Kim Kardashian West is no stranger to social media controversy. Just yesterday she deleted an Instagram promoting appetite-suppressing lollipops. Now, she's under fire for another one of her posts, but this time it has nothing to do with dieting.
On Thursday, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shared a photo of her two oldest children, North, 4, and Saint, 2, posing for an adorable photo in the bathtub. While it might seem innocent enough, the photo has started a fierce debate about her kids' online privacy.
Though her children live their lives very much in the public eye, making regular appearances on social media and the family's reality show, the nature of the photo seems to have hit a nerve. Both of her kids are naked in the bath, leaving many to point out that due to her popularity she could be exposing her kids to a slew of unsavory characters.
"Bath time shouldn't be [shown] on social media," one user wrote. "Remember, some men praise children's [bodies] the way they praise yours."
Another fan chimed in that these types of photos can be considered bait for sex offenders. "As someone that worked with agency that handled offenders, this is way wrong," one fan wrote in the comment section. "This is considered 'bait' they are adorable no doubt, but so not good to at least slap some stickers on the photo."
Others were quick to defend Kim, telling people to "get their minds out of the gutter." However, those who found issue in the post aren't totally off base, especially when it comes to cultivating autonomy over their privacy.
"Children have an interest in privacy. Yet a parent’s right to control the upbringing of his or her children and a parent’s right to free speech may trump this interest," wrote Stacey Steinberg, a law professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in a paper about "Sharenting." "When parents share information about their children online, they do so without their children’s consent."
“It’s very rare that parents are sharing maliciously, but they haven’t considered the potential reach or longevity of what is happening with the information they’re posting,” Steinberg told The Atlantic.
Kim's post, which she captioned "My babies," is clearly one of love. To her, she's sharing a sweet moment between her kids with her fans, and while there's nothing inherently wrong, someone in her position may want to be more cautious in what she shares going forward.