Adv René Koraan, an expert in criminal law, is the director for professional development and community engagement at the Faculty of Law on the campus in Potchefstroom.


She was also one of the organisers of the NWU’s awareness march that commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 26 February 2019.


When in doubt, don’t post


René says the truth of the matter is that we seldom – if ever – have control over the use of pictures we post on social media.


“These photos may be used for various purposes, including on a pornographic website. The best we can do is to make sure we protect our children now and in the future from exploitation.


“If your children are big enough to consent, ask them before you post a picture which may embarrass and cause them harm. Remember, even with their consent, you still have the duty to protect them and act in their best interests.


“Whenever in doubt, do not post it.”


Think twice before posting your child’s photos online

Being a doting mom and dad is one of the perks of being a parent and many people want to share their adoration.


Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become virtual “photo albums” easily accessible by anyone — friend or foe.

This year, South Africa is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). These milestones have again brought the importance of protecting the rights of children to the forefront.


NWU & U spoke to Adv René Koraan from the NWU’s Faculty of Law about the importance of protecting children when it comes to posting, displaying or publishing photos.


René says it is important to ask yourself how the photos you post online can be perceived.


“We live in a dangerous world where not everyone has noble intentions. Children are vulnerable, and child trafficking and pornography are rife. This is why children must be protected at all times.”


Don’t put your child in jeopardy


She says it is important to make sure that privacy settings – including location settings – on social media platforms are correctly activated. “Don’t put the safety of your child in jeopardy by unwittingly letting people know where they are and what they are doing.


“Do not tag people – even family – in photos of your children. People on their friends’ lists will then also have access to the images.”The information people see in the photos can also lead to a safety risk. René says photos that will identify your street address, your home and even the children’s school should rather be avoided.


‘Cute’ may be exploited


“Innocent photos and sometimes photos which appear to you as the cutest, may be used for exploitation of your child. Photos taken of children playing in the bath or in swimming costumes may be misused.”


This is why parents and guardians should always make sure their children are covered, at least all parts that are considered private. “The law is quite clear on what amounts to child pornography,” she says.


Anyone who is unsure should read section 1 of the Films and Publication Act 65 of 1996, as well as Chapter 1 section 1 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.


“Posting a picture, even if it seems innocent and cute, can impact on the dignity of children.


“The golden rule should always be that whatever you as a parent or family member do should be in the best interest of the child.”





The NWU & U


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These laws protect children


Section 28 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 clearly states that a child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.


It is from this premise that all rights of children flow.


There are also various international and South African regulations that protect the rights of children. They include (but are not limited to) the following:


  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  • The Children's Act 38 of 2005 as amended
  • The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008
  • Criminal Law (sexual offences and related matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.


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