Child Welfare, Parental Responsibility and Parental Responsibility, Part 2

Parental care measures in connection with the use of digital media

Pursuant to §§ 1626, para. 1, 1631, para. 1 PGI, the right and at the same time the duty of parents who have custody is provided for the care, upbringing and supervision of their child. This also includes protection against risk and against threats from third parties in the digital world. The exercise of parental responsibility should serve the best interests of the child.

The task of the above-mentioned parents requires that the parents inform themselves about the functions of the messenger and social media and, for example, test the social networks themselves. Up to the child’s teenage years, parents are allowed to make overall and mutual decisions for the sake of the child’s well – being and only give their child access to digital media that corresponds to the child’s age group. The parents also have a great deal of leeway in terms of the toddler’s length of use and surfing behavior and are allowed to set limits to prevent the negative consequences of excessive screen time for the child’s physical and mental health. .

If the child is already able to understand the instructions on possible dangers and risks of using social media, the parents can inform their child and concretely explain the potential consequences of careless handling of private information in the digital world. It could also be discussed, for example, what specific information the child intends to publish and what image they want to convey of themselves online. The same goes for friends on social media.

The parents must also take into account § 1626, para. The crucial thing here is that the parents do not “over his head“decide. Again, this is equivalent to that the concept of child protection, according to which parents who have custody should only take measures that are only for the child’s mental and physical development. Therefore, for example, the arbitrary limitation of screen time for young people who use their smartphones (even excessively) will be inappropriate and hardly enforced. The older the child is, the more important the child’s own will plays.

Child parent monitoring and parental control apps

Furthermore, the parents can also use technical means, such as Parental control apps control the use of social media and children’s access to content that is potentially detrimental to children’s well-being, thereby exercising their oversight. The technical means like positioning software, trackers, checking browser history typically generate reports to parents about usage time and also require parental consent when purchasing and downloading apps.

On the one hand, it allows parents to stay up to date. On the other hand, the protection of children against attacks by third parties cybergrooming and before
content that glorifies violence and is xenophobic.

Sometimes such programs and devices even allow the tracking of the child’s location. With the app, a geographical area can be defined where the child must stay.

The complete monitoring of the chat history, geographical location and the parents’ control over the child’s surfing behavior must also be their borders have and may be problematic in relation to data protection legislation.

Above all, it is controversial whether the provisions of the GDPR apply in such cases. It is argued that parental supervision and control are covered by the so-called household exemption in Article 2 (1).

Even if this were to be confirmed, then have Children have the right to protection and respect their privacy and intimacy (So ​​called. General personal rights, Article 2, para. 1, in conjunction with Article 1, para. 1 GG). Therefore, the parents also have this evaluation of the constitution exercises parental responsibility.

Provided that the provisions of the GDPR are nevertheless applicable, the question of the effectiveness of the child’s consent arises. Consent, which is voluntary and informed, is a key instrument in the Data Protection Act.

Pursuant to Article 6 (1) 1, point 1, letter a) GDPR, the processing of personal data is only lawful if, among other things, the data subject has given his consent to the processing.

One effective consent assumes that the data subject voluntarily and in more informed Way indicates that she accepts the processing of her data, art. 7 GDPR. However, giving the child consent is legal if the child is already 16 years old. If the child in question has not yet reached the age of 16, he or she is not yet in a position to gain insight and is therefore not in a position to give consent under Article 8 (1). 1, point 1 GDPR. Therefore, parental consent is required. Here, however, rules of representation often apply, namely that the parents cannot effectively represent their children if they have to give their consent themselves. Due to the conflict of interest, the lack of consent of the child in question cannot be replaced by the consent of the parents who have custody.

The use of social media entails significant risks for children and young people’s well-being and personality development. However, avoiding these dangers and risks would only be possible with complete supervision, which is also not compatible with the goal of the child developing into a responsible person.

Therefore only one low threshold monitoring through the parents in appointment with the child, which relates to the use of certain applications or offers on the Internet or to control the scope of communication.

Extensive monitoring of the child’s use behavior and control of the content of communication without the child’s will is only permitted if there are concrete indications that the child’s well-being is at risk (eg sleep disturbances, social withdrawal in connection with the use of social media, etc.) .

A general exclusion from participation in relevant networks – especially the elderly – young people will be to take into account integrative Effect inappropriate for this kind of participation in social life and difficult to enforce.

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