When Even Deleted Photos Aren’t Safe, How Do We Protect Our Kids

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jlawNo doubt most (if not all) of you have heard about the latest celebrity nude photo scandal. Some basement-dwelling asshole has released intimate photos of some major female celebrities and is promising to release dozens more of even more women. What is most hideous and terrifying about these newly outed photos of stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kate Upton is not only that these were, of course, photos that were never meant to be shared, but that in some cases these photos had been deleted by the women involved yet were still accessible to hackers through their iCloud accounts. As a mother, how do I teach my kids that even the last illusion of privacy — the deletion of personal photos and videos — is gone?

The reach of technology today terrifies me as a parent. Your kid uploads one dumb video to YouTube, and the entire world can see it. It can be associated with their names for the rest of their lives. Trying to get kids who have no understanding of permanence and no cares about the future is difficult. But with this latest photo hack I am not only reminded again of how very horrible people can be, but that there is nothing anyone can do to keep personal things personal, except not to do them. The thoughtless creeps of the world are winning when we have to police our own behavior in order not to fall prey to them.

Here’s what I’ll need to tell my kids: Don’t take a picture, because you can never really delete it. Don’t take a video, because that’s forever, too. And don’t do anything outside your house that you wouldn’t want the world to see because someone might be taking a picture or video of you. In fact, don’t do anything except sit in your room with the curtains drawn if you want any expectation of privacy.

That. Sucks.

Those women, and my children when they are older, have every right to take pictures like that. They should feel free to share nude photos with their partners or even just with themselves. But now, unless we bring back polaroids, there is no way to do that without accepting that someone you don’t know might get hold of them and put them on the internet. It’s wrong, it’s unfair, and I hate that my children are growing up in a world where their business can be everyone’s business, and where even the most personal things can be used against them by people with no feelings or conscience.

When they find the guy responsible for this, I demand that the police take pictures of his teeny-tiny junk and post it everywhere. Perhaps an eye-for-eye makes all of us blind, but it will also makes some of us think twice before trying to put out another person’s eye in the first place.

(photo: Twitter)