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Dealing with photos of school children on the web

3 minutes reading time
6-13 years
Social Media
© photothek.net

It is exciting and beautiful to follow how your own child grows and develops. Thanks to smartphones, growing up can be permanently documented and shared with others. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind for the sake of your child. Answering the following questions will help you decide how to handle photos of your school-aged child.

How do I want my child to be portrayed in public?

Your child is probably used to being photographed from an early age. Maybe it likes it, but maybe not always and not in every situation. Be mindful of when and how you photograph your child, especially if you want to share the photo with others. When it comes to forwarding a photo, your child should also be okay with it. Think about whether you would have wanted certain photos of you as a child to circulate on the web.

Children should always be seen clothed in photos and not in a ridiculous or even embarrassing situation. If other children are visible in the photo, you must obtain their parents’ consent.

Consider whether it is always necessary to see your child’s face. We’ve put together some tips on how to take creative photos of children without being completely obvious about the child.

Can I alone decide how my child is portrayed on the web?

Children also have rights. They can and should have a say when it comes to themselves and their well-being. Photos on the web can violate children’s privacy. As a school child, your son or daughter is old enough to understand what it means when photos are shared on the Internet. Talk to him or her about it and don’t decide over his or her head. You should not publish a photo of your child without his or her consent!

If your child later takes and shares photos on their smartphone, they should know what the consequences can be. Educate your child in good time and, as a role model, handle the dissemination of photos sensitively yourself.

How can photos of my child be distributed?

On the one hand, there is the question of the channel through which children’s photos can be shared and what permissions other people have to see these photos. There are platforms where children’s photos are collected from Facebook profiles, for example, and made available to others. Strangers can then use these photos for their own purposes – in the worst case, they are pedophiles.

The more people who can see your child’s photos, e.g. via the status function on WhatsApp, the more likely it is that they can simply be copied and forwarded and thus fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, use the privacy settings on the smartphone and in the respective app so that only a restricted circle can see the photos.

On the other hand, make absolutely sure that children’s photos are not published in combination with other information such as full name, place of residence etc. With the first photo on the web, your child gets a digital identity that becomes more and more pronounced over the years. Your child can’t undo that later.

How do I want others to treat photos of my child?

If grandma and grandpa don’t live nearby, it’s nice for them to still get to see their grandchild grow up. It’s easy to do that with a photo via WhatsApp and the like. Nevertheless, you should agree on rules with family and friends when sharing photos via smartphone. You may consider settling on a messenger like Signal, where photos are not automatically saved to the recipient phone’s photo gallery. You may also agree not to share photos that show your child’s face at all, but only to show them in person.

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