Selfies and Risk | Final Thoughts on the Celeb Leaked Nudes

We wrote earlier this week about the much-publicized leaks of celebrity nude photos, in a post we called: “…Leak of Celeb Nudes… a Teaching Moment for Parents”.

All week the debate has continued, much of it focused on how we the public should be thinking about violations of privacy such as this one.

We finished our earlier post by concluding:

“most importantly, don’t take risqué selfies. Ever. The repercussions can be devastating.”

There was a big backlash this week against the notion that since these celebs took the pictures in the first place, they were at least partly to blame. Actually we agree with that backlash – they are not to blame.

The acquisition of these pictures was theft, plain and simple. It is not appropriate to blame victims of theft when that which was stolen was safeguarded in a generally accepted manner. We do not support or condone victim blaming or slut shaming in any way. Our advice in the quote above was directed to parents talking to teens/tweens about making good decisions in tricky/risky situations.

Second is the issue of Revenge Porn, as many are calling this event. We think that describing what happened in this case as Revenge Porn is wrong.

In order to have effective Revenge Porn laws in place, we need a definition that makes sense and is enforceable in a very specific set of circumstances: when the victim either gives a photo to, or allows a photo to be taken by, a significant other, who then sends or posts the photo in order to harm or embarrass the victim. That set of circumstances will be impossible to legislate against when all incidents of inappropriate acquisition, transmission or distributing of risqué images are lumped into the same basket. In our view, the goal of the posters in this case was either financial gain of fame; not revenge.

If your son or daughter’s ex hacks an account or steals photos, that is already illegal and covered by existing laws. If the ex acquired the photos legally, then distributes them maliciously, a relevant law is required either nationally or in each state to deal with it fairly. We are not there yet.

Finally, there is a difference between telling your son or daughter not to send risqué selfies and blaming those who may have done so for eventual leaks. Our advice to parents stands; talk to your teens about not taking risqué selfies, even if it has become part of a normal romantic relationship in today’s environment.



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