When “Protecting the Children” Goes Too Far

Angry Tubby Time

I was a guest this morning on The Doug Stephan Show and he asked me what I thought about the story of the Arizona parents who had their kids taken away by protective services because a Walmart employee felt that some pictures they were developing were not appropriate because they contained photos of the children naked in the tub.

Now, I have not seen the photos. But, as a parent I know that every one of us out there has taken pictures of our kids during tubby time. It is one of those playful fun times that always leads to great memories with our kids. I personally have had a rule never to post these online, because I did not want to share them with the world,but I know we all have pictures like this.

My first reaction was to scream at Walmart and it appears that the family is doing that as well since they have announced a lawsuit against them. This minimum wage worker in the photo lab was probably doing just what they thought was right. The more I think about it I don’t think them raising a flag and saying “hey can someone look at this” is a totally wrong thing, but I would have hoped that soon after that it would have gone away with a, “these are fine, it is parents being parents.” I am upset that it went beyond that and that they sent them to the police.

I’m more upset by whatever local authorities let this go as far as it did that the children were actually taken away from the parents. My mind can not begin to wrap my head around how something as innocent as some tubby time photos mixed in with vacation pictures could lead to such young children being taken away from their parents. What must that have been like for both the children and the parents? Pure torture is the only thing I can even imagine.

Don’t get me wrong I know that there are a lot of sick and twisted people out there. In my mind there are very few crimes worse then hurting physically or mentally a child. I believe with my heart and soul that anyone who harms a child should be punished beyond what they get now in our system. They can’t punish them nearly enough for me.

But, with that being said, I can’t imagine I’m the only person who thinks we as a nation have gotten to the point where we are over protecting everyone more then we need to. This is just one example of this, but every day we read stories like this and as a father is scares the shit out of me. What if this had been my kids? What could I be accused of based on one person’s reactions and an over reactive system? I worry about that every day and worry about what we can do to fix it.

I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know all the details of this case, but everything I’m reading has the hair on the back of my neck crawling and I had to share my thoughts here because I was and am so upset about this.

Where is Epson, Kodak or HP right now? One of you should step up and send this family a photo printer and a life time supply of ink and paper so that they don’t ever have to develop another picture outside of their house. It won’t solve this problem, but at least they wouldn’t have to live in fear of having their pictures developed.

We MUST protect our children, but we can’t let it get in the way of common sense.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tags: , ,

C.C. Chapman is the Founder of Digital Dads and the Author of Content Rules. He is a family first entrepreneur with two great kids (a boy and a girl) who loves the outdoors, cooking, photography and playing with technology. He consults with companies around the globe to help them embrace the new world of marketing and business. C.C. is a sought after speaker, photographer and content creator who looks forward to each day as a new adventure.

20 Responses to “When “Protecting the Children” Goes Too Far”

  1. Steve Woodruff Says:

    This is what we get when lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats rule the roost. Common sense begins to disappear – in fact, it CANNOT be exercised lest you, the sensible one in decision-making chain, get the blame as well for not being an over-reactive idiot. I think we’ll just stop giving our kids baths…that’ll fix it, right??

  2. Steve Woodruff Says:

    This is what we get when lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats rule the roost. Common sense begins to disappear – in fact, it CANNOT be exercised lest you, the sensible one in decision-making chain, get the blame as well for not being an over-reactive idiot. I think we’ll just stop giving our kids baths…that’ll fix it, right??

  3. Greg Hollingsworth Says:

    The fact that someone at a Wal-Mart actually thought that these photos (I saw blurry images of 4 of the pictures on Good Morning America) were lewd or prurient in any way implies that the viewer (not the photographer) has some issues. These were normal, everyday family pictures. I have video and pictures of both of my kids first baths, as do most parents. I didn’t put them online because they’re not meant to be shared with the world, they’re memorable family moments.

    What’s even more remarkable is that the police and social services actually looked at these photographs, of smiling happy kids and their parents, and said, “Yup, kiddie porn.” Seriously, Wal-Mart may not end up bearing any real responsibility in this case (as they are required by law to report certain things), but the police and the social services agencies wherever this family lives needs to be looked at. Common sense is obviously not big in their town.

  4. Greg Hollingsworth Says:

    The fact that someone at a Wal-Mart actually thought that these photos (I saw blurry images of 4 of the pictures on Good Morning America) were lewd or prurient in any way implies that the viewer (not the photographer) has some issues. These were normal, everyday family pictures. I have video and pictures of both of my kids first baths, as do most parents. I didn’t put them online because they’re not meant to be shared with the world, they’re memorable family moments.

    What’s even more remarkable is that the police and social services actually looked at these photographs, of smiling happy kids and their parents, and said, “Yup, kiddie porn.” Seriously, Wal-Mart may not end up bearing any real responsibility in this case (as they are required by law to report certain things), but the police and the social services agencies wherever this family lives needs to be looked at. Common sense is obviously not big in their town.

  5. Brad P. from NJ Says:

    Well put, sir.

    I appreciate that people are watching out for children. I can’t see myself committing violence on anyone unless they threaten my family. The department’s handling of the procedures speaks more to the slavish responses to a handbook. “If somebody reports something that may be seen as abusive, you MUST do the following…” I think it also speaks to the burden placed on our legal system that there wasn’t a judge somewhere who could make a quick decision based on the information the agency was using to take their actions… One would hope that such an intercession would have cleared up the public questions about this case.

    The intent of the agency, to protect our children, is top notch. Obviously, the incomplete preparation to actually carry out their charter has led us to something that will be held up as a travesty of justice for a long time to come.

  6. Brad P. from NJ Says:

    Well put, sir.

