Will & Jada Smith Reportedly Under CPS Investigation Because of Daughter’s “Bed” Photo

Readers — Willow Smith, the 13-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Smith, posted a photo of her on a bed with 20-year-old Moises Arias next to her. It is (can I be honest here?) a provocative picture. But: Why is that the government’s concern?

Take a suggestive photo and your parents get investigated?

Take a suggestive photo and your parents get investigated?

An unnamed source told RadarOnline that the Los Angeles Department of Children & Family Services has opened a file on the family. “This won’t be just one or two visits with the family, and it will likely be an open investigation for at least a month, out of an abundance of caution.”

Ah, that haunting phrase — “an abundance of caution” — that ostensibly gives the government a right to poke its nose into our homes, our family life, even our artistic taste, if it finds any of these unsettling.

I feel terrible for the Smiths, who do not seem to have starved, beaten or drugged their child, and yet are being treated as if they are unfit parents. But I feel a little glad to see CPS’s intrusiveness become a public issue. Even if you don’t want your kid posting bed photos (who does?), that’s something to be discussed between you and your child, not you and an agency that can take your child away.  If every time a kid did something embarrassing or stupid it was proof of criminal parenting,  they’d have to build skyscraper prisons.

CPS does not exist to act as our national grandma, tsk tsking our parenting skills. It exists to protect children in actual peril at the hands of their family.

If this photo is the only issue at hand, that does not seem to be the case at the Smith’s. – L.

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97 Responses to Will & Jada Smith Reportedly Under CPS Investigation Because of Daughter’s “Bed” Photo

  1. J.T. Wenting May 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Apart from them both looking suspiciously like heroin addicts who’ve not had their fix in time, I don’t see anything “provocative” or otherwise troubling in that photo apart from the very poor exposure and focus.

    Kids should be sent to a photography course and maybe a drugs test, but that’s all.

  2. TM May 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I’ll be honest, I don’t see anything particularly provocative about the picture. I mean, last I checked, bare chested men wasn’t a particularly provocative thing, and the girl in question is fully clothed. If this were a picture taken pool side at a party, no one would blink twice. At best the issue is that they’re in a bed, but plenty of people have get togethers in which people are sitting in a bedroom as opposed to somewhere else and presumably someone else is taking the photograph so unless the implication here is not only is the 13 year old getting it on with a 20 year old in her own home, but that she’s doing so in the company of others, I just don’t see the issue at all.

  3. LaShonda May 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    The real question for me is if they feel something untoward is going on, why are they investigating the parents of the individual who cannot give consent in this photo instead of the legal adult who posted it on social media? That’s the real cause for concern. Do I think anything untoward was going on? No-I think the young man exercised extremely poor judgement. I fuss at my 13 year old about keeping his shirt on in the house and it’s just me and his brother, but it is about teaching him decorum.

  4. Jennifer May 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    What is provocative about this photo? In my family we lounge around on beds all the time doing homework, watching TV, reading, and talking. If the implication is that something sexual is going on, I don’t see it here.

  5. mystic_eye May 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    I see nothing provocative about this photo. To me she appears to be trying to look “tough”, not seductive. Moises seems to be trying to pull something off but between this one and the laughing one I’m guessing it didn’t quite work.

    Is it really just the bed? If this were a draped photo studio model background would we have this issue? Or a couch? Or the beach? No.

    I’d be somewhat concerned if it came out that they were having sex or in a “romantic” relationship but only mildly. Less because I don’t view the Smiths as bad/unfit parents. However I suspect they are just friends, and we all need friends. Only having friends of the exact same age is a peculiarity of the age delineated school systems. It doesn’t happen in non-age delineated school systems (home schooling, one room school houses, sudbury/democratic schools, some montessouri, some waldorf, etc).

  6. lollipoplover May 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    CPS should just switch gears and stake out all of Instagram and social media and become the photo police. Maybe then kids playing freely outside will be left alone to have normal, happy childhoods and parenting authority will be returned to parents.

