My grandma got her first android device almost two years ago, and she still comes to me with queries on how to share, like or comment on pictures. With the lessons on various buttons and subsequent actions, I keep telling her to be extremely cautious with what she shares and says on any digital platform because it is going to stay there forever. I’ve seen people her age posting pictures of their grandchildren. Is it fair to post the pictures of minors on the internet? Especially if they have asked you not to do just that? Are the grandparents being negligent towards their privacy by doing so?
Recently a Dutch court ruled against a grandmom who had put her grandchild’s picture on social media without seeking permission from her daughter. The daughter was nudging her to take off the picture from Facebook and Pinterest but in vain. The family dispute was thus resolved in a court. As per reports, she has been ordered to take the pictures off otherwise she’ll have to pay a fine.
Recently a Dutch court ruled against a grandmom who had put her grandchild’s picture on social media without seeking permission from her daughter.
The pages we access through swipes and scrolls are a part of the web of information. Once posted on the timeline, the content can be exploited in unimaginable ways. Anyone with a little knowledge of social media can easily get location details, user credentials and any other relevant detail that might be used to ridicule the picture or whoever is associated with the post. Hackers are everywhere and a post with no wrong intentions may result in something as serious as identity theft or fraud. A BBC report from 2016 suggests that fraudsters are increasingly getting people’s personal information from social media sites.
Given the vulnerability of pictures shared online, grandparents need to discuss the digital boundaries with their children and grandchildren.
While people may argue with the presence of privacy settings on social media accounts, private might not always be private. In December last year, 267 million users were left exposed on a database online, as per a report in India Today. This database could be accessed by anyone on the web without a password or any form of authentication and hence, it could be used for SMS spams and phishing attacks.
Since our grandparents are less aware of the technicalities that govern the complex web that the Internet is, they need to be educated about cyber safety. This is especially important when the kids in questions are minors.
Given the vulnerability of pictures shared online, grandparents need to discuss the digital boundaries of their grandkids with them and their parents. However, the issue here isn’t just privacy but that of children’s agency. While this concept may not sit well with a lot of grown-ups, children do have a right to have a say in how, where and when their pictures get shared. Do you like it when a friend posts a picture on social media that covers you from an unflattering angle? No one does.
The social media savvy generation has a very clear idea of what image they want of themselves to find its way to the digital world. To share their images without their consent could set a wrong precedent and also put across the message that their views re not valuable to you. It could affect their self-confidence.
I think children themselves can help their grandparents understand this. Just as we teach them how to share and like stuff on social media, can we also not spare some time to discuss digital privacy with them? If done correctly, I don’t see any reason why a grandparent would not understand and respect our wishes.
Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.