Tuesday 15 May 2018

Violation of rights of the child to privacy: Consent forms

Every single activity a child participates in requires a waiver. From field trips to summer camps the exclusion of responsibility is endless. What is also included in these waivers more often then not is a request for consent to use images and videos for promotional materials and social media.

Is it possible to provide informed consent? Do parents know what they are agreeing to when they allow the use of images of their children? Maybe it's fun to see your child on a pamphlet or flashed across a screen having the time of their life at a club. Is there any harm in that?

Give your child the freedom to develop their own personality, their own rights to their body, their own experience interacting with the larger world, their own privacy, by NOT agreeing to use photos and video on social media. By saying no to photos and videos posted on line, in print, in any electronic form you respect your child's autonomy.

Have the organization, school, and summer camp move from everything being about performance to actually experiencing the activity in a more real way, without the video cameras rolling. I love seeing photos and videos, but they do not need to be shared with the world.

The most absurd consent for photo use I stumbled upon this week was at a child's dentist office. I could not believe their explicit request to use photos and videos, including biographical information and the voices of kids in the dentist chair. Their waiver form included removing them from all liability claims resulting in misuse of these photos once posted on-line, in their promotional materials and at events where they might showcase their patients. What a violation of the rights of the child to privacy.

We have sunk very low when a dentist wants to promote their practice on the backs of children unable to give informed consent. With our digital DNA accessible to everyone, we need to pause and think before giving consent for the unlimited future use of photos and videos. Our children have a right to privacy, don't sign it away.