In the ever changing online world, a new word is becoming more commonly used. That word is "sharenting".

It refers to the increasing trend for parents to share photographs of their offspring on social media. For the most part, the fallout from this will be stroppy teenagers who are horrified at their parents tagging them in posts which do not show them in the most flattering of lights (in their opinion). Gwyneth Paltrow recently incurred the wrath of her 14 year old daughter for that very reason. That problem is often quickly remedied by the offending snap being removed by the parent in order to keep the peace.

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. Whilst it is hoped that the majority of disputes of this nature can be resolved using a degree of common sense, 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 with considerable experience of child law matters. If you require more information regarding this or any other child law related issue, please contact Donna McKay, Senior Associate on 01224 392532 or email


Donna McKay

Legal Director