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New Golden Rule: Just Don't Take Naked Photos

Photograph by Getty Images

Cameron Diaz is the latest celebrity to cry foul over the most recent batch of nude photos that were hacked from the iCloud accounts of some high-profile women and leaked online.

“I think that people really need to look at ... how would they feel if it happened to them?” she said.

Diaz, who spoke on the topic while promoting her new film, “Sex Tape,” also called the dissemination of the explicit photos of such people as Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Cara Delevingne a “major violation.”

Her thoughts might give parents some good ideas about how to talk to kids about not spreading malicious or inappropriate photos or texts of or about their friends, frenemies, acquaintances and classmates. It’s basically the golden rule for teens.

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However, there might even be a better lesson for kids in all of this: Don’t take nude photos. Period.

It might seem like a lot to ask, but consider that I, for instance, survived my entire childhood without storing naked photos of me on my phone. Of course I also survived my entire childhood without a phone capable of taking photos of me — I had just a landline, and, separately, a camera that took pictures with actual film. So I could take pictures of my phone while naked, but that was basically it. This thought make me old. I get that.

I also get that since I’m now old, nude photos probably just don’t appeal to me as much. Let’s pretend they do interest me for just a moment, though. I still don’t need them. Of me. On my phone. My world won’t fall apart without them. Even better, it won’t fall apart because of them. See how that works?

When someone’s nude photos or sexts get leaked online, your parents will be the least of your problems.

The thing is that having a smart phone will not make you less dumb. On the contrary, it actually requires you to keep one step ahead of people smarter than your phone (and maybe even you). While it might be inexplicably (to me, anyway) tempting to take nude photos of yourself, the fun/thrill/rush is so rarely better than the potential downside, which is those incriminating photos ending up on the screen of someone else’s phone or, heaven forbid, all the screens of everyone else’s phones.

Pictures last forever. On the Internet, they last a lifetime. As in, just long enough to ruin your life. There are smart ways to take naked photos — the No. 1 way is to delete them from iCloud after they’ve served whatever purpose they had (Google it; it’s worth knowing how to do). Every other way is seriously not smart. Seriously.

You could argue, of course, that we have a right to privacy and a right to take nude photos. Except there’s very little about a smart phone that’s actually private. Facebook is not a scrapbook. Instagram is not a private photo album. While smart phones certainly can be used as a personal diary, it’s probably not the smartest idea. Imagine your phone as your third hand over which you have only a little control: It may be manicured, free from callouses and rather useful, but it can still pinch, grab and give you the finger before you have a chance to react.

The rule of thumb for kids (and, frankly, everyone) should be not to have anything on your phone that you don’t want your parents to see. Because when someone’s nude photos or sexts get leaked online, your parents will be the least of your problems.

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Speaking of parents, another lesson for kids (and the rest of us, too) in this nude photo scandal is that just because there are nude photos of a famous person available for viewing doesn’t mean we actually need to view them. Everyone is someone’s kid. For the sake of these kids’ parents, can we all agree to not only be smart but also kind and not look at their unauthorized naked photos?

Image via Instagram, Kate Upton

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