In the crazy world of social media, parents sharing their kids online is certainly not uncommon.
Tags like #mumtok have over 10 billion views on TikTok, and there are countless Instagram accounts where parents post about their kids, share tips and share parenting experiences.
But the French Parliament is not here for that. Parents who want to gain followers and make money by posting images of their children online may be prevented from doing so under the new Private Members Bill.
The proposed bill, introduced by MP Bruno Studer, who is part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, is still under development. But if passed, perpetrators of “sharing” could be stripped of their right to share images of their child online. In extreme cases, the rights to the image of the child will be handled by a social worker.
Research shows that just over half of French parents post information about their children on social media, and 90% of them do so before their child is five years old.
In fact, the average child under the age of 13 shares photos on social media 1,300 times.
But is it necessary to fight the online activities of parents?
Clinical psychologist Dr. Marianne Trent says that as a parent of two, she never posts photos of her children online because she wishes it was their decision in the future.
She considers the French bill “quite extreme” but says it depends on the content being displayed.
“I believe that the presence on the Internet is the choice of every person. It’s about being able to get informed consent and make that choice for yourself at a time when you have the necessary understanding to think about it,” she tells Metro.co.uk.
“There are times when people become famous early on and it has affected their lives in ways they might not have chosen if they had the full ability to make those decisions.
“The pandemic has shown us one thing: there are many different ways to make money, and it’s not always a traditional job.
“Video content about animals and children is very entertaining and it can feel like parents are losing the opportunity to support their family.”
She adds: “Is it appropriate for people who can’t opt out of social media to generate income for their families? Just because you can do it, does that mean you should?
For parents who still choose to share images and videos of their children online, Dr. Marianne advises to always be fully clothed, because your intentions when taking a photo may not match those of those who view it.
She also believes that when a child is “in very strong communication”, such as a tantrum, whether or not the parent finds it amusing, there is a “grey area” because you are monetizing your child’s suffering.
TikTok’s rules don’t allow anyone under 13 to create an account anyway, so should younger children be shown on the platform?
Some parents think so. 24-year-old mum Della Noyce from West Sussex is sharing content with her 1.8 million followers about her 18-month-old daughter Dulcie. Fans enjoy their daily ritual of making coffee together.
The videos, some of which have racked up nearly 50 million views and a total of 47.5 million likes, have been praised by followers who thank Della for “brightening their day.”
She is safe and she brings so much comfort to our followers.
Della tells Metro.co.uk that she didn’t originally plan to make a video of Dulcie, but that “Dulce was intrusive” and wouldn’t let her humiliate her.
“I ended up doing it with her in my arms and everyone loved it! I never planned for it to explode the way it did at first, it was just fun for my little friends and family and then it got so big,” she says.
“It bothered me at first, but Dulcie wouldn’t hurt, I would never let her be in danger. She is safe and brings so much comfort to our followers.”
Della says she is asking Dulcie if she wants to act.
“Dulce is very knowledgeable about cameras, filming and TikTok,” she says.
“Before filming, they ask her if she wants her to say “yes TikTok” and take her cup or my phone” and if she is not feeling well or in a good mood she will say “no TikTok” and we will not . I do not publish, as my subscribers know.
While Della prefers to post Dulcie online, she also “agrees 100% with people who don’t want to post their kids on social media.”
She says: “Everyone has their own views on this, but it’s no different than moms who let their kids do acting and have their little kids on TV for everyone to see.
“Or the kids who pose for the billboards. It’s all the same and as long as you’re careful and set boundaries I think it’s ok and Dulcie loves and enjoys it.
“The day she doesn’t want to continue, she won’t have any questions.
“Dulce is at an age where she knows it’s a day to day routine and she really enjoys doing it with me and it’s such a strong bond we’ve developed through them.”
Della and Dulcie make money from TikTok and now that money is being used to support their family. “This allows her to live a better life now and build a sustainable future for her and for all of us,” says Della.
Mom-of-two Rebecca Smith, who posts information about her 11-year-old and three-year-old on her PicsandSquiggles small business page, says she’s engaging her kids to make her content and brand recognizable.
She says: “Because I sell art prints and postcards, my target audience is people my age — moms, parents, people who like the same things as me, people with kids — so I try to make my content understandable. So basically I use them for marketing.
“They are also the most popular types of posts, showing that my work is not really true, you should be interesting, so I use them for fun and to make life on the Internet a little more intimate.”
“I would never post nudity or anything that – if it gets into the wrong hands – could be used for anything. I wouldn’t post anything that would embarrass them later in life.”
The French MPs may well disagree.
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