Social media has created some questions many people never really thought to ask before. One example of this has to do with pictures of minors.
While pictures of minors are posted all the time on various social media channels, some people can’t help wondering about the legality of doing so if they don’t have the parent’s consent.
First, if you are at all worried that posting that picture of a cute baby in the park or the young baseball star who is participating in a local ball game is legal, you should talk to the parents. You’ll feel better.
Even if you don’t talk to the parents, the law states that if a person is in a public place, they can’t expect full privacy. This means that to a certain extent you are legally allowed to post pictures of kids at sporting events, horse shows, and in the park. Where it gets confusing is that you can’t necessarily give the child’s identity away, you can’t be taking the photos in a way that makes the parents or child uncomfortable, and you can’t appear to be harassing or stalking the child.
What you’re not allowed to do is post a picture of a child who had a reasonable expectation of privacy without the parent’s consent. So while taking a picture of a child standing in front of an ice cream store is legal, taking a snapshot of a child playing in a fenced backyard would be viewed as suspicious activity and an invasion of privacy.
What you do want to be mindful of is providing identification information about the child in question. For example, if you’re taking a photo of your child and their best friend as they are playing with your dog, you want to check with the parents of your child’s friend before you attach their name to the image you post on social media.
You also want to be very mindful of how you are using the images. You could run into trouble if you use the image of a minor for advertising purposes. If you do want to use the image to promote a photography business, child’s fashion line, a daycare center, or something else, you really should get the parent’s permission. It’s also a good idea to research child exploitation and employment laws to make sure you haven’t inadvertently violated the law.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to posting pictures of children on social media is that there is nothing in the image that could in any way be considered pornographic or sexual in nature. Posting a single image that is flagged, could result in you facing serious charges including child pornography.