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Is That Baby Photo Going to Get You Into Trouble?

All parents, especially first-time parents, love to take photos of their babies. They don’t care how many photos they have of their child, they want more. On top of that, they don’t want to just hoard the photos for themselves, they want to share them with all of their friends and family members. Thanks to social media, this has never been easier.

Social media allows people to share all of their pictures quickly and easily with their loved ones. For the most part, this is perfectly fine. Unfortunately, there can be some trouble when it comes to baby photos. Naked baby photos are often just innocent pictures of the child, but sometimes it can lead to a parent being arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor.

What Photos Can Cause Trouble?

Parents have been taking photos of their children in all states of dress, or undress, for as long as anyone can remember. Back in the day, no one thought twice about photos of naked babies as being anything other than cute and adorable. However, nowadays things are different. There are real monsters out there who enjoy those kinds of photos way too much. Knowing this fact has put everyone on edge.

In recent years, parents have been arrested for posting what they assumed to be innocent baby photos onto their social media. The reason for the arrest being that some people viewed the naked photos as child pornography and reported it to the local authorities. This has led many people to question whether or not photos of babies in bathtubs or other various stages of undress are legal to share online.

This is a bit of a gray area in the legal world. When these types of pictures are uploaded, law enforcement, or the court, will look at the intent of the parents and the picture. A picture only counts as pornography if it is intended to provide sexual gratification. If that intent isn’t there, the picture is legally okay. This is why there can be nude diagrams in textbooks, or there can be native people in their natural state on TV.

In addition to this, it is considered a person’s First Amendment right to post photos, provided they don’t contain “lascivious exhibition of genitals or pubic areas.” Still, knowing all of this, even if a person is well within their rights to post a naked picture of their baby online, there will be people out there who will shame the parent.

Another thing to consider is that the older the child gets, the less acceptable it is to have naked photos of them. However, there is no clear cutoff line for when that changes.

Sometimes the best option is to simply not post the photo online. After all, the whole world shouldn’t see the photo anyways.

California Laws on the Matter

As far as California law is concerned, Penal Code (PC) 311 is the state child pornography law. This law makes it a crime for anyone to send, transport, duplicate, print, exchange, advertise, or possess child pornography. It also makes it illegal to hire or persuade minors to participate in making pornographic imagery.

This crime is a wobbler offense, meaning a person can face either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the facts of the case.

As a misdemeanor, a person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,500.

As a felony, a person can face up to 3 years in a state prison.

In both instances, the person will have to register as a sex offender.

Be Careful When Posting Online

A parent can and should take as many photos of their baby as they want. For most photos, they can share them however they want. When it comes to naked photos, then they need to carefully consider what they share. Even if they never intended for the photo to be considered porn, someone else out there may think differently.

In most cases, parents who were arrested for posting naked baby photos online were released, it still isn’t fun to be arrested and accused of possessing child pornography. That accusation can mark a person for life and do irreparable damage. This is why a parent should be cautious of posting naked photos of their baby online.

What are your thoughts on parents sharing naked baby photos on social media? Should they be allowed to do it, or should they be arrested for taking the photo in the first place?