Please don’t post what photo?
The one of your daughter in the bathtub. Or the one of your son getting dressed. The one you might show your partner or your friend and wonder aloud, “Do you think this is okay to post?”
If you have to ask someone else for their opinion, you already know the answer.
We have all been there. At a doctor’s appointment. In the bathroom. Next to the swimming pool. You snap an adorable picture on your phone or camera. You love your child and this photo now documents a priceless moment in their life, frozen in time. You cannot wait to share it with the world.
Yet sometimes, it is simply not appropriate for the world to see a photo.
Why? It’s an innocent picture.
It may be innocent, but it also only takes seconds to sexualize a child. It only takes one photo to appear on someone’s feed, and for them to suddenly see your child differently than they had before.
Sick! Why would someone even think that?
Well, it’s a good thing that your brain doesn’t operate this way, which means that this thought has not crossed your mind. But this also means you have never considered the potential risk to which your child is being exposed.
I am here to tell you that not thinking of this risk is a privilege. I am not blaming you for this privilege. If anything, I am jealous. This means you have never had to respond to an incident where a child has been harmed in unspeakable ways, or you have never had to question the person who could be responsible for these unspeakable things.
Or as a child, you were never the victim of something unspeakable yourself.
Once this type of experience becomes a part of your life, you never forgot it. It makes the world seem like an uglier place, causing you to see it through a different lens. You have a constant guard up, as your memory reminds you that anyone has the potential to hurt a child.
Yet even though there are deep scars left by these devastating experiences, there is a sort of advantage in seeing through this lens, or being reminded of this guard. Your senses are heightened. Your mama/papa bear reflexes are on point. You scrutinize your decisions more carefully, and you try to come up with ways to remind other caregivers of the ugliness that can be subtly present all around us.
So let this serve as my reminder. If you’re still trying to process what is written above, that’s okay, but I caution you not to try to make sense of it all. The truth is that this sort of pain inflicted on a child simply doesn’t make sense.
Please just take my word for it. Unfortunately, I can promise you that there are many other voices out there who would echo the same message.
I am counting on you to keep that photo to yourself.
Your child is too.