Paranoid Parenting: Worrying Too Much About Perverts And Naked Pictures

One of the weirdest things about modern parenting is the demise of the naked baby picture. When I was a kid, they were all around. My parents took shots of my siblings and I when we were taking baths or running naked outside (as kids are wont to do). It was no big deal.

But something happened. Naked pictures of babies just completely went away. I admit that even I haven’t taken any of my kids. I love following Lenore Skenazy at Free-Range Kids. She teaches parents that they don’t need to hover constantly over their children or fear imaginary threats.

Recently, one mom wrote into her site to say that she didn’t realize how soon free-range parenting philosophy would come into play. She said that she had posted a picture on Facebook of her infant on his tummy on a towel, diaper free. A concerned ex-co-worker wrote her about the picture, suggesting that pedophiles could get their hands on the photo.

The mom wrote back:

Oh, you can’t see his front bits. I’m not worried. Perverts can make something sexual out of ANYTHING. Even feet, or eating cake. We lock our doors at night, try not to drop our baby on his head, and don’t look for babysitters on Craigslist. Most sexual abuse happens with family members, friends, and teachers/ religious leaders, etc. So the best thing we can do for Ari is make sure that growing up he feels comfortable talking to us and is raised to fearlessly express his boundaries. In addition, crimes of that nature in this country have actually gone DOWN in the past 20 years. I respectfully appreciate your concern but life’s to short to deprive my family members of that cute little tush. ”” A Less-Worried Mom

Way to go, Mom! It made me want to go take pics of my babies’ cute tushes right then (although, sheepishly I must admit, I didn’t).

The ex-coworker’s statement reminds me of an incident that happened in my neighborhood last year. On Halloween, a mother took her daughter — dressed as Little Bo Peep or something — around for trick or treating. At one house, an older couple took her picture. The mother was horrified, but said nothing. The next day she wrote into our list-serv about her fears that she was worried they were internet perverts. She tracked them down and demanded the picture. The flustered husband said his wife had the camera and the mother just kind of flipped out.

But what I could never understand was what, exactly, would be a problem with someone having a picture of your daughter dressed up in costume? I mean, it’s just bizarre to worry so much about what people might do with that photo, right? Or what am I missing?

In the meantime, I give two thumbs up for naked baby butts.

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