  7. Gina May 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    Once again…we teach our children they have the right to say “NO”, why don’t we teach them they have the right to say “YES”…control over one’s choices goes BOTH ways. I see no problem in this photo and, as the Smith’s parenting is pretty much out there, I see no problem in anything that I’ve heard or read about.
    If there is a relationship between these two, then he must be very immature and she, very mature. It is nobody’s business but theirs.

  8. SKL May 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Did they investigate Billy Ray Cyrus when he let his 15yo daughter’s 20yo boyfriend move in with her?

    I’ve noticed this family seems to be targeted for some reason. They seem like a relatively decent celebrity family. If anything, they seem to be very thoughtful about giving their kids the freedom to grow up into independent, thinking humans. Of course no parenting style can possibly prevent 13yos from being foolish at times.

    What’s provocative about the photo is that they are lounging in bed. It’s not an innocent photo. But I agree that it’s not the business of CPS, unless there is some indication that the parents are encouraging it or prostituting their daughter or something. Now those would be some serious allegations.

    Don’t the CPS folks in that neck of the woods have any actual endangered kids to watch out for? I’m guessing that at this very moment some actual victim in that county is being abused or neglected to a horrific degree, and CPS hasn’t gotten around to checking on them.

  9. Brooke May 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    So I don’t particularly think it’s the government’s business but if it were… there’s a 20 year old man in that picture in bed with a 13 year old. Feels like they should be a conversation with him instead.

  10. LRH May 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    If I had the money of the Smiths and some nonsense like this was imposing itself into my private family business, I’d hire the meanest and nastiest lawyers, ones that would make Johnnie Cochran a nervous twitch, and send social services home with their tail between their legs. I can understand a “cooperative attitude” when funds for lawyers are sparse, but when they’re not, why tolerate these imbeciles anymore than you have to? The message should be sent–you’re an unwanted and unnecessary trespasser and your precious is not required and definitely not desired here, and if you cross us, this is what’s going to happen to you.


  11. LRH May 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm #


  12. Donna May 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    The two Smith kids seem to be headed down the same road as Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, etc. to me, but since CPS didn’t feel the need to intervene in any of those cases, I’m not sure what the problem is here.

  13. Christina May 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    What on earth is provocative about this photo? She is fully clothed. He’s simply shirtless. They live in SoCal. As someone who has lived in the South, and has relatives throughout the South and Southwest, boys in sunny climes tend to not wear shirts. Also, FWIW, it’s not a selfie, so at least one other person was in the room. Just because the snapshot is b/w does not mean anything film noir is going on in that room.

  14. John May 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    It’s part of the witch hunt. “We’re gonna get those pedophiles and throw’em in jail for life!!” My guess is that this investigation will go no where. Ok, the photo might be rather “creepy” looking to most Americans with a man sitting there with his shirt off in back of 13-year-old Willow Smith on her bed, but hey cannot prove by that photo that Willow and Moises had sex. Of course, it’ll be frustrating for the pedophile patrol and you had better believe they’ll utilize every unconstitutional means out there to interrogate the daylights out of Arias but there is nothing they can prove from that photo. The question I have is, who took the photo?

  15. marie May 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    You want provocative?? CPS at the door. Now THAT’S provocative.

    That month of abundant caution won’t be nearly enough time to get all of the curious CPS people inside the Smith home.

  16. Maggie May 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    A man without a shirt is not “half-naked”. And she is fully dressed. They were not “in bed” they were laying ON a bed. Not much difference than a couch, or the floor, or the beach. They were not unsupervised, there was someone there taking the photo.


  17. Jen (P.) May 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m rather surprised at how many commenters see “nothing provocative” in this photo. Moody lighting, his hair is all rumpled, no shirt, they’re in a bed . . . I could overlook one or two of those factors, but the whole of it appears . . . well, provocative . . . and inappropriate for a 13 year old to post. True, no one would blink if they were at the beach in similar attire, but context is important. That said, however, I can’t see how CPS involvement is appropriate, particularly in the (apparent) absence of any evidence that the parents are contributing to the problem. Seems to me like a personal, family issue for them to deal with. . . . So now, not only do our kids have to pay (sometimes an unreasonable price, sometimes not) for their online transgressions, now we have to worry about CPS getting involved when they make bad judgments about what to post?

