The not-so-secret life of five-year-olds: legal and ethical issues relating to disclosure of information and the depiction of children on broadcast and social media.

Marion Oswald, Helen James, Emma Nottingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Widespread concerns around the privacy impact of online technologies have corresponded with the rise of fly-on-the-wall television documentaries and public-by-default social media forums allowing parallel commentary. Although information about children has traditionally been regarded by society, law and regulation as deserving of particular protection, popular documentaries such as Channel 4′s ‘The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 year olds’ raise questions as to whether such protections are being deliberately or inadvertently eroded in this technological ‘always-on’ online age. The article first describes the documentary series and the results of an analysis of related Twitter interaction. It considers responses to freedom of information requests sent to the public bodies involved in the series with the aim of establishing the ethical considerations given to the involvement of the children. The paper goes on to explore the privacy law context; the wider child law issues, the position of parents/carers and the impact of broadcast codes. It considers if lessons can be learned from how decisions in the medical context have dealt with issues of best interests in decision-making and in disclosure of information concerning the child. The paper concludes that additional legal and ethical safeguards are needed to ensure that the best interests of children are properly considered when images and information are exposed on broadcast and social media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-228
JournalJournal of Media Law
Volume8
Issue number2
Early online date13 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The not-so-secret life of five-year-olds: legal and ethical issues relating to disclosure of information and the depiction of children on broadcast and social media.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this