Kate Middleton – mother, wife, sister, daughter, Duchess, fashion icon, patron and photographer.
Kate has a passion for photography and the three children she shares with Prince William, George, Charlotte and Louis, regularly feature in her snaps. Her photos are often released to the public in celebration of birthdays or other special celebrations.
Today the Duke and Duchess released an unseen image of Prince Louis as the cover of a 'thank you' card sent to royal fans, thanking them for their well-wishes on the prince's 2nd birthday in April.
It's perfectly understandable that parents wish to use social media to celebrate the cuteness of their offspring in a new outfit (Prince Louis was sporting a blue-checked shirt from Sainsburys in his latest snap), show off their latest arts and crafts masterpieces (I hear Princess Charlotte is a fan of papier-mâché), or demonstrate how talented they are at sports (Prince George is football crazy and apparently quite a good player).
'Sharenting' is the term used to refer to the increasing trend for parents (royal and non-royal) to share photographs of their little ones on social media.
What happens, however, when parents who have separated have a different view about what should and should not be shared on social media when the material in question relates to their children? Often, it is not the child who has a difficulty with the image being shared (particularly when they are very young) but rather the other parent. It is hoped that the majority of disputes can be resolved using a degree of common sense, but if not, there is scope for parents to litigate about whether such an image should stay on social media or be removed. As is the case with most child related matters, the court would require to determine what is in the child's best interests. Much may well depend, therefore, on the nature of the image concerned. A photograph of a child in a state of undress is likely to result in an order being granted requiring the removal of the photograph. Unless there are compelling reasons for its removal, a photograph of a child which is uncontroversial, will likely be permitted to remain. Alternatively it may be possible to obtain an order to prevent an image being shared on social media.
Ultimately, however, each case will be determined on its own merits, with matters such as the privacy settings which are in use on the account in question and the child's relationship with their respective parents being considered. All parents should think carefully about what they share online. If in any doubt about the suitability of an image, the photograph should not be posted, or at the very least the child's identity should be concealed.
Brodies has a team of solicitors in Aberdeen, Dingwall, Edinburgh and Glasgow with considerable experience of child law matters. Please contact us with any queries and we will be pleased to assist.