  18. Kimble Kim May 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    I am going to suggest that our society has become so obsessed that we can’t see this photo as anything but provocative. Having had a “family” bed for my thirty-plus years of child rearing, this photo doesn’t strike me as provocative. A different kind of worst first thinking abounds.

  19. Andrea May 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I would be interested to know whether CPS had a court order, or whether the Smiths just let them come on in. In my mind is always the mantra, “do you have a warrant or court order?” And then reading it to see exactly what the court has given them the right to investigate. If they don’t have that, they may not come in and I will not be speaking to them.

    Also, it may not be related, but IIRC the Smiths homeschool their kids. Some CPS workers consider this a red flag indicator of abuse and neglect.

  20. marie May 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I would be interested to know whether CPS had a court order, or whether the Smiths just let them come on in. In my mind is always the mantra, “do you have a warrant or court order?” And then reading it to see exactly what the court has given them the right to investigate. If they don’t have that, they may not come in and I will not be speaking to them.

    Good plan. I hope you never have to use it. When the ICE agents came to my door, they pushed their way in and refused (yes, refused) to show me the search warrant until they had “secured the premises.”

    If you alter your plan just a bit, it might work better: Locking your door behind you, step outside to talk to them. Then ask to see the warrant.

  21. Papilio May 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Like others said, they’re not IN bed but ON the bed, the girl is fully clothed, the guy isn’t but it’s warm, plus it’s not like they’re in each other arms with hands on places where they don’t belong, plus the black&white makes it look artistic to me rather than ‘dirty’.
    So it might be that I’m not an oversexed American pedophile-hunting CPS worker, but I don’t see the problem, and I certainly don’t see anything CPS should be involved in.

  22. Melissa May 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    This same picture could easily have been an ad for a high end designer that she was paid to be in and appeared in numerous magazines and no one would have blinked about it.

  23. Steve S May 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    The picture does seem a bit odd, but unless there is something else, I don’t think it rises to the level of an activity that requires an investigation. The Smiths have the money to hire decent lawyers, so I doubt they will be pushed around by the system.

    As for dealing with warrants, you better have a plan in place. Don’t open the door and ask to read it. Go out another door and meet them out front. You better know what a warrant looks like and what needs to be on it. The police aren’t going to give you much time. If there is a problem, point it out and say that you don’t consent to a search. If it is valid or if they think it is valid, they are likely to just go in anyway.

  24. Ben May 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Willow is fully clothed and as far as I can tell Moses is just shirtless; not a crime last time I checked. I can’t see how this photo is provocative at all. There is nothing sexual or suggestive about this photo unless the setting itself makes it immediately disturbing…

    Also, why investigate the parents if Willow was the one who posted the picture? Parents aren’t perfect, even famous ones. You can’t expect them to police all their kids’ online activities.

  25. John May 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    If you click on this article and read the blog below it, of course, EVERYBODY is yoddling how utterly awful this is for a shirtless 20-year-old man being on a bed with a 13-year-old girl and most are jumping to the conclusion that something inappropriate is going on here, yada, yada, yada. BUT one of the bloggers named “Jimmie” is attempting to reign everybody in here by saying that nobody can conclude ANYTHING by a picture and that perhaps it’s peoples’ perverted minds that are speculating anything further.

    Well, in response, all of the other bloggers are coming to the conclusion that “Jimmie” is a pedophile too because he’s using the name “Jimmie” instead of the adult version of “Jim” because pedophiles like emulating children. No kidding! So I guess I can then assume that all of the adults I know who go by the name “Jimmie” or “Johnny” or “Billy” or “Bobby” are pedophiles too. Considering the other players in our senior softball league refer to me as “Johnny” (C’mon now Johnny, watch the ball hit the bat! Atta boy Johnny!) that must mean that I’m a pedophile too! So the pedophile witch hunt continues.

