I am going to be a bit explicit so if that bothers you don’t read on.
Photos can be fun. And our kids love to take silly funny photos. But for some, the line between what is OK and what is not needs to be explained. Despite the dangers of inappropriate photographs, I know of few parents who have talked to their pre-teen and young teens about what pictures should never be taken.
I have been sad all morning. Let me tell you why. As a person who puts up photos on flickr I watch who “favorite” my pictures, especially the ones of children. If the person seems creepy, I block them. Fortunately, there are not loads of such people (I have blocked 7 people over the last year), but they do exist. This morning I was checking out a person who seemed to “favorite” many young boys (all clean pictures but concentration of interest in one gender and a small age range is creepy) so I further checked him out by looking at who he “followed.” One of the names seemed suspicious so I clicked on it. What came up, still haunts me.
It is not the first time such inappropriate pictures have come up, and each time they are equally disturbing. In this case it was a boy, but I know both boys and girls need to be warned. The boy looked about 11 or 12. He had nothing on except a hat worn backwards, standing in front of his bathroom mirror holding his phone out to take the picture, obviously after having aroused himself. Seriously, what disturbed me even more was the boy was so young that he was clearly in the very beginning of Tanner Stage 2. Moms and Dads, I have read articles stating that sexting is the new “right of passage” equal to previous middle school sexual play such as “flashing,” “mooning,” and “petting.” But unfortunately, instead of being embarrassed later, then simply moving on as the memories of such stupidity fade, these pictures are out of your control and ready to be shared with the world.
Some of these pictures land in the hands of really creepy people who like to pass them around for a long, long time. Some are used for “revenge” after a nasty “break up.” The problem is once the picture is sent it is completely, 100% out of your control.
- Talk to your kids about what pictures they are allowed to take on their phones and iPods. Please don’t assume they know what is OK. Only send pictures you don’t mind having your mom, dad and all your friends seing. PERIOD!
- Let them know their bodies are not something to be ashamed of. Many boys and girls are proud of their new sexual organ size. Assure them that this is all part of growing up and getting them ready for a fruitful and blessed marriage. But proud or not – NO PICTURES!
- Also, let them know to tell you if anyone takes an inappropriate picture of them.
- Finally tell them that if they do make a mistake, please come to you, that you will be disappointed, but will still love them no matter what and will willingly help them.
There – that is off my mind.
P.S. About 3 hours later I went to find the picture again to report the picture and person to flickr and it was already down. Thank you flickr!