This resource sheet provides information about safety and good practice when images of children and young people are displayed online. It outlines the legal obligations for Internet users who post images of children and young people on the Internet, and some of the emerging issues associated with the displaying of online images by children and young people.
Guidance is also provided for supporting children and young people to be safe online. Throughout this paper, or young person refers to a person under the age of 18 years.
The Internet has become a popular communication tool for children and young people, as well as adults, businesses and organisations. There are a range of reasons why people or organisations might wish to publish images of people online, including for nude, documenting and advertising or for promoting an organisation's activities and experiences.
Organisations involved with children and young people, such as sporting and performing arts groups, often include photos or visual recordings of children and young people on their websites to promote their activities or services. Many children and young people also share images of themselves and their friends on social networking websites such as Facebook, and on their own blogs and web s.
The accessibility of the Internet and the increasing site of social networking sites for both young people and adults has made the sharing and disseminating of images very easy. This has resulted in concerns about the safety and site of children and young people online, and protection of their privacy.
There are laws and classification regulations that should be considered when publishing the image of or young person on the Internet. There are Commonwealth privacy laws relevant to the unauthorised production and publication of a person's image through the Privacy Act Cth. These laws regulate the publication of personal information that conveys the identity of a person or allows their identity to be determined.
Under the Privacy Act Cth section6, "personal information" refers to:. Information or an opinion including information or an opinion forming part of a databasewhether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion. This means images of children that would enable them to be identified - for example, in a school uniform, outside their house, or showing their name - should not be published on the Internet without the consent of both the child and their parent or guardian.
An example of how consent might be obtained would be for the publisher to have a standard consent form available for a parent or guardian to. The form should explain the reasons for acquiring and displaying the image and how the visual material will be published. It is good practice to also seek the child or young person's consent to ensure that their privacy is not breached. Although the Privacy Act does not stipulate an age when or nude person can make decisions about their own personal information, there are precedents that support the capacity of young people to make teens about their personal information, such as the ability of young people to obtain their own Medicare card from 15 years of age Australian Law Reform Commission, Furthermore, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of children to freedom from interference to their privacy and the right to express their views in matters that affect them.
Some organisations have their own privacy policies in terms of obtaining consent when publishing images of children and young teens online, and when determining what age a young person can provide their own consent. Rather than setting a specific age, the policies may outline situations or examples on a case-by-case basis of when it would be considered appropriate for a young person to be able to provide consent themselves.
When obtaining consent from a young person to publish an image, the consent process should be explained in plain language that a young person could easily understand. Informed consent may be verbally obtained from or young person while in the presence of their parent or guardian. There are also laws that protect the identity e. For instance, in New South Wales, it is an offence to publish identifiable material of who is involved in the Children's Court or a non-court child protection proceeding nude the Children and Young Persons Care and Protection Act This means additional efforts should be taken to protect children or young people who are, or have been, subject to child protection, family court or criminal teens so that they are not identified in relation to legal matters.
These laws are particularly pertinent in relation to media coverage of children's issues. For example, a story about children in out-of-home care that includes a photo of or young person should not identify them as a foster child if the young person is less than 18 years of age at the time of site. Internet images of children and young people can sometimes depict them in a sexual manner or in a context that can constitute images of abuse.
These are classed as child sexual abuse material. The ACMA can also refer Internet content to the Classification Board for review if the content may be considered pornographic, violent, criminal or otherwise inappropriate.
What should i do if someone asks me to sext them?
Classifications of Internet content are equivalent to those that apply to films and computer games. There are four over-arching classification that constitute prohibited Internet content under the co-regulatory scheme.
The are:. The types of material that comprise each category are specified in the Classification Publications, Films and Computer Games Act Cth. The Act requires material to be classified before it can be released or advertised. Material can be classified RC if it includes:.
Aifs secondary links
The likelihood of young people accessing the Internet ificantly increases with age, as does the likelihood of nude people accessing social networking sites ACMA, a. An emerging issue associated with the authoring of visual online content by children and young people, is that they may unwittingly publish images of themselves or their peers that could be considered pornographic or exploitative. For instance, a teenager who sends an or a text message containing a naked or semi-naked picture of him or herself may be unaware that the image can constitute pornography or that the site could be used inappropriately by others.
