Every parent's been here: You're having a lovely day out with your little one, perhaps watching them sip their fluffy, admiring how they really are growing up, when out of nowhere, they lose their sh*t.

Often, there's not a hell of a lot you can do about it. As your little ball of supersonic shrieks and red-faced fury thrashes around, passers by either pretend not to notice, or offer a consoling smile.

Or, they film them.

That's what happened to one Auckland mum's little boy when he had a temper tantrum in public recently.


Speaking to the Herald, the mother explained that her toddler was out with his grandmother when he had a pretty monumental meltdown.

"There were a lot of lovely people trying to console him. One man came out of a store with a lollipop for him.

"Then my mother looked up and saw a woman getting her phone out. It was a complete invasion of my son's privacy."

When the incident was relayed to her, the little boy's mum was upset and wanted to take action.

"I just immediately became really upset. My son was out of control, in a distressed state. What was the purpose of [filming him]? I'd like to think it was just a lapse in judgement."

She was able to figure out who the woman was and confronted her.

"She was apologetic for causing upset but it seemed she still didn't realise what she'd done."

Asking to see the woman's phone to make sure the footage had been deleted, she was told there was "nothing on there". The woman told her she had been "too far away" and was only filming the boy's tantrum to show her own daughter.


Later the mother of the little boy took to Facebook to share what had happened with her friends. She says she felt validated by their reactions.

"They were horrified. I wonder if technology is moving so fast and people's moral compasses haven't caught up?"

While it may be agreed it's distressing to think someone has filmed your child, what right does a parent have legally if they find themselves in this situation?

Bell Gully media & privacy lawyer, Evie Bello explains that "there is no limitation on the rights of a member of the public to film" in public if what they're recording doesn't "reveal anything more than what could have been observed by a passer-by".

In fact, if she'd wanted to, the woman who took the video would also be within her rights to publish what she'd filmed. That's because the content would not "disclose any fact in respect of which there could be a reasonable expectation of privacy ..."

Under New Zealand's Privacy Act 1993, taking photos or recordings in public places by individuals in a personal capacity is not prohibited.