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Sunday 13 November 2011

Internet Dangers and Photos - You show me yours.....

Having two teenage daughters, I having been having peer-to-peer discussions about this particular phenomenon. To my mind, it is a progression from the "behind the bike sheds" "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours" to a dangerous and perhaps life-long action.

I have talked about the brain trimming in teenagers before and I do understand the whole concept of being "curious" about the opposite sex's plumbing and the "pushing the boundaries".  However, what a lot of people (let alone teenagers) don't understand is once it's out there in the ether, it can never be deleted.  That's right.  When you are a grandparent, your grandchildren could access pictures of you proudly displaying your 14 year old plumbing in close up.  Perhaps by then, we will all be nudists anyway so it won't matter.  Perhaps I am overly protective of my girls.

This leads me on to the difference between parents of teenage boys and teenage girls.  The parents of boys tend to me more "It's just a penis" type of thing, whilst the parents of girls tend towards the horrified.

As the parent of girls, am I perpetuating sexism by being so keen to not have explicit photographs (or videos - gulp!) of them circulating?  Am I reinforcing that they should be ashamed of their semi-clad or naked bodies in some way?  Should they be proud that they look so good and is it natural that they want to share their beauty with the world?  I should add here that neither of my girls have, to my knowledge, taken, let alone sent, any "revealing" photographs of themselves.

Am I being Victorian and prudish about all this?   I think child pornography is a BAD thing.  A really bad thing.  However, these photographs are, for the most part self-portraits and not masterminded by some paedophile ring.  They are a celebration of youth and beauty by the subject themselves.

A difficult dilemma, especially if you are the parents of boys AND girls.


  1. I only read about the sharing of explicit photos by teens last year. I don't have children but I was horrified. Times have changed so much since I was the age of your daughters (early 1980s). I was probably FAR more naive and innocent than most kids of my age, but I'm still pretty sure that MOST teens were more naive and modest that era.

    The internet has changed a lot of things. Risk-taking behaviour is often rife in adolescence, but parents can do something about it. I'm glad you're aware of this Charlotte and I think your girls will be pleased at your cautious attitude in years to come!

  2. An interesting and thoughtful comment Charlotte. Only one point, I didn't dare (or think it right) to click on the link to child pornography, so if I'm missing an important part of the argument just let me know

  3. Marcella

    The child pornography link is to the Wiki definition. I was trying to work out what was child pornography (and prosecutable) and what wasn't. Nothing scary, I promise.

  4. I will hope to delay the discussion as long as possible but maybe I'll ask how they would feel to find photos of their Mum or Dad, from way back when... and would they want future boyfriends/ teachers/ employers/ offspring to see whatever they put out there.
    Bit like a face tattoo... Shock is one thing - self mutilation another.