Running through the sprinkler in the nude, first trip to the potty, reluctantly dressed as a carrot for a school play. Another day, another embarrassing childhood picture posted to social media. Obviously children can’t give their consent to Mom and Dad sharing images they’d really rather forget, but what happens when they grow up?
Oversharing parents, beware: An 18-year-old from Austria is actually suing her parents for posting embarrassing and revealing photos of her on Facebook for the past seven years.
As reported by The Local, the anonymous young woman’s lawyer, Michael Rami, claims her parents have nonconsensually shared around 500 images to their 700 Facebook friends of their daughter doing everything from getting her diaper changed to potty training.
Rami said he was seeking financial compensation for his client as well as a court order for her parents to take the pictures down.
He believes if he can prove the photos have “violated her rights to a personal life,” she could win the case, which is scheduled for November.
“They knew no shame and no limit and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot — every stage was photographed and then made public,” the young woman told The Local.
After her parents denied her request to delete the images, she decided to take things further and sue them. “I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents,” she said.
Her dad argues that since he took the photos, he owns them and has the right to use them publicly.
The law on posting images of children on social media varies widely across Europe. In France, which has the strictest controls, anyone who posts a photograph of someone without their consent can face a fine of up to €45,000 (around $50,000). This would apply to parents publishing images of their children too.
In the U.K., a recent survey by Nominet found that the average parent will have posted 1,498 pictures of their children on social media by the time the child turns 5.
The same survey also revealed that 85 percent of parents had not reviewed their Facebook privacy settings in more than a year, and 79 percent wrongly believed strangers could not see pictures of their children.
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO and founder of the Parent Zone, commissioned by Nominet to conduct the study, said, “As this research shows, getting to grips with the privacy settings of our favorite social networking sites isn’t easy, but parents could cause future embarrassment for their children — or worse — if they don’t take care. With children growing up in an increasingly digital world, we need to ensure we are one step ahead of possible risks and dangers and have a good understanding of how to avoid them.”