When Gwyneth Paltrow posted a mother-daughter selfie with 14-year-old Apple on Instagram during the week, the replies from her famous mates came rolling in.
"Sweet XXX," wrote Jennifer Garner.
"That face," said Elle Mcpherson.
Apple, however, was less than impressed.
"Mom we have discussed this," she commented under the snap. "You may not post anything without my consent."
"You can't even see your face!" Paltrow wrote back.
Apple bites back on Instagram. Photo: Instagram
The exchange has divided Paltrow's 5.3 million followers, with some saying, "Consent? What? She's her mother, she can post what she likes". And others saying, "Let the paparazzi-hounded girl have her privacy."
Some instagrammers even labelled Apple, "spoilt", "a brat" and "disrespectful" for not being thrilled by her mother's post.
"I'm honestly disgusted by all the "have some respect, child" comments on here," one mum argued in a mic drop of a defense. "Do you have 5m followers? Are you constantly in the public eye? No? Then sure, I bet it's not a huge issue for you to post pictures of your children whenever you want. Apple did not choose to be in the public eye, she was born into it, and she has the right to dictate where her image goes, especially when it comes to her mother's very popular Instagram account."
Adding that Apple's own account is private, suggesting that the teen prefers to have some control over her image, the comment continues, "For those of you who are saying she should have spoken to her about it privately, it seems like she has in the past and it hasn't done anything so she's trying a new tactic of calling her mother out publicly. Adults are not immune to making stupid decisions and, honestly, I think the only disrespectful thing here is Gwyneth not sticking to an agreement that she had with her daughter.
"It's a beautiful picture, but it was posted without the consent of one of the people in it and that, no matter what age they are, is wrong."
The comments speak to an issue that's increasingly relevant in a digital world: should parents be asking for consent before posting images of their kids online?
We may not be celebrities, but when it comes to Aussie parents, a 2018 survey conducted by cybersecurity company McAfee, found that 60 per cent of mums and dads don't consult their child before sharing an image and 37 per cent believe they have the right to post those snaps without asking their little ones first.
It's an issue explored in depth in a 2016 paper, "Sharenting: Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media," which highlighted the need for parents to be given "healthy rules of thumb" when it comes to making online disclosures about their children.
And one of those rules was that children should ultimately have "veto power" over what their parents share.
"Through sharenting, or online sharing about parenting, parents now shape their children's digital identity long before these young people open their first email," wrote lead author Stacey Steinberg, warning that the disclosures parents make online are "sure to follow their children into adulthood".
And while she noted that "untangling the parent's right to share his or her own story and the child's right to enter adulthood free to create his or her own digital footprint" is a daunting task, it's one we need to take seriously.
"Parents must consider the overall effect sharing has on a child's psychological development," Seinberg wrote in her paper. "Children model the behaviour of their parents, and when parents constantly share milestones, monitor their social media accounts for likes and followers, and seek out recognition for what was once considered mundane daily life, children take note."
As such, Seinberg and co-author, Pediatrician Bahareh Keith, suggested the follow tips:
- Parents should familiarise themselves with the privacy policies of the sites they're using.
- When sharing an issue such as a "behavioural struggle" they're experiencing with a child, parents should post anonymously.
- Children should have "veto power" over what parents share online including: images, quotes, accomplishments and challenges.
- Parents should never share pictures that show a child in a state of undress.
- Parents should never list their child's location in a post.