Paparazzi: Leave Kids The F*ck Alone

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I have three teenagers who are well aware that I write for a living. They are okay with that, but there’s a few things they aren’t okay with: Me posting pictures of them on social media, or in my stories, unless they approve of said picture (which they never do these days).

They also don’t want me talking about certain aspects of their life, and I respect that fully.

They used to be fine with this when they were younger and loved posing for pictures. However, those days are over and I need to respect that.

Now, I am not comparing myself to a celebrity by any means — but I do write in well-known places about my personal experiences, and my essays are seen by many eyes.

You don’t have to be in the public eye at all to have kids that want you to keep their life under wraps. I know lots of moms who have kids of all ages who don’t want them posting pictures, or even updates, about them on any of their social media channels. And if they aren’t on social media, their kids don’t even want them talking about their private issues with their friends.

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Now imagine some stranger is jumping out of the bushes taking pictures of you and your children as you walk into your favorite coffee shop. Or pick them up from school.

Not okay.

Our children are autonomous. They aren’t an extension of their parents. They are their own people. They should have a say in what gets put out in the world about them, even if their parents are famous.

Most people I know don’t want random pictures of them being posted anywhere (unless they approve) nor do they want certain parts of their life being talked about — so imagine being a celebrity and not really having a say on what gets put out there.

Yes, this is part of the package that comes with being a celebrity; we’ve heard it all before, and many of them accept it. However, there is a limit.

Their kids should absolutely be off limits. Zero exceptions.

Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean the paparazzi gets to have full, immediate access to their whole family by following them around, jumping out of nowhere, or trespassing to get a picture.

Taking pictures of kids, stalking them, following them around is creepy, invasive, and can make any child feel unsafe. It’s completely unacceptable.

Daily Mail Australia published a picture on their Instagram of Blake Lively and her three kids with the caption: “Blake Lively is a hands-on mum as she expertly wrangles ALL THREE daughters while out in NYC.”

Lively clapped back at the picture of her and her three kids that made it look like she was fine with the paparazzi taking these pictures. For the record, she wasn’t.

In fact, she explains that while she was out with her kids, photographers were hiding and jumping out at them all day in order to get a shot and wouldn’t even back off after she asked them kindly.

She then urged the public to stop scary exploitation of children, and thanked publications who have put their foot down and stood up for children of celebrities by not publishing their kids’ faces without permission.

We all know this isn’t the first time this has happened. Sadly, the demand for these pictures is high. People love to buy magazines, and follow social media accounts, to see their favorite celeb’s cute kids. We need to re-think this behavior as it reinforces the behavior of these “grown ass men” who get paid to stalk minors and shove a camera in their faces.

George Clooney and Amal literally had someone jump over a fence and climb a tree to get a picture of their twins when they were toddlers. The photographer and magazine were prosecuted because hello — this isn’t okay, it isn’t safe, and it’s scary as hell for the kids.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard started the ‘no kids policy’ campaign, which urges magazines and publishers to not buy pictures of celebrities’ kids without their permission. This has become very effective as publications like People and Buzzfeed have agreed to not publish such pictures.

Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry have also both gone to great lengths to protect celebrity children, saying that the paparazzi has caused them and their children trauma and stress. Berry’s children were harassed by the paparazzi in 2013 when her five-year-old daughter, Nahla, was asked by a photographer, “How do you feel, Nahla? You may not see your father again. How do you feel about that?” after Barry and Nahla’s dad were sorting out a custody issue.

What the actual fuck.

Just because someone is a celebrity and lives largely in the public eye doesn’t give anyone the right to follow, harass, stalk, and jump out of nowhere and take pictures and ask upsetting questions to them or their family.

No one deserves this kind of treatment when they are simply going to the grocery store or the playground.

You can support this by not watching, subscribing to, or reading publications and entertainment shows that invade the privacy of celebrities or their children. Parent to parent, it’s the least we can do.

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