Why I Won’t Let My Husband Post Bathtub Pics Of Our Kids

A few months ago I noted that 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. Not just of my siblings and me, but I recall seeing pics of babies and little kids — buck naked — running around or in bathtubs. They were found in baby books and photo albums in several houses. I know that all of my friends in high school had old pictures of their nekkidity.

And it was no big deal.

So why did I freak out when my husband almost posted pictures of our girls in a bathtub recently? I mean, the pictures didn’t even show anything below the the shoulder.

The pictures were totally precious and the girls couldn’t have looked cuter. He just wanted to post them on Facebook so family could see. But I really felt uncomfortable by it.

It’s not because, like so many other parents, I imagine a pervert around every corner. I’ve lived enough to know that there are sexual predators and that parents must keep their antennae up for any threat. But neither do I overestimate the actual threat that perverts pose. And I don’t live in fear — a feat considering that I even have members of my family who have been victimized by pervy men.[tagbox tag=”naked baby pictures”]

Now, part of the reason why I didn’t want the pictures shared is because unlike the safety of a baby book, online photos are forever. I don’t mind close friends and family getting updates on what’s going on with my little ones. If it’s a picture of my child dressed in costume or at the playground, I honestly don’t even care if random strangers delight in it. On the other hand, I’m a bit skeeved out about someone delighting in a naked picture of my baby.

A few months ago, I looked at how one mother responded to a coworker’s criticism of her naked baby pics:

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

That is a perfect way to handle the situation and makes me want to have an “I am Spartacus” moment where I post pics of my kids right along with her.

But is this realistic? How much can we safely share online?

Over on Motherlode, Peggy Orenstein is asking just that today, in the context of posting pictures that feature other people’s children. “Do we have the right to impose our decisions about what is public and private on other people’s children?” she asks.

I don’t know, but I do have some control over my own kids.

The real reason why I worry about my husband posting candid shots of our girls, though, has nothing to do with real or imagined predators. It has everything to do with Child Protective Services. I recently wrote about the horror a mom went through after blogging about a dispute she had with her son’s teacher. She basically wanted the teacher to not let her son slide when he messed up and made a bad decision.

And someone who simply didn’t like her writing and her views reported her to CPS and she had to experience each of her children getting queried on precisely how abusive she was. Other moms wrote in to say that they experienced similar horrors and risked losing their children.

I know that there are people who would stop at nothing to mess with people they disagree with. And that terrifies me.

I hate that we live in a world where random strangers have this power, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. And that’s why I freaked out about innocent naked baby pics.

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