Yesterday I shared a photo of my five year old little girl on my Facebook page, as I do regularly. My children were playing in the paddling pool at their grandparents and I caught a snap of her looking straight down the lense in quiet contemplation. She looked beautiful, straggly hair and all, and I wanted to share the innocent beauty of my little girl.
Within half an hour Facebook had deleted the photo and sent me a message to say my account was blocked until I acknowledged that they had flagged the photo as offensive as it violates their “Statement of Rights & Responsibilities” and electronically sign to say there were no further nude photos on my account.
I was initially taken aback. Yes my little girl was topless and maybe some people might not share a photo of their child like that, but I didn’t see any harm in it and neither did her dad.
I thought maybe it was because I shared it on a page rather than a profile, so I put it up on my personal profile instead. This time it was minutes before I got the same notification. I spoke to a few people on Facebook as I felt I needed to try and contact them to appeal the decision to remove such a harmless photo. Whilst lots of people felt it wasn’t right, there was nobody who knew how to contact them, and a Google search proved futile as well. One person suggested there is an automatic scan run on all photos checking the amount of skin on display, or something to that liking, obviously to create a system that stops offensive images from going through.
However when I realised that exactly the same photos, but featuring boys rather than girls, had not received any warnings I felt quite annoyed. My photo was harmless – an innocent child playing on a Summers day – and yet for some reason Facebook deemed that unacceptable because it featured a girl? It made me question whether in fact this had been an automated process and whether some person inside the realms of Facebook had somehow noticed my photo and decided it was not suitable, or if someone had reported it.
And if that was the case what does that say about the thoughts behind this decision? Because she is a girl she is not allowed to show herself without clothes on at five years old? Why not?
It makes for quite uncomfortable thinking. Why has a child’s nakedness been considered a sexualised image that needs to be removed?
There are so many other photos out there that regularly appear on Facebook, that I personally find completely inappropriate and yet they are left for all the world, including my children, to see. Images of a parent with a gun to a child’s head, music stars idolised by impressionable children appearing naked on screen, not to mention ‘funny’ memes that are passed around without a thought and yet could be extremely disturbing a child’s eye.
Whilst I understand that restrictions are in place to protect us, I don’t understand why it is ok for a five year old boy to be shown topless and not a girl? I personally feel I am within my rights to post photos of my child which I believe to be appropriate and this image should not be considered to be pornographic. In this modern society I think it is a shame that girls as young as my daughter are already being considered in a lewd manner, and it makes me wonder how that will affect her as she grows into a young woman?