Jersey’s Data Protection Law (DPJL) makes sure that everyone’s personal information is used properly and legally, including children’s. Therefore, it seeks to ensure that images of your children are cared for with respect and likewise it places responsibilities on us all to care for other’s personal information.
The DPJL is not designed to prevent legitimate activity or stop an activity that brings joy to many, but it is designed to protect the rights of all of us and treat individual’s information (including their images) with respect and in a way they are happy with.
We all want to share in the successes and achievements of our children, but there may be circumstances where the child and/or their parents might not be comfortable with the child’s information being made available e.g. on a website or via social media. Similarly, schools also have obligations towards the children in their care.
This article aims to give guidance to both parents and schools alike.
Posting the pictures on social media
The law does not prevent you from doing this, as long as you are sharing this content privately with only family members/friends.
Taking pictures or video footage at the school play
The DPJL is unlikely to prevent you from photographing/filming your own children in their school. Remember, if photos are taken for your own personal use, the law does not apply to you.
As a parent or guardian, however, ask yourself the question: ‘Would I be happy if someone else posted photos of my child on social media without asking me first?’ If your pictures or videos are showing other people’s children – what should you do? What does the law say?
To start with, here are a few basic essentials:
- Common courtesy prevails – consider how you would wish your children or grandchildren to be treated and apply this level of respect to all children. How would you feel if you’d specifically asked that your child’s information was not published, but someone went ahead and did it anyway?
- Start at the beginning and check the rules for recording visual content (photos/videos) at your own school or club. The school may also have its own rules around the taking of photographs/video that may reflect safeguarding policies that have been adopted. Also, some schools make a decision to have an official photographer/videographer at events. If in doubt, check directly with the school.
- Think twice before sharing – make sure that all parties are happy for you to record or share visual content of children publicly. If you aren’t sure, ask.
- Ensure that photos are only capable of being seen by those people you want to see them. Check your profile settings and make sure appropriate restrictions for viewing/downloads are in place.
For nurseries, schools, groups and clubs
If you are taking and using images for school purposes (e.g. pictures of the school nativity which are then published on the school’s Facebook/Instagram account), the DPJL 2018 applies to that activity and you must comply with the law regarding the use of those images. That means that you must have a lawful reason for processing the information and tell people how you will be collecting it, what you are doing with it, who you are sharing it with and why.
Schools should have comprehensive, readily available, and up-to-date data protection policies that detail how you protect your pupils’ personal data (including imagery of them).
- Check that it’s clear to parents/guardians/children what images are going to be taken, when, and how they’re going to be used.
- Do this in advance and allow time for parents/children to ask questions/decline to have their image recorded.
- If an objection is received, make sure a note is kept and that people with responsibility for taking the pictures etc. know who isn’t happy for their images to be recorded/used.
The Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner’s website is packed with data protection guidance and resources for organisations and individuals.