Photos, videos and social media

Uploading photos and videos onto social media services and websites can be a great way to share memorable moments with friends and family, or to boost engagement with your community.

But there can be risks associated with posting photos and videos of children online. There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of photos and videos being shared more widely than you intended.

Tips for taking photos and videos and sharing them online

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Women taking photos at a sport event

Public and private places

The law treats taking photos or videos in private places and public places differently. In public places you have the right to take a photo unless you do so in a way that is offensive or makes a nuisance to those around you. When an event is taking place at a private place people can enforce rules about photography, so you should consider gaining consent before taking photos and videos.

Think before you post

Once posted online any photo or video can be shared, copied and/or manipulated. You may not be able to control how a photo or video is used by others.

Think about:

  • Who might be able to see these photos?
  • Is there anyone else in this photo? (Be mindful that some people may not want their image to be published) 
  • Will this photo offend anyone?
  • Are there any identifying details in the photo? (Including personal information such as your child's name, landmarks and street signs)

Privacy settings

When uploading photos and videos check your privacy settings on the social media services you use as well as on the device. You can change privacy settings to control who sees your photos.

See our Games, apps and social networking page for further information on privacy settings.

Alternate ways to share photos and videos

Other ways that may give you more control when sharing photos and videos include:

  • sharing photos by email
  • using a secure online portal (secure online facility enabling organisations to authorise access through secure passwords)
  • multimedia messaging service (a standard way to send messages that include photos and videos over a cellular network).

Sports photographyGeo-location

Sharing photos online can sometimes identify your location.

If you do not want to share your location through your photos:

  • check the location settings on your device to know what apps are using geo–location and turn them off or limit the function
  • ensure that GPS locations and schedules of children’s activities are not shared online. 

Find out more about location based services here.

The risks

Taking these steps and being mindful of safety can help to minimise any risks that come with you sharing photos and videos of your child online. It’s important to remember that some people may have a different interest in your child than you do. There have been cases where innocent images posted on social media or other websites have been ‘harvested’ and used for other purposes. Sometimes predators can narrow down their search of children because of identifying details in photos.

Information for parents and carers

Parents, families and children enjoy seeing photos of their achievements but this should always be done safely.

Can I take photos and videos of my child at school or club events?

Check with the school or organisation that arranged the event. Your child’s school and/or organisation should be able to provide details of their social media policy or photography/recording policy.

What can I do if I have concerns about current photography practices at my child’s school/club/organisation?

Contact the school or organisation directly to raise your concerns. Schools and organisations should be able to refer you to their social media policy. This should provide details about the type of photos that can be posted, the way they will be used and how they obtain consent from parents or carers.

Do photos and videos once posted on social media sites, become the property of the site owners?

Some social media sites give themselves the rights to copy and use your photos and videos. Social media services may have Terms and Conditions or a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities which outlines how they manage sharing your photos, videos and information—these should be reviewed carefully before making any decisions on whether you consent to photos of your child being posted.

A photo or video of my child has been posted online without my permission. How can I get it removed?

In the first instance you should ask the person who posted the photo or video to remove it. If the person refuses or you don’t know who posted it, you may wish to contact or report your concern to the specific social media site.

Visit our Games, apps and social networking pages for more information about contacting or reporting material to social media services.

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