Protection of children in social networks | Media Pyro


Earlier this year, students signed consent forms to allow the institute to use their photos on social media.  As of June 1, the Personal Data Protection Act requires a child's or guardian's consent to the collection and use of personal information and images.  Chanat Catania

Earlier this year, students signed consent forms to allow the institute to use their photos on social media. As of June 1, the Personal Data Protection Act requires a child’s or guardian’s consent to the collection and use of personal information and images. Chanat Catania

Is it wrong to post videos or photos of children on social media? Maybe this is the wrong question. Instead, we should ask whether these posts are legitimate or not.

The question of whether it is appropriate to post children’s photos or videos on social media has recently sparked a storm of debate due to an online campaign to respect children’s privacy, despite the insistence of many parents and teachers that the posts were made in good faith. .

Really, what’s wrong with moms and dads sharing parental love and joy on social media, and teachers laughing merrily at children’s innocence and cuteness?

Many, according to supporters of children’s right to privacy.

Even with the best of intentions, what adults think is cute behavior in children can cause embarrassment when they grow up. Think of the pictures of naked babies. After all, they were too young to consent, and digital footprints remain forever.

These online videos and photos often expose children’s identities and whereabouts, putting their safety and dignity at risk from criminals who prey on vulnerable children. Also, pedophiles who collect children’s photos around the world and use them for sexual purposes.

Even if parents are careful about their children’s privacy, other people can still post photos or video clips of their children online without their knowledge and expose their children to public entertainment or ridicule.

Teachers in particular. Thai social media is full of photos and videos of young children being posted by their teachers to get likes and views. While most posts sell smiles and laughs, many are insensitive or even cruel.


The PDPA is short for the Personal Data Protection Act, which came into force this year. Under the PDPA, consent is crucial. You may not collect, use or disclose personal information from children under the age of 10 without parental permission.

For young people, legally defined as those under the age of 20, they can only give consent when the activity is useful and necessary for their lives, and when the activity does not require the approval of other people. For example, receiving educational grants. In cases that are not part of their daily lives, such as expensive businesses, their parents can represent them legally.

So, is it illegal to post and share children’s photos and videos on social media? What should we do if the photos accidentally turn out to be photos of children we do not know?

Under the PDPA, there is no need to worry if the content is intended for family and private use. However, it is illegal if the disclosure is for commercial purposes without parental consent. But the law does not specifically define what “family and private use” covers. The lack of clear guidelines and some outdated regulations also make legal interpretation and implementation difficult.

The PDPA forces the public to respect the personal information of other people regardless of age or gender. Protects the rights of children and youth. But such protection has at least three loopholes.

First, the ambiguity of the concepts “family activity” and “private use”. Second, to be legal guardians of children, parents must be legally married. Thirdly, the lack of special rules and regulations for operators to inform and obtain the consent of children and young people before collecting their personal information.

Thailand’s PDPA can learn from other countries’ experiences in strengthening the protection of children and youth on social media.

For example, in the United States, there is a special law – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) – to protect children’s privacy. Website operators are required to post a clear and comprehensive online privacy policy for children under 13 and to provide parents with the opportunity to review and correct their children’s personal information.

In the European Union, the European Data Protection Board makes clear that the use of a child’s personal information for family activities does not extend to its use on social networks accessible to the general public.

Ireland also has specific guidance on the collection, use and disclosure of children’s personal information. The guide comprehensively covers children’s rights under the General Data Protection Regulation with age-appropriate rules on informing and consenting minors. Privacy protections for children and young people are stricter than the standard rules for adults.

The guidance also requires online operators to communicate with children and young people about the collection of personal data in concise, transparent and easy-to-understand language. It also gives children’s guardians the power to give or withdraw consent for children in addition to biological parents.

As a best practice, Thailand should issue specific guidelines and manuals on the collection, use and disclosure of information about children and youth. They should clarify the meaning of “for family activities and private use only” and “access restricted to family members only” when a child’s personal information is used online. Clarity is critical to helping parents understand the rules. It will also help online operators design their systems accordingly.

What is important is that society and the structure of the family have changed. Many children and young people do not live with their parents. The law must recognize this reality when determining who should be allowed to act as their guardian.

Online operators should also make it easier for children and young people to understand their right to receive information before or during the collection of personal data through age-appropriate formats, such as the use of videos and graphics.

Clear and easy-to-understand rules and guidelines are crucial. They will enable society, parents, guardians and teachers to better protect the safety and privacy of children online.

However, weak and unclear laws do little to stop online social bullying of children. Unfortunately, the perpetrators are often the very people who are supposed to protect them, not realizing that the brief social media fame their viral stories can cause vulnerable children to suffer for life.


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