It's that time of year again. Uniforms are being purchased, stationary bought and the rounding out of school holidays has begun. With the hustle and bustle of getting everything lined up for a new school year it's easy to either forget, or not know, to ask some really basic questions of your child's school. Questions that Colin Anson, leading commentator in the space of online privacy for minors and data collection and CEO of image privacy app pixevety, says could be the difference between protecting your child's privacy or losing total control of where your kid's image is going.
So, what are the ramifications of losing grip on how schools are using your child's images? And, more importantly why should you care?
Why Image Protection Matters
• According to the Communications and Cyber Security Minister, there has been a 50% increase in image child abuse reporting to eSafety from last year with Australia lagging behind in reforms compared to Europe and parts of the United States.
• What might start as an innocent image taken by an individual or organisational body, with the parents trust, can end up in the wrong hands or used in the wrong context.
• Schools take on average 35,000+ images per year without a manageable way to give parents choice in how photos of their children are used.
• As a result, children are increasingly exposed to image-based abuse.
• Today, this risk begins a lot earlier than the school setting with the modern rite of passage to announce a baby's birth online – kicking off the start of a child's digital footprint.
What To Be Aware Of And What Can Parents Do:
Top tips from Colin Anson, pixevety CEO and child privacy expert:
1. Make sure each year you're re-confirming your permission when it comes to your child's privacy and sharing of imagery and data
2. Whether it's your little one's first time at kindy or your 15-year old's tenth year at the same school, consent should be given each year, specifying how and where you're comfortable with images being shared.
3. Ask for transparency in terms of how your child's picture is being used and taken. This can be a grey area. For instance, if the teacher is taking photos on their personal phone (even with honest intentions) they then own the photo and it might even be automatically uploaded to their iCloud on personal phones, from here ownership and control of that image is lost.
4. Make sure the school specifies use, rather than just a blanket permission through a tick box. i.e marketing materials, social media, external use
5. Check the system for ensuring consent differentiation is met, i.e How do they ensure the marketing coordinator won't grab a photo of your child and put it in the yearbook if you've said no to this type of image use.
6. Ask about the school's policy when it comes to sharing and storage of images.