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Posting photos of children on the internet – how to do it, what to watch out for?

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Experts and representatives of state organizations warn against irresponsible publishing of children's photos on the internet. Hate speech, cyberbullying, digital identity theft and paedophilia are just some of the threats. The website of the Office for Personal Data Protection has a guide on how to avoid it. Material from the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

You want to immortalize the child's moments of joy, but should you do it on the Internet? – It can end with everything. We may think that it's just one photo, but it can end with a crisis, very serious mood disorders in a given person, especially a young one – warns Błażej Kmieciak, a member of the state commission for paedophilia.

– If the photo reveals, for example, some particularly important, not only intimate, elements of a given person's life, it may end in a breakdown, including suicide attempts – he adds.

These are the lesser-known, dark sides of publishing photos of children. When asked how to properly publish photos of children, Monika Rosa, chairwoman of the parliamentary group for children's rights, replies: it is best to do it rarely.

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– We publish 500 million photos on the internet and in various media every day. Some of these photos are photos of our children. They are not only accessible to our friends and family, but basically the entire world, and we might not like the use of these photos – he points out.

READ ALSO: Children on the net. A safe child is one who is aware that he does not know everything yet

Experts warn against irresponsible posting of photos of children

Karolina Bućko, chairwoman of the state commission for paedophilia, draws attention to the report, which “clearly indicates the Internet as the first place where crimes related to the sexual abuse of children occur”. – I think that this argument should work on the imagination of parents, but also educational institutions – she adds.

Nearly half of teenagers say that their guardians make their image public, and one in four feel embarrassed or ashamed because of it.

Experts warn against posting photos of children on the internetDavid Pereiras/Shutterstock

– Later, it can also be an element of ridiculing a child – says Deputy Minister of National Education Katarzyna Lubnauer. – A photo of a cute-looking two-year-old on a potty, which we showed to grandparents, is okay. However, when 13 years later this photo, which has appeared on the Internet, is used by colleagues to ridicule the young person, it can be the cause of a tragedy – she emphasizes.

More than three quarters of children under two years of age already have their photos online. – We often do not realize that when we show off our holiday photos, we are actually posting a photo of a child who is not wearing a bra or is in tiny panties. The second type of photos related to intimate situations is when a child is sleeping or eating – lists the president of the Dbam o Mój Z@sięg Foundation, Dr. Maciej Dębski.

A Guide to Avoiding Hate, Cyberbullying and Digital Identity Theft

Experts point out that new technologies change what happens to a photo. – A dozen or so years ago, there was no way to properly retouch a photo or make changes, and today, technologies allow for indistinguishable copying of a given person in a photo, or even generating a non-existent person – says Katarzyna Staciwa, an expert from the state research institute NASK.

Hate, cyberbullying, digital identity theft and pedophilia are just some of the threats. A guide on how to avoid them is available on the website of the Office for Personal Data Protection.

– The first issue is to consider whether to publish the photo at all – emphasizes the president of the Personal Data Protection Office, Mirosław Wróblewski. – The guide contains a set of questions, whether it is worth doing it at all, whether it is absolutely necessary, or whether we should keep the photo for ourselves in our family archives? All the more so, such an obligation rests on schools and other institutions caring for children – he explains.

The question is who is watching the profile, whether there is consent to publish, but also how the child will feel in the future? You can also publish in such a way that the child is not recognizable. – Think about whose need you are fulfilling? Is it the need of the child, or the parent who wants to boast about the child's achievements, or a matter of promoting the school? – says Maciej Dębski.

Author:Aleksandra Kakol

Main image source: David Pereiras/Shutterstock



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