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Student says parents should get OK to post about them

By ZHOU WENTING | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-22 08:14

Zhang Chuyi, an 11-year-old girl from Shanghai, has drawn a lot of attention with her suggestion for parents: Please get your children's permission before posting anything about them on social media.

She said many of her peers actually prefer that their parents not share any information at all.

In research she did for the proposal, to be presented at a convention on June 1, Children's Day, Zhang found that most of her peers dislike posts by parents showing off moments such as their children's admission to prestigious schools or going abroad for summer camps.

"Such comparisons usually lead to parental dissatisfaction and anxiety, and then they put more pressure on their children," said Zhang, a student at Qiangwei Primary School.

Zhou Yanli, the mother of a first-grader in Shanghai, said, "Parents' good will in sharing their children's happiness and success with others is understandable." But she admitted that viewing her friends' posts about their children does sometimes increase her sense of anxiety.

"Some friends show their children every day in videos or animations, touting such things as their progress with English-learning apps or family vacations overseas during holidays, which makes us feel pressure," Zhou said.

She said children should have a right to make decisions about themselves, and getting permission shows respect for a child's privacy.

Zhou said she began to ask her daughter for permission before posting pictures when she was in primary school. "If she doesn't nod, I won't post it," she said.

You Lina, who is responsible for cases involving juveniles at Shanghai's Changning district procuratorate, said adults and children usually hold very different views on the matter.

"What the parents post about their children that they believe is funny may embarrass the kids and even make them lose face in front of teachers or classmates, who usually access those posts," You said. "Very often, children believe that what they do at home is private and they don't want it to be shown to others."

Legally speaking, children have a right to images of themselves, and custodians may not use images against a child's will, You said.

She suggested parents think twice before sharing their children's information on social media.

"Although parents don't post their pictures for profit, they can't control the speed that such images will spread in the age of new media and can't imagine how far they can go."

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