4 tips when posting photos of children online

There are great reasons why social justice organizations or campaigns may want to post images of young people on websites or social media as part of their efforts to educate or influence community members, government officials, and others. There is also great concern about the safety and welfare of children and young people online and protecting their privacy and well-being. 

Here are some tips to help ensure the safety of children and young people when posting images of them online: 

1. Obtain consent. 

For young people under 18, parents or guardians should give permission and clearly understand the purpose of the images and how they will be used. Obtain consent for ALL children pictured as well as from the young people themselves. Communicate with them that you would like to post their pictures, what they will be used for, and where they will be posted.  

2. Show child and young people in action. 

Only use images that are relevant to organizations’ activities, campaigns, or actions. Children or young people should be portrayed doing the work. Selected images should speak directly to the mission, values, and principles of any youth program or social justice action.  

3. Do not reveal children’s personal information.  

There should be no identifying personal information in the image or accompanying the image, such as the child’s or young person's name, address, phone number, and name of school. Group images decrease the risk of isolating, targeting, or identifying individual children or young people. This is especially true if you are using images for a social justice campaign or action involving young people. 

4. Choose images of power.  

What story does the image or caption tell? Images or captions should never dehumanize, racialize, blame, shame, or objectify children or young people. Images should exemplify young people living in their individual and collective power. If you are addressing systemic issues, images or captions should address the system of oppression, naming the impact and effect the system has on children or young people. Images and or captions should never take away agency, self-determination, or personal power of the child or young person.