    I sure as hell hope that none of those people ever get selected for jury duty!

  26. Jen (P.) May 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    @Andrea – the HuffPo piece about it quotes some unnamed source as saying the Smiths have been “extremely cooperative.” But it also quotes Jada Smith as having told TMZ, “Here’s the deal: There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation. You guys are projecting your trash onto it and you’re acting like covert pedophiles, and that’s not cool.” And good for her. As I said above, I do think it looks somewhat provocative and wouldn’t want my 13 year old to post something like that. However, if that’s all they’ve got, then it’s an outrage that CPS is interfering with this family.

  27. Jen (P.) May 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    @Melissa – That’s what I was thinking! Looks like a Calvin Klein ad or something.

  28. Michelle May 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    The photo, to me, looks provocative in that “Look at me, I’m famous and edgy” kind of way, more than actually making me wonder if they are sleeping together. If my daughter posted a photo like that, I would have words with her. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see my kids and their friends (of all ages) sitting on beds, even if the boys are shirtless. It’s not like most kids have couches in their bedrooms and, like everybody said, it’s obvious that they aren’t alone together.

    As for warrants, you might not be able to stop someone from coming into your home, or searching your home, your person, or your car. But it is still important that you do not give either implied or explicit consent. Flat out say that you don’t give consent, repeatedly. If that stops them, good. If not, it at least gives your lawyers something to work with later. Also, the answer to every question is, “I would need to check with my attorney about that.” As homeschoolers, we have lawyers on call just in case CPS ever comes knocking on our door. (If you homeschool and live in Texas, http://thsc.org — it’s like $15 a month.)

  29. Michelle May 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Sigh. I should not have read the comments on that article. People there think it is inherently wrong for a 20 year old guy to hang out with a 13 year old girl, period. I find our extremely age-segregated society concerning.

  30. Jen (P.) May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    “The photo, to me, looks provocative in that “Look at me, I’m famous and edgy” kind of way, more than actually making me wonder if they are sleeping together.”

    ^^^This. It’s suggestive. And probably intended to be so by the kids who took the photo.

    But that doesn’t explain why CPS is involved.

  31. marie May 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    You’re right, Michelle. I shouldn’t have looked at those comments either. I got through only a handful before feeling slimed.

    I talked recently about Jada’s ‘covert pedophiles’ comment. Read a few of those comments while keeping Jada’s statement in mind and try to imagine being Jada and Will (or Willow or Jaiden!) reading those comments. Ugh.

    The things people imagine about children will stand your hair on end. But you know what? Some people get paid pretty well for imagining awful things happening to children, which you will notice if you watch TV shows like CSI SVU.

  32. marie May 22, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Shoot. Forgot to include a link to my blog: http://handbasketnotes.blogspot.com/2014/05/so-much-judgment-about-willow.html

  33. Papilio May 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    “I sure as hell hope that none of those people ever get selected for jury duty!”

    Yes, that is a scary idea and makes me glad we don’t have juries here.

  34. anonymous this time May 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    “This same picture could easily have been an ad for a high end designer that she was paid to be in and appeared in numerous magazines and no one would have blinked about it.”

    Amen to that, sister.

    Where were the “authorities” when all those 70’s celebrity parents were having parties where their children were offered drugs, alcohol, and underage sex? That’s right, they weren’t there. So they make up for lost opportunities and zoom in on clearly non-abusive families, inventing “suspicions” where nothing dangerous or untoward is happening?

    A generation ago, people were clueless about a lot of things. They denied that things like incest and molestation within families existed. They looked the other way when little Jenny didn’t have clean clothes or little Frankie had bruises and burns all over his arms. They felt that if parents wanted to offer their kids cocaine and weed and liquor, that was their business.

    Now, people have clued in. They know better about a lot of things. They understand that sometimes the unspeakable is happening, and it’s good to speak to it. But it’s gone past the point of utility into a zone where it’s like a sport or diversion of some kind, to “invent” problems where there are none, “just to be safe” and “exercise extreme caution.”

