A reminder for parents and families regarding the law and social media
Cyber Safety sessions are often structured around how you can help your child, and what a child should not be doing on social media. However, this is about you.
Sharing photos or video content filmed onsite at school or a school event on social media may cause serious privacy issues for other students.
Parents and third-party contractors are not authorised to use such images unless specific permissions are signed by the parents of each child appearing on that party’s social media accounts.
Allowing third parties to use images of children to promote their business on social media is rarely included in media release documentation provided to parents and signed each year (or in some cases only when first enrolled).
This is not the decision of the school to say it is ok unless parents have signed off on what is advertising using their child’s image. This may become a duty of care issue for a school.
In the eyes of the law, a school is considered a private place, and the Principal is regarded as the manager of that private place. When a media release document is signed, and in place, Students, Parents, and Third-Party contractors need the express permission of a Principal before publishing any photos taken onsite at the school, or just outside the school, in uniform, on excursions, etc. This includes posting on social media and why there is “no publish” lists in most schools.
Students also need to be continuously reminded that taking photos of their friends at school and posting them to Snapchat, Instagram etc. is publishing without the consent and can cause issues from a duty of care perspective if the photo is taken wearing school uniform, onsite at the school, tagged into the school or on an excursion. Students often do not understand the importance of privacy as in many cases; they have never had it with everything since their first ultrasound photo published on social media by their parents.
We were recently made aware of a case where a child who was relocated with their family in a witness protection program was photographed at their new school by a parent during assembly and published on a community social media page. Custody issues, DV, etc. also need to be considered.
Most schools are fine with you taking photos up close of your child only, but please be aware that you do not know what is happening in the lives of the children in the background.