Mother furious after stranger videos her child's tantrum

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An angry Auckland mother is calling for tighter privacy laws around filming children after her son was filmed while having a tantrum.

The mother, who asked not to be named, says her 3-year-old son was out with his grandmother in an Auckland suburb when he had a tantrum on the footpath.

Another woman started filming the screaming boy on her mobile phone.

The grandmother went to the photographer and told her that was unacceptable and the video should be deleted.

"The woman tried to justify it by saying that she wanted to share the video with her daughter because her granddaughter has meltdowns, but nothing like this," the mum says.

"I was extremely upset and angry to think that this woman thought it acceptable to film [her son] when he was so distressed, for the purposes of sharing it with her family – so they could all feel better about themselves because – look at this kid!"

The mum says she worked out who the photographer was and confronted her.

She says the woman still tried to explain that she was trying to capture his scream to show her daughter.

The woman confirmed the video had been deleted but only because it had worked out badly because she was standing too far away.


The mum says she believes tighter rules are needed on what can and can't be filmed/photographed when young kids are concerned.

"This is not her child and she has no right to record him, let alone share it further."

Submissions are being held on a new Privacy Bill to replace the Privacy Act. But under the act, the filming of the tantrum by the other woman is legal.

Privacy Foundation NZ acting chair Gehan Gunasekara says he gets questions about rights over filming of others all the time.

The Auckland University associate law professor says in this case whether the photographer agreed to stop filming and deleting the video came down to "good manners" rather than a legal requirement.

Individuals can film others if they are doing it for personal reasons and "a reasonable person would not find it highly offensive".

He says in this case the reason seems a bit flimsy but it's still likely to be legal.

Gunasekara says some might think filming another person's child's tantrum crosses the line, but he suspects a reasonable person would not think it "highly offensive".

"If somebody was defecating or naked and you had filmed that person, that would fall within offensive and wouldn't have the protection of the Privacy Act," he says.

Gunasekara says this case is more about social etiquette. 

"We'd reflect views of the Privacy Commissioner and say if it's upsetting someone then don't do it.

"But then if you film a neighbour throwing garbage on your property and your filming offends them, but you need to do it, then that is tough."