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The rise and fall of family content

What France's new law on children's image rights might mean for influencer parents

The rise and fall of family content   What France's new law on children's image rights might mean for influencer parents

The French National Assembly made significant progress in protecting children's image rights on Tuesday, February 6. Members of parliament unanimously passed a law aimed at strengthening protection measures, particularly against the abuse of parents excessively exposing their children on social media platforms. Though not explicitly stated, one cannot help but think that this law was designed to regulate the excesses of influencers. Even if you don't follow them, you should still be able to name a few parent influencers, whether they are reality TV personalities or content creators. Like you and me, they use their platforms to share moments of their lives, but much of their content is scripted. From afternoon baking sessions to back-to-school routines to "get ready with us" videos, everything is included. While celebrities tend to preserve their children's privacy until adolescence, parent influencers capitalise on their children from a very early age. According to a study, 1.1% of French parents of children under-16 are influencers today and benefit from these publications. Unlike the law regulating influencers' activities, this one does not just prohibit the promotion of certain products; it primarily aims to ensure the privacy rights of minors.


A new law regulating parent influencers

@chelseyibrown Take your children off social media and stop posting their photos and videos I can do another video with more horrific facts I learned while doing this research. If your excuse is that you want your family and close friends to see updates of your kids, then use a private platform like @My Peeps original sound - Chelsey Brown

Increased attention to the risks of overexposing children on digital platforms has sparked crucial debates about protecting the youngest in the virtual environment. The mechanisms of the new law revolve around creating concrete measures aimed at limiting the proliferation of content featuring minors on digital platforms, taking into account potential risks to their psychological well-being. This right is linked to the child's privacy, as although parents have control over them until they reach the age of majority, it is the caregiver's responsibility to ensure the child's protection. They must obtain written consent before sharing their child's image, even in situations such as internal school publications. If separated, both parents must agree to share images of the child. In case of violation of this right, damages can be awarded to the child, represented by their parents, or possibly to the parents themselves. With an exponential growth in subscribers, influencer families openly share their experiences and become somewhat like "parenting doctors" to their communities. Sharing their day-to-day life online, parents create a sense of closeness with their audience, whom they advise. Family content is also a significant source of income, with 47% of parent influencers stating that this activity has become their sole source of income, notably through partnerships with brands. For these families, the law imposes specific rules regarding the publication of images of their children on social media. When a child's activity is considered to be in a work-related relationship and they happen to be under 16, parents must obtain prior authorisation from labor inspection before publishing the video depicting the child.

The impact of the law on the future of family content

This law marks a significant turning point in child protection, considering the risks associated with social media exposure. Even though young children cannot express their views, they sometimes regret this overexposure as they grow older. According to a 2019 Microsoft study, four out of ten teenagers believe their parents have overexposed them on social media. Moreover, more than half of parent influencers admit to not obtaining their children's consent before posting intimate moments, while nearly 60% believe that an hour of preparation is necessary for each content. These practices are regularly denounced by some child protection associations, describing them as hidden labor or even forced labor. A particularly alarming aspect of this phenomenon was highlighted by a 2020 report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, indicating that 50% of photos exchanged on pedophilic forums were initially posted by parents on their social media, data that proves how this is not a subject to be taken lightly.