When I reached adolescence I became aware that my parents had shared my entire childhood on the Internet.
- Iván Alcocer, 18 years old: “I constantly argued with my mother to get her to delete my photos”
- Esteban, 14 years old: “It’s not because I’m egotistical, but learning to love yourself is fine, and I think the photos help that”
- The consequences of a childhood exposed on the internet
- What can I do to get my parents to remove my photos from the internet?
Imagine that your family album with all kinds of intimate photos was published on the Internet. That photo in which you are in the toilet bowl for the first time, the one in which you are in a chopped ball in the bathtub and with a foam toupee, or your first day of class crying your eyes out while you look with hatred at your parents.
If your childhood only lives in photo albums, you can consider yourself a perfect anonymous in current terms, because many people born after 2000 have seen their childhood exposed on social networks, leaving the famous “fingerprint”.
It is not the same for those photos to be seen by five acquaintances and you spend a few minutes of “earth swallow me” to be seen by dozens (or even hundreds or thousands) of people, or that anyone who decides to search for them by entering your name in Google.
This is what happened to Iván and Esteban, two boys of 19 and 15 years old respectively (at the time we contacted them), who saw how their mothers were documenting their childhood on the internet.
Iván Alcocer, 18 years old: “I constantly argued with my mother to get her to delete my photos”
Iván is a student who was born in 2001 and has therefore reached the age of majority. She remembers that between the ages of 8-9 her mother opened her first Facebook account, which in turn was her first social network.
“She always took care of filling her profile with photos of me, also of my older brother and my younger sister,” she tells us for this report, “she practically took any pretext to take pictures of me and upload them.”
When he asked his mother why she did not want to stop publishing her photos, her response was: “I am your mother and I have the right to do so”
In his family, posting the photos on Facebook replaced lifelong family photo albums: “It seems to me that the last album you probably made was about 10 years ago.”
During his childhood it was not much of a problem that all those photos were published, but in early adolescence he began to feel uncomfortable: “I remember that at first it did not seem to bother me, I think more than anything because I did not have a clear idea of the enormous magnitude that social networks had and that they would have later.”
“All this started to bother me and make me uncomfortable when I was 11 years old, when I was in my last year of elementary school. At that time I was a very insecure boy with my appearance because I was overweight, which made me hate that more people saw photos of me as well from my close family. I argued with my mother constantly to have her delete the photos, I was very irritated that he did not respect my wish not to want him to expose my face for whatever reason“.
When Iván asked his mother what was the reason why he did not want to stop publishing his photos, his answer was: “I am your mother and I have the right to do so.”
The arguments lasted until he was 14 years old in vain, so he took another attitude towards the situation based on seeing that his older brother was having the same arguments with his mother. They concluded “that the best thing was to flatly refuse any kind of photograph taken by her or a family member“.
“Almost two years ago I stopped using my Facebook account and that was when my relationship with my mother improved a little. It is something that I accept and I have no problem, but seeing pictures of me as a child or during puberty on their networks It is still something that irritates me a little and I dislike it. What really bothered me is that he did not respect my decision not to want him to display photographs of me that seemed private. I took it as a complete breakdown of my privacy or of myself. decision-making power over my own image “.
At the age of 11 he began to use his own social networks: “It is not that it affects me to a point of not being able to lead a life in social networks in a satisfactory way, but I would be lying if I said that it does not affect me in the least, especially of in an unconscious way. Since I had my first accounts on social networks, I have never felt comfortable uploading photographs frequently with my face or people in my family “.
Esteban, 14 years old: “It’s not because I’m egotistical, but learning to love yourself is fine, and I think the photos help that”
Esteban was born in 2004, the same year Facebook was born, and he remembers that his mother has uploaded photos of him and his siblings since preschool, for as long as he can remember.
“My mother would upload many photos, every year with the school uniform, or the days we went out … Now she uploads them to the WhatsApp status, which at least disappear in 24 hours.” It could be considered a relief from the perpetuity of photos on Facebook, now that there are formats in which these photos “self-destruct” after hours.
When we contacted him, he told us that he prefers to remain anonymous, after all he is a teenager, but he tells us that in fact he He has never been bothered by his mother uploading photos of him to his Facebook wall: “Sometimes my friends have found photos of me from when I was little and it has bothered me, yes, but in the end it is something funny more than anything”.
“They are already uploaded to the Internet and I cannot, nor do I want to, do anything because in the end it is nice to have memories, even if they are shameful”
“They are already uploaded to the Internet and I cannot, nor do I want to, do anything because in the end it is nice to have memories, even if they are shameful,” he tells us, contrary to what we might think at first.