    If there’s probably nothing to worry about, MOVE ALONG. Meanwhile, there’s a child who’s been kept in a locked basement for three years, slowly starving to death, and no one even knows she’s in there. But JADA AND WILL’S DAUGHTER IS ON A BED WITH SOME GUY AND EVERYONE HAS PANTS ON!

    Give me a break! This is not a child welfare issue!

  35. Nora May 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    A 13-yo should not be on a bed in a provocative pose with a 20-yo. If her parents can’t figure that out, it’s okay with me if the government helps them out.

    I can’t tell you how many 20-something-year-olds took sexual advantage of me ages 13-15. But I can tell you that it was CHILD ABUSE for my custodian not to stop it.

  36. bobca May 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    In response to Papilio’s post, my papa taught me early that even non-rational people get to vote, and their vote counts the same as mine. I am reminded of that lesson often, and unfortunately there seem to be a lot more non-rational people around these days…or at least a lot more visible ones, at least.

  37. marie May 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Nora, if we could verify that the 13-y-o and the 20-y-o are not in a relationship, not having sex…is the picture still wrong? If so, why? If the only thing sexual about the photo is what’s going on in your head, who would we hold the Smith family responsible?

    Do you see anything wrong with imagining a sexual subtext to the photo?

  38. bobca May 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    As so many other posters have said, this looks like an apparel/tech advertisement targeted at teens & 20-somethings…

    …less provocative than almost any American Apparel, H&M, or Abercrombie & Fitch.

    …certainly not provocative, except in a viewer’s fantasy.

  39. Jenny Islander May 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    It’s a terrible photo–bad lighting, bad perspective, bad focus! I had to look closely to see that the man wasn’t propping his elbow on a photo tripod or set of collapsed bagpipes.

    It looks, frankly, like something my big brother might have taken in his “arty” days in the ’70s. He probably would have captioned it “Let us not disturb her slumber…” and the story would probably be “The guys were over and somebody’s little sister was hanging around, and she fell asleep on the bed and rolled over so my buddy couldn’t get off the bed without waking her up, and he is wondering whether he should move or not because that kid is GRUMPY when she first wakes up.”

    So he’s shirtless. Big whoop.

  40. anonymous mom May 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    To me, this image looks like an attempt at high art photography. It’s sort of what I’d expect from some hip Hollywood young people. Having a CPS investigation over this image is insanity.

    I also assume that many 13yos, especially those who are not living a typical childhood and probably are a bit more mature, are fully capable of not “being taken advantage of” by an older guy. They can just say no. That’s what I did as a teen, and what most teens I know did. I’m not fond of deciding that teens who decide NOT to say no are victims, when we’re talking about guys who would have taken no for an answer.

  41. Lindsey May 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    One of my teachers assistants took her daughters phone away because someone sent her an inappropriate picture now her daughter has a very basic phone it wasnt her fault it was the senders fault!

  42. lollipoplover May 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    Willow’s mom responded with outrage on the assumptions about this photo:


    These Hollywood kids grow up under a microscope with the public making judgements without any real information. All from a picture. Sometimes teens just lay on beds with sibling’s friends(and take terrible pictures…seriously, dude wash and brush your hair).

    Just curious, If this were a shirtless Justin Bieber at 15 in bed with an older (clothed)woman would there be similar outrage?

  43. SKL May 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    There was a child star named Judith Barsi, whose father was physically abusing her and everyone around them knew it. He threatened to kill her and her mom. Her mom reported his threats and physical violence to the police. Police “found no evidence” and walked away. After a breakdown during an audition, Judith was taken to a shrink, who reported severe physical and mental abuse to CPS. CPS dropped the case because Mom said she was going to leave Dad – which she never did. When Judith was 10, her dad shot her in her bed and burned her body.

    CPS doesn’t appear to have a sense of priorities. To me that is the most disturbing thing.

  44. Donna May 22, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    It is my understanding that Moises posted the picture, not Willow. Which makes me question the sense of the 20 year old, but not the picture particularly.

