Sharenting: balancing the conflicting rights of parents and children

Bessant, Claire (2018) Sharenting: balancing the conflicting rights of parents and children. Communications Law, 23 (1). pp. 7-24. ISSN 1746-7616

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Many parents share information about their children online. It is reported that in the United States 92% of children have an online presence due to their parents’ disclosures by the age of two years old. Although in the United Kingdom far fewer parents admit to sharing their children’s information online, many parents will post hundreds of photographs of their children before they reach their fifth birthday. So many parents now share information about their children online that a new term, ‘sharenting,’ has emerged to describe the phenomenon. ‘Sharenting’ here means the ‘habitual use of social media to share news, images, etc of one’s children’.

Parents are often considered the ‘guardians,’ or ‘gatekeepers’ of their children’s personal information. Their role in providing consent to use their children’s information is recognised in European Union legislation and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR). The English judiciary also seemingly acknowledge that parents are the best people to decide whether a child’s information is shared. In the sharenting context, however, a conflict of interests exists between parents and their children. This conflict was clearly highlighted in 2016 when media reports suggested an eighteen-year-old Austrian girl was suing her parents for posting embarrassing childhood photos on Facebook. Whilst that story has since been denounced as untrue, it nonetheless raises an interesting question: Could a child successfully sue their parents for sharenting? In attempting to answer that question this article analyses the remedies in English law that a child might use to prevent sharenting and to secure the removal of sharented information.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M200 Law by Topic
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
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Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 11:28
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 16:31

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