Ask please, before you say "Cheese!", especially in 2021 - pixevety

Ask please, before you say “Cheese!”, especially in 2021

 In General

There has always been the necessity to ask for consent before taking, sharing, or publishing photos or videos of others, but the simple fact is technology has made many of us less empathetic to the wishes of others before clicking that share button or thinking about the possible consequences of publishing on global public channels for anyone to see. Unfortunately, the ongoing ramifications, especially on children, can be endless.

Schools play a major role in child image protection

Schools capture tens of thousands of photos and videos of children each year with a rough estimate of 10 per cent being shared online via their website, e-newsletter, Youtube and/or social media pages. When I share these statistics with schools, they are understandably shocked and concerned. I then ask: Can you reliably say that all images you publish publicly (either on your website or on a social media channel) of a child has the consent of every parent? Do your staff consider the potential long-term effects of publishing such photos around the world on public social media channels before pressing the share button?

Schools must take steps to ensure that they take into account the imbalance of power when using a child’s personal information (including photos), a vulnerable group in society, and to be open and upfront about what the school intends to do with these photos and the possible consequences. Deliberately mis-stating the purpose for collection or exaggerating the consequences of not providing the information will never be considered fair in the eye of privacy law.

Schools and parents must also keep in mind that Facebook is named the primary source for up to 60 per cent of child abuse material published as reported by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) each year. Just think about how many school images featuring children have already been shared on Facebook without parent consent. You can’t simply just take these images down, and you will never know how many times they have been copied and shared with strangers over and over and over again.

5 key reasons why it must be a top school priority in 2021

The role of Principal is vast and challenging, but even more so when experiencing a global pandemic. This places compliance squarely on top of a School Principal’s agenda. 2021 has been labelled “The Year of Privacy” and whilst schools quickly gear up to meet new privacy regulations and the possibility of continued remote learning, they also have a duty of care to student privacy and protection. With all this in mind and as we start out the new year, here are 5 key reasons why it is even more essential in 2021 schools get student image protection right!

Reason 1: No longer a nice-to-have!

Online child abuse activities are on the rise with the AFP recently reporting a 150% increase in child abuse reporting during the pandemic. Most of this abuse was facilitated through the sharing of online images, with up to 60% of content sourced via Facebook. Parents are also moving away from Facebook as their main online channel and leading schools are already building their own parent portals to follow the traditional 01 marketing rule of “own your audience” to improve their student image protection practices.

Reason 2: To protect students from harm.

It is important schools stop inadvertently disclosing images of students publicly without parent consent. Following best practice privacy compliance practices is critical when capturing, storing, sharing and/or publishing images of children at school to avoid creating opportunities for student online harm, such as cyberbullying, stalking, grooming and identity theft.

Reason 3: To avoid a $10 million fine…

You may have missed the news at the end of 2020 that the maximum penalty for entities who mishandle consumer data under Australian Consumer Law increased by almost 500% to A$10 million. A similar penalty will follow shortly for general privacy breaches coming out of an Australian Government review of the Privacy Act. So, in addition to investing in the right technology to avoid such fines, make sure in 2021 you have sharpened your privacy policy and practices and that you give your families easy access to consent.

Reason 4: To build greater trust with your parent community.

The word trust means having a firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something. In fact, Deloitte Australia’s 2020 Privacy Index report concluded organisations can build trust with their community by ensuring they collect meaningful consent. In a school environment, meaningful consent is where you give your parents the platform and sufficient information for them to respond to consent in a meaningful way. The key is to empower parents to choose if and how they want to participate, and schools can do this by enabling ‘consent self-management’ via an online portal (like pixevety) so parents can exercise their own choice and control over student photo and video permissions.

Reason 5: To unlock the real value from your school media, especially during a pandemic – and engage.

With the world going in and out of lockdown at little notice, it is important to keep your community engaged and help maintain a ‘sense of community’ (albeit remotely). What better way to do this than by sharing photos and videos captured of students in a safe online private setting where the school has 100% control over access and use, and families can enjoy exploring and engaging safely and remotely with the school, at their own pace.

Schools need to partner with the experts

At the end of 2020, pixevety was receiving accolades for being regarded as the best and most innovative company in the areas of edutech and risk management. This was not because we started our business off with a “build it and they will come” attitude, it was because we slowly built a business with an eSafety and privacy-by-design focus for children to address a specific cause and deliver a solution to our customers that gave lasting impact on society as a whole i.e. to protect the digital identity of children by enabling safer photo storage and sharing practices in schools and with families. 

We are truly excited to see what 2021 brings – as I stated above, a year already labelled ‘Year of Privacy’ – to continue to work closely and tirelessly with our existing customers and to encourage other schools to improve their child image sharing practices. I end this article with the hope that governments, community at large, big tech companies and schools together make child image protection a top priority in 2021 to stop child online abuse activities rising out of this pandemic.

To find out more about the pixevety platform and how it can be used at your school to improve the sharing of children’s images online, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our wonderful customer success team using our Live Chat functionality available on the website. Thank you for spending the time to read this article.


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