Kim Kardashian is no stranger to kontroversy, but when she posted an adorable photo of her kids North and Saint in the bath, she waded into some especially hot water. We won’t bother repeating some of the more disapproving Insta-comments, but suffice it to say they had more sting than baby shampoo in the eye. It all begs the question: Even if we don’t post them to our 111 million followers, is it ever safe, in the digital age, to take pics of our babies amidst the bubbles? And if not, how are we supposed to embarrass them during their wedding day slideshows? Here, experts and opinionators weigh in.
Oh, come on. It’s innocent!
BabyCenter blogger Stacie Lewis feels zero shame about celebrating—and documenting—her baby’s squishy tush. She writes: On my daughter May’s first birthday, I took a roll of photos of her in her birthday suit. That night, I posted one of her, in all her glory, on Facebook. After I posted the photo, I received a message from my sister. She did not feel comfortable with it. I think she even asked me if I realized I had posted the photo…Aunt Carrie, if you are reading this, I meant it. I posted the photo and I took great pride in those dimpled cheeks. But, I don’t think you will be too happy with me now, because I’m posting it again. With pleasure! Look away now if you don’t want to see a photo of the cutest baby butt ever. Like my sister, many people feel uncomfortable with public displays of naked babies...Here’s what I think: no big deal. My parents posted a naked photo of me on the wall in our hallway. As a girl, I begged them to take mine down because I was embarrassed. They refused. As rightly they should have. It is a baby photo! It’s not one of me naked at 14 years old. Some people are frightened that some nebulous pervert will a get ahold of the photo. I just don’t see that happening. Fears and reality are two different things. I’m not prepared to let a vague fear control whether my friends and relatives get a glimpse of my daughter’s adorable tush. Besides, there are privacy settings on Facebook. Use them if you feel the need. What bothers me most about this side of the argument is how it implies that a baby’s body is in some way obscene. I feel the total opposite. There is nothing more divine in the world. It’s time we stopped allowing our fears to dictate how we celebrate the most beautiful people in the world to us.”
No photo is worth the risk
Writes lawyer Aditi Mukherji on family law blog FindLaw, “While busting parents for naked baby photos is a relatively new phenomenon with sweeping legal gray areas…there have been incidents of parents getting arrested for posting photos of their children in a state of, shall we say, undress. What's troubling is that many of the supposedly ‘incriminating’ photos may not raise red flags for many (if not most) parents—especially if they're just bath-time photos or artistic photo ops. For example, one Utah couple was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after, police said, the mother took photos of the child's father sexually abusing their infant son. The charges were ultimately dropped after investigators determined the images were actually harmless post-bath-time photos. A similar ordeal happened to an Arizona couple. There have been a handful of such cases over the past few years and though most of the charges were eventually dropped, the damage to the parents' reputations and jobs was done. The rule of thumb: If the photo-op flirts with child abuse or endangerment or seems remotely susceptible to being misconstrued as child pornography, don't take or share such photos.” Legal experts also advise nothing below the waist should be photographed—or shared—ever.