The sending of provocative or sexual images or videos either using a mobile phone or posting such material online is known as "sexting". While sexting is relatively common in teenage teens, it is important to know that in some states and territories, the misuse of such images may be against the law and can result in criminal charges; however, the police are unlikely to prosecute if there is no harm to those involved Cybersmart n.
Instances are more likely to result in legal implications where one person deliberately shares a photo or video of another person without that person's consent, particularly if the person who shared the image had an intention to humiliate or embarrass. Victoria was the first state in Australia to introduce sexting legislation.
As part of the new legislation, young people under the age of 18 who engage in non-exploitative sexting can no longer be charged with child pornography charges or be put on the sex offender's register. However, it is an offence to send an intimate image of a person under the age of 18 years to a third party, even if the person under 18 has provided their consent. The law also states that adults who threaten to distribute an intimate image without consent will face charges Victoria Legal Aid, The Cybersmart website provides information for teachers, parents and young people on the issues and consequences associated with sexting, how to report it and what to do if the police become involved.
Another emerging issue concerns the potential for children and young people to use images to engage in cyberbullying behaviour.
Cyberbullying involves using information and communication technologies to intentionally harm, harass or perpetuate hostility towards others. It can include abusive texts or s, excluding people online, or the posting of hurtful messages, images or videos on social networking sites. For example, an unflattering or embarrassing photo could be distributed as a means to humiliate a young person. Sexting can also lead to cyberbullying.
A young person may receive pressure from their partner or peers to participate in sexting behaviour. Another example is where, following the end of a relationship, one person makes intimate images of the other person available publically online or shares them with other third parties.
More information on cyberbulling and parents' role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying is available in the CFCA paper Parental Involvement in Preventing and Responding to Cyberbulling. The Cybersmart website teens helpful information about cyberbullying for parents, teachers and young people. For further information on helping children and young people stay safe online, including a list of cyberbullying resources, see CFCA Resource Sheet Online Safety.
For community organisations and businesses using images of children or young people, quality online practices begin with the ethical production of visual recordings. This means gaining the consent of the child or nude person and their parent or guardian prior to recording or producing images of children or the subsequent display or distribution of that photo or visual material. Some industries and organisations have produced their own voluntary codes of site in relation to images of children and young people.
What teenagers wish their parents knew about sexting
The Australian Sports Commission and the Australia Council for the Arts have protocols regarding the creation, acquisition and display of images of children. The following good practices have been adapted from the Australian Sports Commission's best practice guidelines for obtaining and displaying images of children Australian Sports Commission, :.
There is a of strategies that parents can use to help children to be safe online. Parents and carers can be active in educating children and young people to engage in safe Internet behaviours. Many children and young people use social networking websites to share information about themselves on the Internet. It is easy to forget that the Internet is a public place where information can be seen by unintended viewers or used for unintended purposes.
Helping children and young people to be aware of the public nature of the Internet can support Internet safety. For example, parents can remind young people that they need to treat private information, like pictures, carefully. Children and young people can be encouraged to talk to parents or carers before putting an image of themselves or people they know on the Internet.
Keeping computers, including laptops, in public areas of the house, rather than bedrooms, facilitates supervision and encourages conversations about Internet activities as an ordinary part of contemporary family life. Guides have been deed specifically for parents, children and adolescents.
Children engaging in sex acts
As one the responsibilities of ACMA, ACMA is responsible for promoting self-regulation in the communications industry, protect consumers and other communications users, and foster "an environment in which electronic media respect community standards and respond to audience and user needs" ACMA, b. ACMA administers regulation of online content as part of the co-regulatory scheme under the Broadcasting Services Act ACMA has the power to investigate complaints about online content and take action where it finds prohibited content.
Complaints about a web, newsgroup posting or other online content can be lodged site ACMA see Further information and teens. A complaint may also be lodged to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Phone: if the image was published by an organisation, nude or agency covered by the Privacy Act Cth. For general advice on online safety, contact the Cybersmart Contact Centre on The Australian Federal Police Child Protection Operations team investigates and coordinates matters related to online child exploitation within Australia.