Battle Between Parents Liberty to Post and A Child’s Right to Privacy (Sharenting)

Fadzai Fallon Tomfanet

Sharenting is defined as the sharing of too much information by parents of their children on social media platforms (Urban Dictionary). Social media platforms include: Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram etc. Child rights are human rights that are preciously modified to the child as they take into consideration the child’s delicacy and age appropriate needs. It is everyone’s obligation to safeguard, respect and realise all child rights are realised. This is of paramount importance in advancing child’s right to privacy, respect and self-expression in this digital era. There are legal international, regional and local frameworks that have been put in place to protect the children’s rights world-wide. These include United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. in addition, each country has context specific legal local frameworks that protect the rights and welfare of children.

There are many detriments that come along with sharenting in this high-tech world. These encompass cyberbullying, theft of identity, humiliation that comes from baby photographs, future discrimination, attracting sexual predators, mental and emotional harm due to old posts circulated that will never be reversed, abduction and mugging as a result of location sharing. Furthermore, a child’s sense of privacy can be taken away consequently leading a child to post pictures and videos of him/herself naked.

It is crucial that parents should give more thought to what they post on the internet about their children and remove needless coats of information. They should be open to their family, friends and their children’s caregivers about what to post when their children are involved. In addition, consultation must be done with children before parents share information on social media, this will increase their children’s sense of autonomy and enlightens them on what’s private and what’s public. Parents should also note that, information shared on social media will never disappear as the digital footprint remains forever.

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect those of RNCYPT, board of trustees, or the organization to which the authors are affiliated.

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