As we look forward to sharing young people’s stories, we bear in mind that it’s the stories that matter, not their identities. As such, Skills Maishani has now joined the #OVEREXPOSED campaign initiated by Chance for Childhood. This campaign couldn’t have come at a better moment, as we have witnessed how frequently children’s photographs have been used over the years to support claims made in projects and to raise awareness of the situation of children. Which raises the issue? Can we tell their stories without revealing too much about them? We affirm that we can. We should be sufficiently moved by the stories themselves to provide a secure and caring environment for children in our culture. An orphaned child. A teenage mother. A boy in despair. All children need to be protected, but identity protection is more crucial now because we live in a digital age and the internet never forgets.
Methods of ensuring Identity Protection
It is paramount for parents or guardians of the children to be informed of the intention to publicize their children’s images/videos on social media or organisation’s website. Before giving consent, they must comprehend the reasons, the risks and the outcome of such publication.
Note; parental involvement should not be obtained through coercion or bribery.
Use of distorted Images
Another method of assuring child protection is to distort the minor’s facial characteristics in photos by capturing them at a distance or blurring the images to make the minor(s) unrecognizable.
Concealing the faces
The minors can cover their faces with their hands in a fashionable gesture or turn around such that only the back is visible.
The Code of Conduct developed by the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD) working in the areas of emergency relief, long term development and development education, was developed to offer organisations a guiding principle to assist them in effectively communicating their programmes in a manner that embodies values of human dignity.
Code of Conduct on Images and Messages
Choices of images and messages will be made based on the paramount principles of:
- Respect for the dignity of the people concerned;
- Belief in the equality of all people;
- Acceptance of the need to promote fairness, solidarity and justice.
With the Code of Conduct in place, all organisations should make an effort to embrace the values of human dignity in their operations.
By choosing to support the overexposed campaign, we are pledging to reshape thinking on how minor’s images are used and put an end to unethical use of images and stories of minors.