Parents and social media make for a potentially awkward combination. Whether it’s your dad following you on Twitter or your mum commenting on your Facebook photos (“Hello darling, who’s the handsome man on the left?! Love you lots”), you’d be forgiven for sometimes wishing your relationship with the people who raised you could be kept solely offline.
Spare a thought, then, for the woman whose parents have posted some 500 photos of her on Facebook without her consent, including some of her most embarrassing childhood pictures. The 18-year-old, from Carinthia in Austria, has finally had enough – and is suing her parents.
The images shared by the unnamed woman’s parents include baby pictures of her having her nappy changed and potty training photos.
The young woman's parents apparently have around 700 Facebook friends, all of whom could see the posts.
“They knew no shame and no limit – and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my coat,” she told English-language newspaper The Local. “Every stage was photographed and then made public.”
The parents are still sharing photos of their daughter on social media, despite her repeated requests for them to just stop. Her father believes that because he took the photos, he has the right to publish them.
So what do you do when your parents aren’t listening to you? You take ‘em to court. “I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents,” said the woman.
The case will be heard in November. The woman’s lawyer, Michael Rami, believes she has a strong chance of winning if she can prove the photos violated her right to privacy – in which case, her parents could be forced to pay damages and legal fees.
There could also be legal repercussions for other Austrian parents who post photos of their children on social media without their consent. At the moment, Austrian privacy laws surrounding social media aren’t as strict as they are in other countries, but that could change if the woman is successful.
While the woman’s lawsuit might seem amusing on the surface, it raises pertinent questions about parenting in the age of social media. A staggering 97% of mums who use Facebook post images of their children on the social media site, according to one US study. But sometimes the child might be too young to consent to having their photo shared – or, like the woman in Austria, they might actively withdraw their permission.
So next time your parents are being embarrassing on social media, just thank your lucky stars you’re not having to take them to court. Or, you know, threaten them with this article. Either works.