Rachel Kolisi won't show her kids faces on social media anymore, and more parents should follow suit

In a country where good news is few and far between, it's hard to put into words exactly how we as a country feel about our 2019 Rugby World Cup victory.  

And if by some miracle, you managed to miss history in progress, here it is again: 

 

The Boks have managed to get everyone and their grandma all up in their feels, and the only thing that set off our waterworks more than Captain Siya Kolisi's emotional post-match speech was the skipper's special family moments that we got to see on the field. 

Supported by his dad, wife and children, SA's MVP has instantly become an inspirational figure the world over, and with the team set to arrive back home in a day or two, just imagine the pandemonium. 

But while we may be swept up in a feeling that has become all but foreign to us, we have to be mindful that national pride cannot excuse invasion of privacy. 

Even national treasures have a right to privacy, especially children. 


Also see: The real problem with posting about your kids online? More people than you know are seeing your private accounts

The Kolisi kids

Speaking early in October to her Instagram following via the platform's Stories feature, Rachel Kolisi responded to queries about her new photo protocol when snapping her kids. 

Noticing that Rachel had begun to share pictures of her kids where their faces were mostly hidden, followers asked the mom of four to explain. 

Citing privacy reasons, Rachel said, "We couldn't walk around in public without being recognised. We didn't have privacy any more so I decided to just stop posting them."

Elaborating further, Rachel said that people stopping the family requesting a picture was becoming "too much" for her young family. 

"It was just getting too much. They started getting stopped and asked to take pictures, and they didn't like it," she said. 

Given that none of the Kolisi kids are older than 15, it's easy to see why Rachel has become more keen on keeping them out of the limelight. 

And famous or not, children are not public property

Her take on how she'll be sharing photos of her children is nothing new to the celeb world, with others including singer Adele, actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds (to mention just a few) opting to do the same. 

What are the dangers?

Sharenting refers to the tendency by parents to overshare about their kids on social media, and it's a growing phenomenon. Many parents use it as a way to record precious memories, share their experiences and keep extended family up to date, but there are dangers associated with putting pics of your family online for all to see.

"What is private today is not going to be private tomorrow," warns Emma Sadlier, social media lawyer and director of The Digital Law Company. In essence, she advises that if you wouldn’t want something splashed on a billboard at a busy intersection, then you shouldn’t let it exist in any digital format.

"You have to remember that, when it comes to social media, you’re dealing with companies that give you a service for free and, therefore, don’t owe you anything," says the local author of two books on the dangers of social media. 

In short, oversharing on social media can result in information about your children, and your family, landing in the wrong hands. Whether this is the database of a massive advertiser or the WhatsApp messages of a local kidnapping ring, it's better to stay safe than sorry.  

If sharing is your thing, none-the-less, Sadlier says the most important thing is for parents to ensure that they have the most private account possible. "Your online presence (or your child’s online presence) needs to be a private space," she urges. 

What the law says

Regardless of fame, all parents are backed by the law in enforcing their children's right to privacy, stipulated "in the Children's Act, as well as in case law and common law." 

Earlier this year, Parent24 spoke with LAW FOR ALL about what the law says when strangers take pictures of minors without their parent's permission. 

According to the legal experts, taking a photograph of a child without a parent's consent is an invasion of a child's right to privacy. 

As a child's natural guardian, the law does allow a parent to "grant, deny and/or revoke consent for anything that relates to the child, including the child's right to privacy." 

Read more about What to do if strangers take photos of your kids in a public space here

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