grow old enough to decide whether they want to continue or close the exhibition that was started and run by mom and dad. But then the damage has already happened.

Involuntary exposure

Sharenting exposes children without their consent. Parents deprive them of the choice to never be on social media in the first place. But, as Plunkett writes, sharenting is almost inevitable, for the Internet culture almost encourages parents to do so. It is almost completely compulsory to be digital, in both professional and social contexts. Therefore, parents share raw images and information without considering the long-term consequences. Plunkett writes: "Are we 'sharent-trapped' and stuck in our routine by forces outside ourselves?"

I can subscribe to the theory of this trap, as I have gone into it myself. In my sharenting past, it was about confirmation. I saw that all other parents, distant and near, were showing off their kids on social media, which made me feel compelled to show off my own child. They are called influencers for a reason; I was simply influenced by them. It started with an innocent image, then one more, and another, and so the ball rolled on.

Nice comments and heart emojis from all over the world made me suddenly feel very loved and not so lonely in my grandmother's life.

Valuable arena

Social media can be a valuable arena for networking and exchanging information with other parents. On Facebook, there are several closed groups where you can share your own experiences and learn from other parents in the same situation as you, whether your child is suffering from a rare disease, or whether it is about more practical issues such as which environmentally friendly shampoo the child should use.

By 2030, sharenting will be the cause of nearly two-thirds of all identity theft.

As a parent, you cannot isolate your child from the digital world. Digital technology has already changed the world and childhood of our children. Sooner or later the child will even have a profile on social media. As parents, we can be good role models for the children and share our digital experiences with them. This book gives no recipe for how this can be done. It works more like a conversation-

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