    But I don’t think the Smiths are being investigated because the picture was posted, but because it was able to be taken. There have also been a number of other news reports involving these kids and drugs and bars and parties. But again I haven’t seen anything unique from what all the other young celebrities, celebrity off spring and celebrity wannabes are doing. Is CPS going on a crusade to clean up young Hollywood and starting with the Smiths?

  45. Art May 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    There was a child star named Judith Barsi, whose father was physically abusing her and everyone around them knew it. He threatened to kill her and her mom. Her mom reported his threats and physical violence to the police. Police “found no evidence” and walked away. After a breakdown during an audition, Judith was taken to a shrink, who reported severe physical and mental abuse to CPS. CPS dropped the case because Mom said she was going to leave Dad – which she never did. When Judith was 10, her dad shot her in her bed and burned her body.

    CPS doesn’t appear to have a sense of priorities. To me that is the most disturbing thing.

    ==> Just a quick correction on this. I’m very familiar with this story. During the filming of Jaws The Revenge Judith managed to pull all of her eyebrows out and was showing other signs of distress. It was her manager that blew the whistle. Before Judith and Maria left (IIRC it was Jamaican Islands) to film Jaws, Jozef threatened them with essentially death if they did not come back. CPS did the investigation but then closed it again at Maria’s request.

    The whole thing resulted in a horrifying climax because Jozef wanted Judith out of the business.

  46. Liz May 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Look, CPS has protocol. If a call of abuse/neglect is made to them, they have to go out and investigate. Why do we assume that CPS went out on their own accord to snoop? For all we know, a thousand busy bodies made anonymous reports to CPS after this photo went viral, and they had to follow up. The flip side, is that they DON’T investigate simply because this is a celebrity family. We don’t want that either, right? The “unnamed” source who said this will be a months-long investigation, there’s no way to know if that’s true. Typically they come out once or twice and then close the case. I am a foster parent and very versed in the CPS investigations. This is just standard protocol. Now, if CPS takes their kids away and turns this into a circus, then we have the right to be up in arms.

  47. anonymous this time May 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Sorry, I think we have the “right to be up in arms” about this because so much JUDGEMENT is raining down on parents whose child

    a.) is not showing any sign of injury or distress in the photo
    b.) is fully clothed in the photo
    c.) is not being touched on her “bathing suit covers it” parts by another person in this photo
    d.) is not shooting / smoking / ingesting drugs in this photo

    When someone else decides that something is “inappropriate,” then look out. I guess this highly subjective word gives anyone carte blanche to turn a parent’s world upside down, without any objective evidence whatsoever.

  48. Jen (P.) May 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    @Liz – How about they don’t investigate – not because this is a celebrity family – but because this single photo doesn’t justify an investigation?

    You seem to be suggesting that an innocent parent should just smile and accept a completely unwarranted intrusion by the government into his private life – an intrusion that will likely necessitate legal defense costs and will definitely cause emotional trauma to his family. And that parent is really between a rock and a hard place. Even if he cooperates, CPS could gin up something to complain about. And if he fights that wrongful interference, he runs the risk of antagonizing the investigators and making matters even worse.

    I’m not saying there’s no role for CPS, and in some places the system appears to work reasonably well. But the laws are written so broadly (generally for good reason because they have to cover a multitude of contingencies) that they give CPS almost unlimited power and leave parents with very few rights. And as society continues to more and more harshly judge those who don’t parent according to the current fashion, these laws give the government the power to deprive people of their most basic rights.

    That’s why I won’t wait for CPS to take their kids to complain about it.

  49. Amanda Matthews May 22, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    @Gina agree 100%. My husband is 7 years older than I am, and no one thinks anything of it. These people are 8 years apart.

    You don’t have to go very far back to see people getting married – with everyone’s blessing – and starting successful families at 13/20.

    Not that I see anything sexual at all about this photo.

  50. Andy May 23, 2014 at 4:00 am #

    @Liz “Look, CPS has protocol.”

    Isn’t CPS protocol made up by CPS? Because if it is, then it is perfectly ok to blame CPS for it.

