Underage and on Facebook: Father Sues over Daughter’s Photos
A Northern Ireland man is suing Facebook for permitting his daughter to post "lewd" pictures of herself to the social networking site. The girl is just 12 years old. Who’s responsible? How can you prevent risks like this to your child?
- Facebook sued for underage user’s activity
- Social networking a magnet for kids of all ages
- Sites that draw children will also draw adults seeking to exploit them
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Controlling Kids Online a Shared Responsibilty
Facebook - and to be fair, other social networking sites - is a magnet for kids. The risk that kids will come to harm via social networking is magnified by the ease with which they can interact with so many people so quickly. Although Facebook has security tips for teens, these risks remain. They range from embarrassment to exploitation, bodily injury and death:
- As with sexting, kids risk violating laws or school rules by posting compromising pictures of themselves, even without the involvement of others
- Of greater concern, kids risk meeting - virtually and/or in person - predators who want to exploit children, for their own gratification or for illicit commercial purposes, like child porn or child sex trafficking
Accordingly, Facebook is also a magnet for lawsuits related to kids’ activities there. It’s not just underage users slipping through the account opening process. For instance, a California class action lawsuit claims that Facebook violates California privacy laws by getting kids to endorse ("like") products and services there without parental consent.
Parents obviously must take responsibility for keeping kids away from temptation. But the law has long recognized what’s called the "attractive nuisance" doctrine. This holds landowners liable for unintentionally luring children to harm with things like unguarded swimming pools. It’s not a stretch to hold owners of online properties, like Facebook, to a similar standard.
Related Apps for Your Smartphone*
- Katango – Organizes your Facebook friends "auto-magically." Free
- Family GPS Tracker – Track location of family members using GPS and learn the location of sex offenders in your neighborhood. Free
- FBI Child Safety App – Helps find missing or abducted children. Free
*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor Lawyers.com endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.
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