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  • Writer's pictureArya

Consent of Children on Social media - The Rise family channels

“Hey, buddy, is posting your birthday photos online okay?”

To many parents, there is an easy answer - “Well, it's my child, and I just want to post their milestones and funny incidents of them online to share them with friends and family.” Although your intention might be pure, the outcome most certainly isn’t.

Consent is a pivotal part of our society and keeps our community safe and comfortable. When I was young, my parents quickly taught me about ‘bad touch and good touch’. It was one of my first lessons on consent and the most impressionable. The simple “Ask before you do” was enough for my little mind to feel comfortable in my skin and have the freedom of individuality even though I was 5!

As parents, do you ask your children before posting photos of them online?

Parents need to understand that once something goes on the internet, even if you change your mind and delete the content, it still wanders in the loopholes of the internet. It is, and it is fully erased. Those images of your newborn in their nappies and their little accidents will live on forever in the vast black hole of the internet. When parents and caregivers post their children's milestones and funny videos on the internet, they must be aware that they are not always used for the right reasons. An article by Stephanie Sokol suggests the implications of child images online. She questions parents on consent and how their children would feel when their funny moments are exposed and put into the internet to entertain family and friends. She suggested that as children grow up and find these contents of their childhood, it can prompt them to lose trust in their parents and grow up fearing being judged. Even if you, as a parent, trust that you are posting on a private account, these videos can be captured through screen sharing and screenshots and shared with many people. Parents must understand that little children cannot consent, and given their nativity and inability to consent, parents must respect their privacy and refrain from posting content that can shame their children.

A new trend for parents on YouTube and TikTok is to start family channels. As a child, I watched many family channels do their pranks, funny videos, and family activities with their children. Family channels are nothing without their children, and the children are the main attraction. But there are some instances where these videos of your children for the entertainment of others go too far. In 2017, Mike Martin, the owner of the Youtube Channel DaddyOFive, was involved in a huge controversy where he used his children as ‘props’ as he pushed them to their limits, and exhibited abusive behavior to make some money from Youtube's monetisation schemes. The videos depicted pranks where his oldest child used to pass abusive and uncomfortable comments to the younger ones, to which they would respond with tears and postures of discomfort. What did these children do to lose their privacy at such a young age? Their parents want to make money off their children's lives, ruin their self-image and cause permanent trust issues to their caregivers. Later Martin lost custody of two of his children.

But this is not the only case. There has been a rise of parents on TikTok who express their concern about children’s videos that are going viral on the platform. There has been an unhealthy number of saves, likes, and downloads of babies doing the most normal things - curling their toes, yawning, sneezing. Why are hundreds and thousands of people saving these videos? How do you, as a parent know what people on the internet use it for? A content creator on TikTok who goes by “World Shaker” shares his experience with posting children online. Being a dad himself, he seems visibly distressed as he explains that he saw a video where a dad ‘pats the bottom of his bare child.’ He states that the video had its comments disabled and 900 saves. This is disgusting. I am distressed by just thinking of the predators online and how they use such content, displayed FREELY by parents who think this is entertainment. Tampering with the little child's privacy as they are exposed to the public eye.

To all the parents who post their children online, my humble request is - Don’t.

I understand that sometimes they are too cute not to show, and even then try to cover their bodies and faces. The internet is a vast and uncontrollable domain, even if you think what you post is innocent. Trust me; there are people online who will use it in an unimaginably sickening way. Do your child a favour and respect their privacy, as you would like yours respected.

Written by Arya - 18yrs.


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