    Protocol might theoretically contain super-complicated-step: evaluate first evidence. Is it someone with first hand experience or at least living nearby? No? Then what is on the picture? Oh nothing? Then take no action or make only small non-disturbing check.

  51. BL May 23, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    “Look, CPS has protocol. If a call of abuse/neglect is made to them, they have to go out and investigate. ”

    And suppose someone made this sort of call:

    “The Joneses are abusive. They won’t let their 8-year-old walk to the store or library by himself, even though they’re just six blocks away. Do something about it!”

    What do you think CPS would do?

    (By the way, I had that much freedom at 8, though I was more likely to bicycle than walk.)

  52. Katie G May 23, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Problems, whatever they happen to be, jump into the spotlight or at least on public radar, when that problem involves or affects a famous person. That’s pretty much a good thing! Usually it’s a medical matter; how many more people are aware of Parkinson’s Disease because of Michael J Fox? (Just an example!)
    This time, as Lenore’s pointing out, the way CPS focuses on the wrong things, is the problem that’s at least being pointed out.

  53. goodtobehome May 23, 2014 at 7:06 am #


  54. Bostonian May 23, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I agree with mom.

    “Here’s the deal: There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation,” she said. “You guys are projecting your trash onto it and you’re acting like covert pedophiles, and that’s not cool.”

    Look in the mirror, folks. If you think this picture is provocative, you are the pervert. I wouldn’t want _you_ anywhere near my children.

  55. Kay May 23, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Let’s stay on the case. A perfect opportunity to further expose the overreach of CPS and the nitpicking into functional families and causing distress while letting truly abused children go back into the abuser’s hands.

    The concern for this photo and its supposed in appropriateness is highly subjective and I find the assertion ridiculous, especially even with obviously someone else in the room. This qualifies for a month’s long investigation, let alone an investigation at all???!!!

  56. MichaelF May 23, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    “CPS does not exist to act as our national grandma”

    This says it all, and I wonder if the current streak of small government could be focused on this one aspect where a government agency doesn’t really need to have so much power and fear. It’s one of those “you are guilty until proven innocent” sort of departments that once you are under their attention you can do very little.

  57. Donna May 23, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    “‘Here’s the deal: There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation,” she said. “You guys are projecting your trash onto it and you’re acting like covert pedophiles, and that’s not cool.’
    Look in the mirror, folks. If you think this picture is provocative, you are the pervert. I wouldn’t want _you_ anywhere near my children.”

    I don’t find this picture sexual, but I disagree with this statement completely. If it were a picture of just Willow lying on a bed that people found sexual, I would agree (to a certain extent anyway since pedophilia only deals with prepubescent children and Willow is pubescent).

    But it isn’t just a picture of Willow. There is a man in the picture as well. You don’t have to be sexually attracted to anyone in the picture to think that maybe people posing for pictures in bed together are sleeping together. It is not like 13 year olds never have sex.

    I don’t find this particular picture provocative because they aren’t even touching. Put them in slightly different positions and I probably would, despite not being remotely attracted to 13 year old girls (or 20 year old guys for that matter).

  58. SKL May 23, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Where is the outrage over not letting celebrity kids learn how to live the same way as all other kids – complete with foolish mistakes?

    Raise your hand if you never did anything stupid when you were 13 or 20.

  59. Bostonian May 23, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Donna, it’s like this: the photo is just a kid hanging out with a family friend, who from the looks of it just woke up. Any sexual provocativeness in this picture is brought by the viewer. The mom is right to be outraged that people would put that on her child, as would I be.

    If someone looks at this picture and feels sexually provoked, that’s their own problem with pedophilia, not something that’s in the photo. If I found that someone was looking at my kids with a sexual eye like the folks who complain about this picture, I wouldn’t want them in my house – where any one of us might be without a shirt or any two of us might be on a bed or couch. Anybody who describes this picture as two people “in bed together” is sexualizing it with their own perverted imagination. Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s nicer up in the fresh air.

