Parenting in the digital age: Sharing personal information on social networks and its impact on children’s privacy and image rights
Maryse Guénette, Research and Presentation Lead
Josiane Fréchette, Project Leader
This research project addresses a new phenomenon that has emerged with the arrival of social media: sharenting. It involves parents posting a wide range of personal information about their children on social networks, such as photos, videos or comments.
Option Consommateurs’ research finds that this practice exposes children to many risks, including the theft of their personal information by malicious third parties or the future use of this data by companies. As for the policies on the use and confidentiality of social networks, they offer little recourse to children whose parents have invaded their privacy.
In focus groups conducted as part of this project, parents and young adults reported advocating for parental transparency and respect for the child’s wishes. Although they say they are aware of the risks associated with sharenting, parents think that what they publish cannot be harmful to their children and feel protected by the privacy settings of social networks.
The Canadian legal framework seems to be poorly adapted to the realities of sharenting. Although children have a right to privacy, it is parents who exercise their rights on their behalf and give the consent required by law. In the case of malicious third parties, the law offers certain protections; however, applying these provisions in the virtual context can be complex.
In this context, Option Consommateurs finds that educating parents about the consequences of sharing children’s personal information online is the most promising approach to preventing harm to the child.
Project deliverables are available in the following language(s):
OPC Funded Project
This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.
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