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Orig. title: Kinder. Bilder. Rechte. Persönlichkeitsrechte von Kindern im Kontext der digitalen Mediennutzung in der Familie

Engl. transl.: Children. Images. Rights. Children's personal rights in the context of digital media use in the family


Sharenting personal rights children parents pictures social media

Publication details

Year: 2018
Issued: 2018
Language: German
Authors: Kutscher N.; Bouillon R.
Type: Report and working paper
Topics: Online safety and policy regulation; Social mediation
Sample: "The surveys took place in a total of five cities and municipalities (including both large cities and rural municipalities) in four different federal states (Berlin, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) in Germany. A total of twelve families with 20 children between the ages of six and thirteen (including nine boys and eleven girls) and one adolescent between the ages of five and ten were interviewed. Three of the twelve families with a total of six children were immigrant families. Three mothers were single parents. The parents have different educational qualifications, but all of them have at least a secondary school diploma and five of the parents (with a total of eight children) are academically educated and work in corresponding professions. More than half of the children attend primary school, two children each attend lower secondary school, upper secondary school and gymnasium." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 10) [translated by the coder]
Implications For Parents About: Parental practices / parental mediation; Parental digital literacy ; Parenting guidance / support


"The present study investigated how sharenting - the use of digital media to share data, especially pictures of children (especially in social networks) with others - is practised in families. On the basis of 37 interviews with children and parents, it was empirically reconstructed how the media education context in the interviewed families is structured, in which parents and children deal with children's data in the use of digital media. The focus was on the question of how digital media use and sharing are embedded in everyday family life, as well as the extent to which children are involved in parental media practices and decisions and how the children's personal rights are dealt with. The question was asked how familiar children and parents are with digital media and what role these media play in everyday family life. In particular, the question of how data protection and the right to one's own image are dealt with, as well as the participation of children in decisions involving their data, were investigated. In this context, it was also analysed how parents deal with the tension between enabling autonomy and protection in the context of media education and how they perceive and shape their parental responsibility in the context of digital media use." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 6) [translated by the coder]


"The findings of the present study show that digital media have become part of everyday family practices. In all the families interviewed, social networks and mobile media are a natural part of communication between family members. They are also associated with family practices such as taking photos and sharing them with acquaintances, friends and other family members. In view of other available studies, it is not surprising that all of the children surveyed use services that they are not yet allowed to use according to the age specifications in the general terms and conditions of the social networks, such as WhatsApp, YouTube or Snapchat, because they have not yet reached the corresponding minimum age. The younger children use these services via their parents' mobile phones; from secondary school onwards, the children usually have their own smartphone on which the children surveyed can access these services.(...) All parents interviewed have smartphones and usually have relevant apps (including WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) installed on them. The majority of parents differentiate between the various services with regard to the degree of publicity. Facebook is connoted as "public" and WhatsApp as "private". This leads to parents reflecting more strongly on what they publish on Facebook and, in contrast, share data via WhatsApp largely without hesitation. (...) The fact that these photos can nevertheless be disseminated and seen at least by people for whom the children have often not given consent and where the children are uncomfortable with others seeing these photos of them is not reflected in the process. (...) Twitter and Snapchat are discussed as unproblematic or safer compared to Facebook and WhatsApp." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 81) "All in all, it is evident that parents are very concerned with the question of how they can accompany their children's media use in an educational way and also reflect on their own practice. They try not to lose touch with media developments and at the same time experience themselves as largely overtaxed. (...) Despite various strategies, it is clear that in everyday family life it is challenging for parents to regulate media use times, access to services and the availability of devices in a sufficiently differentiated way." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 82) "The study examined how children and parents deal with the question of under what circumstances pictures or other data are shared by children with others via digital media. In general, it was found that the children have a fairly clear sense of when they want to have pictures taken of them and under what circumstances they agree with pictures of them being shared with others.(...)In general, based on the statements of the children and parents interviewed, it can be stated that, as a rule, the children would disclose significantly fewer pictures than their parents." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 83) "Overall, it shows that what is considered worthy of protection from the parental perspective is not necessarily identical with what the children consider worthy of protection. Even when it comes to sharing pictures that the children do not want to see shared, as well as the question of what is considered worthy of representation, the parents usually make the decision alone - and this sometimes against the wishes or protests of the children." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 83) "In the parents' reports, the duty of responsibility and care is interpreted in such a way that children are only granted their own decision-making power over their private sphere as they grow older. This is associated with a decrease in control of the children's digital media use. Parents assume that their children will only gradually develop the ability to understand the dangers on the Internet and thus have the right to an independent private sphere.(...) As long as the children cannot be granted these abilities and rights from the parents' point of view, the parents - as far as they are in a position to do so - see it as their duty to control the children. In doing so, they sometimes intervene very extensively in the children's privacy by having the children give them passwords to social network accounts, regularly searching the child's smartphone including the WhatsApp messages and chat histories sent, finding out the children's whereabouts through the location query of Snapchat or using control apps to check what the child has used and with whom it has communicated and what. Parents are often unaware of the fact that children sometimes have significantly different ideas about the privacy of photos." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 84) "It is therefore possible to speak of a mixture of semi-informedness, insecurity, helplessness and powerlessness, which forms the basis of the parents' data protection strategies." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 85) "All in all, it can be said that the parents partly involve the children in the negotiation of rules on which norms should apply in the family with regard to media use times and content and grant them certain freedom. In general, however, the parents set the framework for the children's media use as part of their educational mandate. In terms of the perception of parental responsibility and how it is shaped, the reported practices can be understood as an expression of the usual forms of regulating media use in the family - and this in a relatively wide range. The low level of participation of the children does not correspond to the myth of the "negotiating family", but it does show everyday educational practice." (cf. Kutscher and Bouillon 2018, 85) [translated by the coder]

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