Here’s why you shouldn’t expose your children to social media

More than half (53%) of French parents have already disseminated content about their child and 91% of them started it between birth and age 5, indicates a study by the Observatory of Parenting and Digital Education (Open) published in February 2023. Problem: these snapshots of family life are stored for life on the servers of multinationals, with the risk of being misused. First of all, because of the brands, which can use the image of our children for advertising purposes.

A dependence on others

In a highly digitalized society, children’s privacy is increasingly threatened. Among parents who publish content about their children, 3% are influencers who benefit from this activity, reports Open. At the opening of her documentary Children under the influence: overexposed in the name of Like, broadcast on France 5, director Elisa Jadot gives the floor to Cam, a 24-year-old American whose mother revealed her intimacy on the Internet while she was just a child: “I became paranoid,” she confesses. I always feel like people are following me. All the moments spent with her were organized to be published on Facebook. »

Cam is far from an isolated case. “The magnitude of this malaise, which has not yet been the subject of longitudinal studies, can be compared to the well-documented “child star syndrome,” underlines Justine Atlan, director of the e-Enfance* association. Exposed very early to fame, the child becomes dependent on the gaze of others, who give him value. He fails to build a self-esteem strong enough to withstand, as he grows, the vicissitudes of life. » According to a study published by Microsoft in 2019, four out of ten teenagers consider that their parents expose them too much on the Internet. It’s violent to discover, a decade later, in the pot! Some parents go even further and post jokes, bad jokes that consist of ridiculing their children to make their community laugh (sprinkling them with ketchup, for example).

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The correct reflection: favor private messaging to send personal photos

An educational approach

To counteract all these excesses, Bruno Studer, deputy for the Lower Rhine, worked on a bill “aimed at guaranteeing respect for the image rights of children”, which has just been promulgated. It specifies, in particular, that the exercise of the right to the image of the minor is exercised jointly by the two parents and gives the possibility to a judge, in case of an attack on the child’s dignity and of disagreement between the holders of the parental right. authority, to delegate it to a third party. What if we acted responsibly on social media to avoid reaching this point?

“The approach is educational,” believes Justine Atlan, who participated in the drafting of this bill. If parents don’t set an example, how can they demand that their teen moderate their use of social media and stop taking photos or videos all the time? » The right reflections? “Prioritize private messages or emails to send photos of your children to your inner circle,” recommends Laura Morin, national director of L’Enfant bleu, an association that fights against abuse and explains, on its site, how to protect the accounts, network by network. . You should also not tag photos of your children and favor those taken from afar, from behind, in a group. Or put emojis on faces. » They’ll thank you later!

Also discover: 67% of children between 8 and 10 years old have a social media account, a figure that has more than doubled in one year

Let’s not feed the dark web…

Half of the photographs exchanged on child pornography forums were initially published by parents on their social networks*. “They feed a real market on the dark web,” alarms Laura Morin.

* 3018, a free and anonymous number, can be accessed by phone 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., by chat on and via Messenger.

*Reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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