Consent for sharing photos and videos
- Consent is the informed and freely given agreement to engage in an activity, or permission for a specific thing to happen.
- You should always seek consent before sharing a photo or video.
- Consent is ongoing. Even if someone has said yes to an image being posted, they can change their mind and retract their consent.
- If someone asks you to remove a photo or video, you should do it no questions asked.
What is consent when it comes to sharing photos and videos?
If you’re going to share any images or videos online, it’s best to make sure the people who are featured in the photos or videos are OK with it too. Ask yourself, ‘Do I have consent or permission to share a photo or video of someone?’
When it comes to getting consent before uploading or sharing photos or videos, here is what you need to know.
Tips for consent to share photos and videos
Ask before taking the photo or video
When recording someone, it’s important to check your intentions. Are you taking an image to mock someone? Are they comfortable having their image taken? If they aren’t, it’s probably best to put the phone or camera away.
Ask before sharing photos of people and respect their decision
It’s that simple! If they say they’re uncomfortable with a photo, then respect their decision.
If someone asks you to remove an image or video of them, do it
Respecting the choices and decisions your mates make about their personal privacy means they are more likely to respect your choices and decisions too.
Follow your instincts and be smart about what you post
If you don’t feel good about posting a photo or video of someone because you think it could have long term consequences for them, don’t post it.
Remember: Once you post or share something, you can lose control of the content. This can have devastating consequences or impact the mental health of people who may not have wanted the image to be shared in the first place. It could even mean that you, or your friends, miss out on jobs or other opportunities in the future.
Find out more about your digital footprint.
Be an upstander
If you see someone recording, or taking a photo of someone else without their consent, and you feel comfortable and safe to do so, you can help the person being targeted. This is called being an upstander.
- Check in on the person who appears in the image or video. If someone’s image has been shared without their consent and you know the person who is being targeted, reach out to them. Let them know you have their back and make sure they are OK.
- Stop the sharing of embarrassing and inappropriate content of others. If someone sends you a photo or video that you know would be embarrassing for the person in it, don’t forward it to other people. Break the chain of disrespect. You can also tell the person who originally sent it to you to stop forwarding it on too. This is especially important if the images that were sent to you are nudes.
Something has happened
Ask them to take it down. Let them know that you don’t feel comfortable with the photo and that you’d prefer if they didn’t have it online. If they are your friend, they should respect the choices and decisions you make about your personal privacy.
Check your privacy settings and review tags. You can take charge of what you are tagged in and update settings to either review the photos you are tagged in, or make sure that no-one is able to tag you. You can also update settings to only allow friends to see the photos you are tagged in. Check The eSafety Guide for how to update your privacy settings on different games, apps, websites or other online platforms.
Get help and support. If what has happened is really concerning you and you’re feeling a little out of your depth, talk to a trusted adult. Talking to someone can make it easier to decide what to do and deal with the impact. You can also get help from confidential counselling and support services.
Screenshot, report and block on the platform. The eSafety Guide has information about how to do this on different online platforms. Find advice on how to take a screenshot on Mac, Windows, Android or Apple devices like iPhones or iPads.
If the platform doesn't help, make a report to eSafety. If the content they have shared is causing you distress or harm, you may be experiencing cyberbullying. Learn more about what you can expect and how to make a report.
If they have shared intimate photos or videos of you without your consent, this is image-based abuse, and you can report to eSafety straight away. Learn more about what you can expect and how to make a report.
Call it out. If you feel confident and safe to do so, say something to the person who has shared the content and let them know that sharing such content without consent is not OK.
Reach out to the person in the image or video. Let the person know that they’re not alone, and that you support them. Even a simple message can help, such as, ‘Hey are you OK? I saw what was posted, and I want you to know that I support you.’ Learn more on how to be an upstander, not a bystander.
Delete the image or video. If you have received an image or video that you didn’t ask for, delete it.
Get help and support. If the content is really concerning you and you’re feeling a little out of your depth, talk to a trusted adult. You may feel like you should be able to handle it yourself, but talking to someone makes it easier to decide what to do and deal with the impact. You can also seek help from confidential counselling and support services.
Last updated: 07/12/2023