France's National Assembly has adopted a measure that, if ratified by the Senate and signed off by the President, will give courts the power to forbid parents from publishing pictures of their children on the internet.
This has proven to be a contentious topic since it takes away the decision-making rights of parents and entrusts them to the government. However, backers think it is justified by several sound arguments.
The bill proposed by Member of Parliament Bruno Studer is meant to ensure that minors are not exposed to exploitation by unscrupulous individuals. Studer declared, “On average, a 13-year-old child has 1,300 images of themselves circulating on the internet. These photos can be misused for child pornography or can lead to harassment at school.”
As reported by Le Monde, 50% of all images of children on child pornography forums initially shared by the child's parents. The bill seeks to give both parents the entitlement to their child's image, so that if one parent feels the other is posting unsuitable images, they have the power to stop it.
Struder went on to state, "The first two articles strive to make protection of privacy a responsibility of parents as holders of parental authority, for which they must of course involve the child.
In the most serious cases, it is provided that the family judge may, if necessary, make a forced partial delegation of parental authority for the particular case of an exercise of image rights."Those who are against the bill argue that it is a threat to parents'rights.
On the other hand, should a child not have the right to decide how their image is employed, especially in a world where photos could exist online for the foreseeable future? As the adage goes, once something is on the internet, it is there forever, and photos taken of a person as a child could haunt them into adulthood.
Moreover, as the offspring of influencer families enter adulthood, we start to see the consequences of this lifestyle on youth. Shouldn't these youths be shielded from being taken advantage of by their guardians? We regularly discuss image rights but not the respect of minors.
The dialogue is intriguing as it involves three key participants—parents, their children and the government, mandated to safeguard kids' rights. Despite the eventual decision, this debate should serve as a reminder to consider this pressing subject and to motivate parents to contemplate twice before publishing pictures of their kids on the web.