OPINION: Social media pictures lack consent

By Steven Adamo

The conversation of consent has been a major topic of discussion in regards to sexual relations, but should include consent when posting photos on social media. 

The lack of consent begins early. In September of last year, McAfee, a cybersecurity company, released results from a survey they conducted about parents who share photos of their children online. 

The main concerns of parents were the risks of creeps, stalkers, kidnappers and bullies. The Survey suggests that 58 percent of parents said they don’t consider asking for their child’s consent when it comes to posting their photos online. 

When parents post photos of their children online, according to a survey conducted by ComRes, one in four children between the ages of 10 and 12 feel anxious or embarrassed of photos posted online by their parents.

Because smartphones play an important role in most people’s lives, it’s common to pull out a phone and snap a photo of pretty much anything. 

Culturally, this is a relatively new phenomenon. In the past, photos taken were limited by a certain number of shots in a roll of film. 

To see the photo would require the film to be processed and printed. 

If the photo was to be shared, it would have to then be scanned or copied. 

All of this would take a considerable amount of time and the consent of the people being photographed. 

Only a certain number of people would have access to the photo, but the number of people who would see the photo doesn’t compare to today’s numbers. 

Since a majority of people receive their news from social media, these photos appear alongside the news of the day and other trending articles making their photos visible to a wide range of people. 

If a photo is uniquely funny or embarrassing, the photo is likely to be shared even more. 

People who share the photos rarely see the impact that posting these photos can have on the subject, sometimes without their knowledge. 

There is no equivalent to this issue prior to the age of social media. 

The closest thing would be television, but the average person didn’t have access to that technology. 

Even if a person appeared on a show, these same television shows never  contained geotags and other information that could lead to identity theft, stalking and bullying. 

Not to mention that there are people who tend to take pictures called, spy photos. 

Spy photos are the worst. 

The act of pretending to take a selfie in order to secretly take a photo of somebody who can then be put on blast via social media is very creepy. 

It would make more sense to introduce yourself, ask permission for the picture and then share your intentions to post the photo online. 

Most people will give their consent and an even better photo will be taken. 

This simple interaction may even lead to a friendship. 

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