Those of you over 50 likely remember the Coppertone ad from our youth:
During its heyday, this ad was considered cute. Sweet. Humorous. But we were a different society then.
Nobody owned personal computers. Social Media wasn’t a phrase. Facebook’s founder hadn’t even been born yet. And porn was a word most commonly used with the word corn – as in corn pone. (If you are under 50, you’ll have to look it up. Lord knows I’ve had to learn enough of your lingo. It’ll do you good to learn some of mine.)
But, you know how the saying goes, times they be a changing. And porn is an increasing health hazard in our culture.
In an effort to protect its users, Facebook has started policing itself. (I wish Twitter would figure out a way to make Twitter a safe environment. Don’t even get me started on Reddit).
This approach to self-govern by Facebook has apparently upset a Hickory, North Carolina photographer who got censored after she attempted to replicate the vintage ad with her own version.
Facebook blocked Jill White after requesting that she remove the photo for violation of its nudity and pornography codes. White failed to take the photo down and did not change her privacy settings per Facebook’s requirements, so they blocked her.
The matter was resolved and her account restored after Ms. White put a smiley face over the exposed bum in question.
This may seem like much ado about nothing given that one click on the Huffington Post news sight or the Daily Beast is far more likely to assault a person with porn than this sort of vintage shot does.
I have quit reading many online sites for that very reason. I don’t like having someone’s boobies pressed up against my face every time I click online.
Maybe it’s the old cop reporter in me, but many a day I have wondered what a parent was thinking when they’ve posted photos of their children taking baths or swimming nude.
Most parents I know are gracious enough to block out their children’s privates before posting, thankfully. But they often make the mistake of thinking there is nothing wrong with posting the nude photo of the child laying on their belly, exposing the bum in full view.
If they had spent the time in courtrooms that I have, they would never, ever in a million years consider posting photos of their children in any form of undress.
You don’t have to be an investigative reporter or work the crime beat to know that there are a lot of tormented people in the world. People with obsessions that are growing greater as ease of access widens.
I probably notice this more than the average person, having reported on my fair share of child sex abuse cases here in rural Oregon. And I am not one to think that this nudity rule should only apply to girls. Little boys are just as susceptible.
Parents need to be aware that when they post a photo online, that child’s likeness can be downloaded by any individual with access to a computer. So it may not just be the NSA spying on you and your kids. It might be the pedophile down the road.
Does that alarm you?
The first job of any parent is to protect their child. We live in a society in which the lines between what is public and what is private are no longer blurred – they are completely erased.
They don’t even exist.
It’s as if we are inviting complete strangers into our home and giving them access to our children.
Ms. White may feel that Facebook has taken on the role of enforcement officer by insisting that she remove the photo or at least tighten up her privacy settings.
Perhaps, but if that’s true, it may be for her own good and the good of her children.
We should all reconsider our behavior in this matter. Ultimately, it is our children’s privacy and protection we are putting at risk.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Karly Sheehan: The true crime story behind Karly’s Law.