Swiss woman ordered to stop posting photos of grandchild online
Child protection authorities in Switzerland have ordered a woman to stop posting pictures and photos of her seven-year old granddaughter on social media.
The order came after the girl’s mother, who is said to have a different relationship with the older relative, filed a complaint with the child protection services (KESB) in the canton of Bern.
The agency sent a letter to the grandmother asking her to stop publishing pictures and videos of the girl on online. But the grandmother responded by saying that she wouldn't be told what to do. She also stressed she was not posting naked pictures of the child.
When the grandmother continued to post pictures of the child online, the KESB threatened her with legal punishment if she refused to comply.
Such disputes over images of children on social media are increasingly common in Switzerland, according to KESB Bern.
In comments made to Swiss Sunday paper SonntagsZeitung, the agency’s president, Charlotte Christener, spoke of a “recognized problem”. She said it often arose when parents were fighting or when one parent demanded that the other parent delete online images of a child.
Meanwhile, KESB manager Patrick Fassbind said staff at the agency often came across online images of children during case assessments and sometimes had to force parents to remove them.
'Photos of children leave digital traces'
Around 80 percent of children under the age of two have an online presence, according to internet security firm AGV.
One recent Swiss study found that publishing photos of children online constituted an infringement of personal rights and recommended that clearly identifiable images of young children should not be published online.
According to SonntagsZeitung, the current rule of thumb in Switzerland is that parents should ask children aged 14 and over for permission before publishing photos of them online . However, this is not covered by any existing laws.
Speaking to Swiss news site 20 Minuten, the head of Children Protection Switzerland, Yvonne Feri, said caution and common sense should prevail when it comes to posting photos.
But she said people should think carefully before posting photos where children’s faces are visible. “Photos leave traces online and could harm children later,” she said.