If we walk through his Instagram, which he started using when he was 12 years old and through which we located him, we can see a normal teenager uploading his drawings and selfie-style photos with his friends. Naturalizing something that has lived since childhood.
“It didn’t bother me, nor does it bother me, that he upload photos of me, it’s something I’ve gotten used to and sometimes I even like. It’s not because I’m egotistical, but learning to love yourself is fine, and I think photos they help that. “
The consequences of a childhood exposed on the internet
As we have seen above, each person is a world. And this is what Silvia Ávala Soto, an expert psychologist in parenting, tells us: it depends on the personality of each child how the fact that their parents overexpose them on the internet will affect them.
“If a child is an extrovert and has a desire for prominence that his parents publish photos of them can feed that facet of his personality,” he explains, “but if he is an introvert it can generate many problems of insecurity”.
“We must not forget that we are dealing with human beings that perhaps when they are adults they do not want at all that people see them what they were like from wearing diapers to their first day of college.”
The key to the matter is control: An introvert is not someone who does not want to expose himself at all but “someone who controls, when in a safe environment, what he tells to whom.” On the internet that control is lost at all, and some parents totally overlook it.
Silvia insists that “parents must have heads, they are legally responsible for their child, and they decide for him, but they are not the owners of his life.”
“Children must be taught to respect and respect themselves. The moment they ignore the wishes of their children and publish those photos against their will, they are telling the child” I do this because I do not respect you “, something fundamental in education “. This can make an important dent in the relationship between the parents and the child, the feeling that may remain is that “they are commercializing their image with changes of likes”.
“Parents must have heads, they are legally responsible for their child and decide for him, but they are not the owners of his life”
Another important point to bear in mind is the way in which these practices are “naturalized” from a very early age. Currently there is a great problem of generalized self-esteem due to social networks: “adolescents are constantly compared, they see a scale that is not real before even knowing themselves they already try to project an image on social networks it’s not real. “
By uploading so many photos, parents normalize that “constant pose” attitude for photos, of continually showing something on social media.
Silvia emphasizes that parents “do not project through their children what they would have liked to be or pretend to be through them”. They must let their children choose, when the time comes, what they want to do with their image.
What can I do to get my parents to remove my photos from the internet?
It is difficult to contact Facebook or Google directly to ask them personally to remove photos that violate your privacy, but in return they offer you many forms to fill out (to see if you are lucky).
On the one hand, Facebook offers you a form to request that your photos be removed. On the other hand, Google offers you another form to remove your images in the search engine. Finally, if your parents think they are youtubers, YouTube has another form for you. The party of the form.
Anaïs Figueras, Communication Director of Google Spain and Portugal, explains that “it is best for any user to ask the person who hosts the content on said page to remove the information, because in this way Google stops indexing it. If in the case that the parents have uploaded the images, then they do not want to remove them and it does not lead to an understanding between both parties, they can opt for the forms “.
However, this is a remedy to the problem once it is done, not a solution to prevent it from happening. It may be that this content is removed a posteriori but really the damage is already done once uploaded and exposed. The best thing is prevention on the part of the parents. “The idea is to educate both parents and children about how to use the Internet responsibly”, as Anais tells us.
In Spain there have not yet been any cases of lawsuits by children against their parents, minors cannot sue unless they are emancipated or until they reach the age of majority (although at 14 they can decide on their image ); but in Italy and France there have already been complaints with fines between € 10,000 and € 45,000.
Felipe Fernando Mateo Bueno, a lawyer specialized in family law, tells us that if the case occurred in Spain it would not be a complaint (which is criminal), but a lawsuit, being a lawsuit without a determined amount: “Taking into account that from The 14-year-old can already decide on what they do with their image, I understand that they can also request that any image that has been published of them be withdrawn, and as long as they are not of legal age or have been emancipated, a resource would be to go to the prosecution of minors, then the prosecutor would have to act on their behalf. “
Sergio Carrasco, a lawyer specializing in the right to be forgotten and online reputation, explains that in Spain “the conflicts in cases of sharenting that have reached the Courts refer to discussions between the parents, not the son towards the parents”.
But he clarifies that “in Spain a case like this could go to the Courts, but we must also take into account the very nature of the content.” For example, in the case of Italy, the demand reached those levels because the son showed all the ways in which it had affected him on a personal level when his parents shared that content on social networks.
“It will be in the coming years, when these minors begin to be aware of all the content that their parents have shared, that these types of actions will begin to occur more regularly. A comment or a photograph, once uploaded to the Internet, is difficult to be totally eliminated and can affect both your social and professional life “.