Never Post a Baby Photo on Facebook?

Hi Readers — It’s nice to hear of sanity taking root!

Dear Free-Range Kids:  I just had my first child 6 months ago and I never thought I’d even have to worry about Free-Range Kid topics until he was at LEAST 3 years old, but I was wrong.

I posted an adorable picture of my son on my facebook page 2 days ago of him having tummy time on a towel; diaper free.  Lo and behold, this morning in my message box on Facebook I have a concerned ex-co-worker warning me about the dangers of putting naked pictures of my child on the internet and that pedophiles could get ahold of the photo.  I don’t know how I would have responded a few years ago.  Perhaps I would have sheepishly said I was not worried and in the back of my mind wondered if I was right.  Thanks to you and this wonderful community of fearless parents this was my response:

Oh, you can’t see his front bits. I’m not worried. Perverts can make
something sexual out of ANYTHING. Even feet, or eating cake. We lock
our doors at night, try not to drop our baby on his head, and don’t look
for babysitters on Craigslist. Most sexual abuse happens with family
members, friends, and teachers/ religious leaders, etc. So the best
thing we can do for Ari is make sure that growing up he feels comfortable
talking to us and is raised to fearlessly express his boundaries. In
addition, crimes of that nature in this country have actually
gone DOWN in the past 20 years. I respectfully appreciate your concern
but life’s to short to deprive my family members of that cute little
tush. — A Less-Worried Mom

Hey baby! It's nice to see you (here, on the internet).

Men & Boys in the Locker Room

Hi Readers — Just got this interesting story from Australia: Boys have been banned from a Sydney public pool’s locker room because the ADULT MEN using it fear they may be falsely accused of being pedophiles.

So, for a while the boys had to change behind a stack of chairs, and now they’re changing in an unused clubhouse.

This is not happening in clubhouses all over the place, so it’s not like a sweeping change. What IS sweeping is the hyper focus on — nay, obsession with — pedophilia, to the point where we almost can’t help thinking about it in any situation where men interact with children.

The other day I heard the story of a young man who was at the grocery and waved at a child in a cart. When the mom and child showed up in the next aisle, he waved again. By the time he reached the third aisle, the manager asked him to leave.

No one wants to ignore any kind of sexual harm being done to children. But our awakened concern is over-ripening into hysteria.  Sometimes a wave is just a wave. In fact, USUALLY a wave is just a wave, and ESPECIALLY when we’re talking about a man, a little kid and HER MOM, in public, at a grocery. So let’s try to stop folks when they start thinking in terms of the weirdest, wildest notion: That the young man is — what? — getting off on this sick encounter? Or “grooming” this stranger’s kid for the next time they’re together, which is probably never? Or planning to pluck the kid from the grocery and run off without anyone noticing? Even if the young man WAS a perv (and there is zero evidence of that), what on earth could he get away with in the canned goods aisle?

But when folks don’t even stop to ask, “Wait? Does this worry make any sense?” you can see where undressed men in a locker room would be wary of being anywhere near some undressed boys.  — Lenore

 

Oh look! frolicking prey! Or wait. Maybe they're frolicking false accusers?

 

The Naked Truth?

What a weird story: A Virginia man making coffee for himself in his own house — naked — has been charged with “exposing” himself because a mom and son passed through his yard on their way to school and saw him through the window.

My question: Who’s more traumatized by this event? The mom, the kid or the guy just trying to make breakfast who made the news instead? I vote for #3.  — (Signed) Lenore, who realizes this is not entirely a “Free-Range” issue, but also thinks maybe we shouldn’t assume our kids are ruined for life by every untoward event.