Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

'Sharenting' isn't just a private affair

By XIE CAIFENG (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-05 08:13

'Sharenting' isn't just a private affair

A recent piece of news has taken us by surprise. The French National Gendarmerie has warned that parents could face jail or hefty fines if they post their children's photographs on Facebook.

According to French privacy law, parents who post their children's photos on Facebook without consent could be jailed or fined, or even be sued by their children when they grow up if their offspring feel their parents infringed on their right to privacy.

In China, the privacy right is prescribed in Article 2 of the Tort Law as a separate civil right. Anyone who infringes on another person's privacy rights is subject to legal liability, including a parent violating his/her children's rights.

Legally speaking, minors because of their age are unable to give consent for many things, and their rights are generally entrusted to their parents or custodians. And ethically speaking, parents never mean to harm their children so punishing them for their innocent behaviors could be considered a harsh step.

But a worrisome fact is that many parents love posting their children's photos online. In fact, a new term, "over-sharenting" or "sharenting" (a combination of sharing and parenting), was coined in 2013 to refer to parents who frequently update their children's photos on SNS portals. In China, such parents are called "crazy demons".

So let's do a SWOT analysis to have a better understanding of the issue.

Strengths: One, it helps create and maintain the emotional bonds with friends and relatives. Two, it helps parents keep record of every important stage of their children's development.

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