We’ve seen over the years how social media improved our lives: from providing avenues for connection, sharing experiences, and helping us document precious moments. But while technology brought us many benefits, it also blurred the concept of privacy. And with how things are going lately, we, as parents, should be more wary.
We take off from the case of Adie De Castro, a mom who called out a TikTok creator who posted her son’s now-viral video without her consent. The TikTok material from user account Nico Meneses shows a man giving his son some ice cream, before Adie’s son was seen in the frame. Adie’s son was then told, ‘Uy di naman kita anak ah, gusto mo rin? Pabili ka sa mama mo.’
Adie’s son was ridiculed on video, moreso with thousands of reactions on the video that reached over 1 million videos before it was taken down. Someday, Adie’s son will see how he was once a meme over something as natural as wanting ice cream. The ramifications of one “funny” video are far-reaching, impacting a child's emotional well-being not just today but for many years to come.
Now, Adie is eyeing to begin a legal battle, as she said, “maging leksyon po ito, maging halimbawa.” We say, it is indeed wise to (borrowing GMA Network’s famous tagline) think before you click.
Following this incident, allow us to make a blanket call: it is never okay to post a child’s photo or video in your social network accounts without their parents’ permission. Whether you're a relative, a friend, and most especially if you're a stranger--at the mall, at a cafe, at a play area. Even if you find a child cute, or worse if you will only bully that child. Your perspective on what makes a click-worthy content does not supersede a child's right to privacy and dignity.
And the public must heed this call, and not think we only say this because maarte kaming magulang.
Read this: the online sphere is vast and largely uncontrollable. Once a photo is uploaded, it's challenging to regulate who views, saves, or misuses it. Although shared with the best intentions, these innocent snapshots could be exploited or fall into the wrong hands. Worse, children could be subjected to endless bullying by people they don’t even know.
As adults, it is our responsibility to protect a child's identity until they can make informed decisions about their online presence. Note too, that as children grow older, they might not want their childhood moments readily available to anyone with an internet connection. Respecting their future autonomy means being cautious about what we share now.
We should also remember that there's a constant threat to online security. Posting pictures of children may unintentionally expose personal details, such as locations, routines, or even school information. This information could potentially be exploited by malicious individuals. By refraining from sharing images, we minimize these risks and shield children from any potential harm.
'It is never acceptable to film or photograph children, let alone make fun of them or subject them to ridicule in any form of video or image, and post it for all the world to see.'
Most importantly, by refraining from sharing their photos without their consent, we are teaching them the significance of respecting others' privacy and personal choices. We want them to grow up understanding that their personal space and boundaries are to be respected, both online and offline.
Let's be crystal clear: it is never acceptable to film or photograph children, let alone make fun of them or subject them to ridicule in any form of video or image, and post it for all the world to see. No matter how cute we think they are, no matter how innocent, children deserve respect and privacy. While children cannot fully decide for themselves, parents have every right to explicitly say no to potential dangers.
Next time you whip out that smartphone and take snaps of kids, think if they will be delighted to see that post, 10 to 15 years down the road. Remember too, that it’s crucial to honor parents' choices when it comes to their children's privacy. It's a matter of respect and empathy towards their wishes. After all, safeguarding children’s right to privacy is a responsibility we should all champion, parents or not.
Adie De Castro's video is posted here with her permission. When it comes to social media, should the babies of public figure be treated like their parents? Read this opinion piece on famous kids and socmed here.