18 AUG 2017

Report calls for young children to have an independent right to privacy

Report calls for young children to have an independent right to privacy
The rise of ‘sharenting’, YouTube families and ‘science entertainment’ television programmes adversely affects the privacy of children, according to a new report.

The University of Winchester report, Have ‘Generation Tagged’ lost their privacy?, calls for young children to have an independent right to privacy, separate from whatever their parents think about their own privacy. It urges social media and internet companies to consider young children’s privacy and best interests in their operations. Article continues below...
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The report recommends that there be a limit to the re-contextualising of images and information about young children, enforced by new image matching and tracking technologies. A further recommendation is the introduction of a Children’s Digital Ombudsman who could provide a way for children’s interests to be better represented in respect of all forms of digital publication.

Marion Oswald, Head of the Centre for Information Rights at the University of Winchester and one of the report's authors, said:

‘As a society, we’re exposing ever younger children more and more in broadcast media and on the internet, by filming them for “science entertainment” programmes and by “sharenting” on social media sites.

Young people may therefore grow up in a world which already knows a lot about them that they have not chosen to share. A child may grow to regret their exposure in the media. We shouldn’t put all our eggs in the basket of the so-called “right to be forgotten”. By the time a child is older, it may be too late.’

The government recently announced a new Data Protection Bill that will give people the right to force social media companies to delete their personal data (the right to be forgotten).
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