I’m sure you’ve seen it before: You’re scrolling through Facebook—and bam! A butt picture. Your friend’s baby is crawling naked on the floor, bare butt and everything. Then you see another friend’s video of her son taking a bath, never mind that his privates are available for all to see. While I’m not normally a paranoid person, in this case, I don’t think parents should post naked or nearly-naked photos of their kids online.
Regardless of age—from baby up to the teen years—kids’ naked pictures shouldn’t make their way for the public eye to see. Why?
Misuse and abuse of the photographs
The most obvious reason people shouldn’t post naked photos of their kids online is the misuse and abuse of these photos: they can get into the wrong hands. Worst case scenario is some random perv gets a hold of the photos and does who knows what with them.
Even with privacy settings on Facebook, I wouldn’t want anyone—harmless relatives or those with unknown sinister purposes—to be able to download and share pictures of my kids.
Modern times has never been so different with the advent of the internet and its digital archives. Just the other day, I overhead a coworker saying he didn’t take to a particular interviewee after he found some questionable photos of her on social media. And with photos galore, our kids are leaving a long trail of their digital imprints for anyone to see.
These are unlikely cases, but possibilities still. People in high-profile positions haven’t had to deal with a massive digital archive as our kids will face in the future. We have yet to see these circumstances in wide view because the generation who will face them haven’t grown up yet.
Not-so-distant future implications
I mention our kids’ futures as adults, especially the risk of their personal childhood lives exposed against their wishes. But consider your kids’ not-so-distant futures: What happens when they’re in elementary school? Junior high and high school?
Classmates might dig up embarrassing photos and stories of your kids online. And while adults have the temperament to chuckle and find the photos amusing, kids are subject to feel embarrassed or hurt if they find that others have seen their naked photos.
We’re constantly teaching our kids about privacy: Don’t let anyone touch your privates. You have a right to be on your own if you don’t want company. And for older kids, don’t share too much of yourself or your information online. Don’t go with with strangers. Don’t reveal more than you need to.
Yet what about uploading naked photos of them? How can we teach our kids about privacy when we’re doing the opposite?
The other side
Still, I can see the other side to this topic, and I know other people feel it’s fine to post photos of naked kids online. I got into a discussion with a cousin of mine about this, and he brought up several compelling points:
- Even if a child did grow up to be in the limelight like the president, most people wouldn’t castigate him for “posing” nude. They wouldn’t hold it against the child or his parents that naked childhood photos surfaced.
- Adults (including some of us) might not resent our own parents for having taken and shown naked photos of us when we were kids (although I would still argue that a decades-old photo album isn’t the same as an online presence).
- Internet safety is an issue, but living in fear isn’t healthy.
- Another “should” or “shouldn’t” advice adds yet more noise to the already-crowded parenting arena, feeding yet more guilt and fear into our heads.
Want to read more posts about safety and privacy? Check these out:
- 7 Smart Ways to Protect Your Child from Predators
- Child Sexual Abuse: What You Can Do to Protect Your Kids
- Are You Sharing Too Much of Your Kids Online?
As I love discussions, including views similar and different to mine, I turn to you:
What do you think? Do you post naked photos of your kids online? If so, where—social media, blogs, photo programs? Where do you draw the line for what is and isn’t appropriate? Could posting photos of naked kids be all right up to a certain age? Do you think posting photos of kids online now might cause problems for them in their future? Share your opinions in the comments!
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