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5/15/16blog post

do your children have a right to privacy?

We often agonize about the technology expectations we have for our kids, but what rules do our children want for us?

When kids between the ages of 10 to 17 were asked that question, their highest priority was that we “be present” when we are with them. Children wanted a rule that there would be “no technology at all in a certain social contact: Pay attention/put down the phone when your child is trying to tell you something important” according to research just published by Alexis Hinker and associates.

Female Home Tutor Helping Girl With Studies Using Laptop

The second most important rule from our kids was that we “Don’t post anything about me without asking me.” “Twice as many children as parents expressed concerns about family members oversharing personal information about them on Facebook and other social media without permission,” said co-author Sarita Schoenebeck.

Do children have a right to privacy?

A California law went into effect in 2015 that gives minors an electronic eraser button. They can delete any post made on social media, and sites like Facebook must clearly inform kids how that can be done. However, this only applies to what is posted by kids, not what adults post about their children.

Should you seek your child’s permission before posting pictures of family gatherings or sporting events? A picture that may appear humorous or harmless to you may be perceived otherwise by your children.

The digital universe is saturated with pictures of kids at bath time, having tantrums, or doing silly things. Might a picture that seems humorous to you today be viewed as humiliating when your toddler becomes a teen? At that point, will anyone really care?

The 10 to 17 year olds who were questioned in this survey felt they had a right to control their own digital footprint. Should these wishes be respected, or dismissed as the simply the oversensitivity of teenagers?

As with most things in life, I’d avoid either extreme. I’m not going to ask my teenager for her permission before posting a picture of us at family gatherings. However, I’d be very careful of the following.

  • Pictures that may be humorous to you, but embarrassing to your children. Our kids shouldn’t have to suffer for your amusement.
  • Raising kids is difficult, and social media is a great place for venting those frustrations and obtaining support from. Never disclose any information that identifies your child in those situations.

The best way to deal with this is to involve your children in this discussion. It will increase their compliance with your rules, and help you better understand how to become a responsible digital parent.