Dad Sues Facebook Over 12-Year-Old Daughter’s Nude Photos
Yes, we’re all aware of the dangers of social media sites like Facebook. Not only can you find yourself accidentally viewing photos of a former colleague’s best friend’s awkward-looking goddaughter (“Isn’t she just precious?” Blech) – but there are more pressing issues, too, like the fact that underage kids are flocking to these sites and posting provocative photos that have the potential to attract pedophiles in hordes.
An Irish father is suing Facebook over just that. He claims that his 12-year-old daughter has been put at risk from pedophiles after posting sexually suggestive photos on Facebook, reports the Evening Herald. How exactly is that Facebook’s problem? According to this father’s lawyer, Hilary Carmichael, the site doesn’t have any checks in place to ensure that children are over the permitted age of 13 when they open an account.
According to the suit, filed this week, the father already shut down his daughter’s profile once, but she went an opened a new account – as teens and tweens are wont to do. (As an aside, the girl reportedly has behavioral problems and lives in a voluntary care institution.) The Evening Herald piece says she’s receiving more requests for photos from adult men, along with sexually explicit messages. Carmichael says that in the existing photos, the girl “appears heavily made-up, she appears in a provocative pose and she appears much older than her 12 years.”
The landmark case raises a very interesting question over whose job it is exactly to protect our children online. Is it parents’ sole responsibility to monitor their children’s activity or should sites like Facebook be equally as accountable in ensuring that their members are indeed of age? Whatever you personally believe, the fact remains that kids are sharing personal information and posting provocative pics like these ones all the time. And even the most involved parent can’t monitor their child’s online activity 24/7 (remember, we’re talking about teens here, not five-year-olds). So it’s a sticky situation, to say the least, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in court.