    I appreciate that people are watching out for children. I can’t see myself committing violence on anyone unless they threaten my family. The department’s handling of the procedures speaks more to the slavish responses to a handbook. “If somebody reports something that may be seen as abusive, you MUST do the following…” I think it also speaks to the burden placed on our legal system that there wasn’t a judge somewhere who could make a quick decision based on the information the agency was using to take their actions… One would hope that such an intercession would have cleared up the public questions about this case.

    The intent of the agency, to protect our children, is top notch. Obviously, the incomplete preparation to actually carry out their charter has led us to something that will be held up as a travesty of justice for a long time to come.

  7. Brad P. from NJ Says:

    Well put, sir.

    I appreciate that people are watching out for children. I can’t see myself committing violence on anyone unless they threaten my family. The department’s handling of the procedures speaks more to the slavish responses to a handbook. “If somebody reports something that may be seen as abusive, you MUST do the following…” I think it also speaks to the burden placed on our legal system that there wasn’t a judge somewhere who could make a quick decision based on the information the agency was using to take their actions… One would hope that such an intercession would have cleared up the public questions about this case.

    The intent of the agency, to protect our children, is top notch. Obviously, the incomplete preparation to actually carry out their charter has led us to something that will be held up as a travesty of justice for a long time to come.

  8. Gnarlodious Says:

    I tell you what, if taking pictures of naked kids in the bathtub is a crime then virtually every parent I know is a criminal.

    “The government declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  9. Gnarlodious Says:

    I tell you what, if taking pictures of naked kids in the bathtub is a crime then virtually every parent I know is a criminal.

    “The government declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  10. Gnarlodious Says:

    I tell you what, if taking pictures of naked kids in the bathtub is a crime then virtually every parent I know is a criminal.

    “The government declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  11. Daniel M. Clark Says:

    On the one hand, this is a terrible abuse of power and authority and the children have no doubt been traumatized by this. On the other hand, the family can hire a good lawyer, sue the hell out of Walmart, the cops and the government, and probably walk away with enough money to pay for therapy and awesome family vacations for the rest of their lives. I’m not one to encourage litigation in frivolous circumstances – this is *totally* justified.

  12. Daniel M. Clark Says:

    On the one hand, this is a terrible abuse of power and authority and the children have no doubt been traumatized by this. On the other hand, the family can hire a good lawyer, sue the hell out of Walmart, the cops and the government, and probably walk away with enough money to pay for therapy and awesome family vacations for the rest of their lives. I’m not one to encourage litigation in frivolous circumstances – this is *totally* justified.

  13. schneidermike Says:

    Personally, I would not give photos of my kids in the tub to a WalMart lab unless I knew the people doing the developing and trusted them. You don’t know who is doing the developing and media is easy to spread.

    WalMart probably reserves the right to not develop anything that they deem questionable, but what’s the matter with the person doing the film developing? And the authorities? Is Arizona that conservative?

  14. schneidermike Says:

    Personally, I would not give photos of my kids in the tub to a WalMart lab unless I knew the people doing the developing and trusted them. You don’t know who is doing the developing and media is easy to spread.

    WalMart probably reserves the right to not develop anything that they deem questionable, but what’s the matter with the person doing the film developing? And the authorities? Is Arizona that conservative?

  15. The Start of an Interesting Week Says:

    [...] conversation I became aware of something horrible that happened in Arizona couple that I had to write about on Digital Dads right [...]

  16. tlcolson Says:

    Having worked in the Guardian ad Litem system for a few years, all I can say is:

    Walmart did what they needed to do (although there’s a fine line they are walking on this one)

    But the CPS system COMPLETELY failed on this one.

    Investigate, maybe – but to remove a child from the home? That’s supposed to be the FINAL step, not the first one. Lets help the kids who are REALLY abused, or victims of child pron. Not harass parents for taking bathtime pictures.

    Thankfully my child is now an adult – we’ve taken CPS to the extreme.

  17. tlcolson Says:

    Having worked in the Guardian ad Litem system for a few years, all I can say is:

    Walmart did what they needed to do (although there’s a fine line they are walking on this one)

    But the CPS system COMPLETELY failed on this one.

    Investigate, maybe – but to remove a child from the home? That’s supposed to be the FINAL step, not the first one. Lets help the kids who are REALLY abused, or victims of child pron. Not harass parents for taking bathtime pictures.

    Thankfully my child is now an adult – we’ve taken CPS to the extreme.

  18. PhilFeed › Fresh From My Twitter today Says:

    [...] RT @chrisbrogan: Very thought-provoking post by @cc_chapman on parenting and protection – http://bit.ly/3CWmsx Want A Corporate Social Media Job? Demonstrate These Three Essential Qualities http://bit.ly/12kWrf [...]

  19. Tyson Goodridge Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Heck, I have plenty of VIDEOS of the kids in the bathtub AND running around the back yard in a sprinkler. Common sense seems to be taking a back door to corporations protecting themselves, and in turn a lawsuit to fight back. Not sure I agree with the lawsuit though- just another example of our over litigious society… And agree, I think it’s a terrific opportunity for a printer company to come out and help this family, but don’t HP, Epson and Kodak have their products in Wal-Mart stores? It’s a viscious circle…

    Tyson
    @goodridge

  20. Tyson Goodridge Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Heck, I have plenty of VIDEOS of the kids in the bathtub AND running around the back yard in a sprinkler. Common sense seems to be taking a back door to corporations protecting themselves, and in turn a lawsuit to fight back. Not sure I agree with the lawsuit though- just another example of our over litigious society… And agree, I think it’s a terrific opportunity for a printer company to come out and help this family, but don’t HP, Epson and Kodak have their products in Wal-Mart stores? It’s a viscious circle…

    Tyson
    @goodridge

The shoe cables a repent reward near the visible.