A few months ago I met up with a friend of mine who is famous – or should I say popular – on Instagram. She is known for her writings, inspiring photos and positive messages, and she was telling me why she chose not to post any pictures of her daughter. She was telling me about how one famous person kept posting photos of their younger sister only to regret it later as the sister kept being stopped for photos while out shopping.
My friend made the decision after a lot of research on the topic and readings, and decided it was best for her daughter not to post her photos, as her daughter did not have a say on whether she would like to be famous or not in Kuwait. This got me thinking on how important it is to have a law to help parents with these choices.
The ministry of justice, public prosecution and juvenile prosecution have established guidelines for parents, especially as it can be tough for parents to deal with social media and to figure out what is really best for their children, especially when these parents have stable jobs because of social media.
Beneficial or not
Question: Who decides what is and is not beneficial? And what about the legal ramifications?
Fajer: This will be up to the prosecution to decide on what is beneficial or not to both the child and the community. An example was given of promoting charity work or promoting an educational product or service. The legal punishments were not highlighted in the guidelines, as these punishments will be according to other laws that protect children. From last week, many parents have been called in for investigations by the public prosecution office.
Question: What about children that are famous already, like child actors? Also, there are a lot of influencers who have accounts for their kids that are managed by them. What about those accounts?
Fajer: The guidelines clearly state that children with talents can share those talents, even if that means gaining fame (article 8), but there are a lot of restrictions stated in the other articles, such as:
It is not permitted to publish images of children or produce such images of children or share such images of children that are against the norms of society. For example, making children dress or apply makeup that is not appropriate for their age.
Children cannot be used for adults to gain fame or monetary benefits.
Children cannot be put through any emotional abuse by any images that may humiliate them.
Comments that are negative towards the child must be deleted.
Question: If I see Instagram accounts of children, where can I report them?
Fajer: For now you can report such accounts to both Instagram and the juvenile prosecution.
For questions or queries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed