Children should have their own right to online privacy academics have claimed.
In a new report from the University of Winchester, researchers suggest that children’s online privacy rights should be distinct from those of their parents and any decisions they may make about publishing photos and videos of them on social media and video sharing sites, a practice nicknamed ‘sharenting’. Facebook and other internet companies must properly consider the rights and best interests of children they insist. Meanwhile, they suggest, the government should establish a Children’s Digital Ombudsman to protect the interests of children in relation to material posted online.
Report co-author Marion Oswald is Head of the University’s Centre for Information Rights. She explained:
“As a society, we’re exposing ever younger children more and more in broadcast media and on the internet, by filming them …and by “sharenting” on social media sites. Young people may therefore grow up in a world which already knows a lot about them that they have not chosen to share. A child may grow to regret their exposure in the media.”
Referring to the ‘right to be forgotten’ imposed on a reluctant Google by the EU, she noted that by the time the children in question are adults and able to exercise their rights, “it may be too late”.
Publication of the report follows the recent announcement of a Data Protection Bill which allow people to people to request the deletion of data held by social media companies, including posts they have made while still children.
Read Have ‘Generation Tagged’ lost their privacy? here.