  60. Jen (P.) May 23, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    “Look in the mirror, folks. If you think this picture is provocative, you are the pervert. I wouldn’t want _you_ anywhere near my children.”

    That’s absurd. First, this isn’t a photo of a couple of children on a bed. It’s an adult and fairly mature looking teenager. And second, the term “provocative” does not necessarily imply anything sexual. It simply means tending to provoke. The photo is provocative in the sense that it appears intended to provoke a reaction – moody lighting, weird perspective, his rumpled hair and bare chest, and as someone else mentioned they look kind of like heroin addicts waiting for their next fix. It’s an attempt to be “arty,” and is provocative in that sense. I disagree that that interpretation makes me a pervert.

  61. Jen (P.) May 23, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    @SKL – Totally agree. As I mentioned above, does this mean that parents should now be concerned about getting a call from CPS every time their kids post something stupid or questionable online?

  62. Jen (P.) May 23, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    @Bostonian – Your interpretation of the photo as “just a kid hanging out with a family friend” is every bit as subjective as the interpretation of someone who finds it sexually provocative. It’s ambiguous, and people will read different meanings into it, as they do with any pice of “art.” But your insinuation that someone who does see it as sexually provocative is a pedophile is completely ridiculous. The man is an adult and the teenager appears to be post-pubescent and looks fairly mature. These are not young children.

  63. SKL May 23, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I guess people have different definitions of “provocative.” This is part of what young people need to learn about posting photos. One doesn’t have to be doing or thinking anything sexual to be in a provocative photo. The circumstances leading to the photo could be 100% innocent, but that doesn’t mean publishing it wasn’t 100% stupid.

    I do wish people would stop saying “pedophile” in connection with a teenaged girl. She is too old to be a victim of “pedophilia.” Proper usage of that word is important in my opinion.

  64. Andy May 23, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Two people on bed does not necessary suggest sex to me, whether 13 or older. The position would have to be entirely different. If someone sees it as suggestive, then the problem is in that person head. A kid or young person room without separate couch is common. Young people in such room sit/lie on bed, there is nothing special or exceptional about the situation.

  65. anonymous mom May 23, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Re: the age segregation issue, I do think it’s telling that so many people cannot imagine a 20 year old and 13 year old hanging out in a non-sexual way.

    I was thinking about this this morning, and I think part of the panic over “pedophilia” (not that a 20yo who was attracted to a 13yo who had been through puberty would even be a pedophile, if that were the case) is that we have become a culture that really, really dislikes children and teens. The de facto assumption now is that nobody would CHOOSE to be around a child or teen unless 1) it is their own child and they have no choice or 2) they have some nefarious intentions toward that child or teen. The idea that they might simply LIKE kids (or that somebody might genuinely enjoy the company and conversation of a teen) is beyond us.

    But, there’s no reason why a 13 and 20 year old cannot be friends, especially if both have similar life experiences. Sure, your average 13yo 7th grader and 20yo college student probably wouldn’t have a ton in common, but if they are both in the entertainment world, they probably have a lot in common–and both are probably used to non-age-segregated environments. Who cares? I mean, frankly, even if they were involved sexually, I would see that as an issue for Willow’s family to deal with, not the authorities, unless there was force or manipulation involved. But, the idea that there’s something wrong with them just being friends–or that they couldn’t somehow just be friends–is absurd.

    I was thinking about this because I found out that my 50-something (maybe 60-something) neighbor got a 19yo pregnant. It’s kind of crazy to me that that is totally legal and acceptable and fine, but if instead of a 30-40 year age difference, if she’d been 15 and he’d been 20, he’d be facing serious felony charges. We’re just a very, very strange society when it comes to sex and age, and we have black-and-white views about people’s maturity at certain ages that really don’t hold up in the real world and carry legal consequences far harsher than they should.

  66. Andy May 23, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    @SKL While I agree that those young people need to learn about some might consider provocative, it is still similar to learning how to protect against pickpocketing. They are still victims in that one.

    People whether young or old should not be on constant defensive against gazilions innocent things that might cause outrage in someone. In an ideal world that is.

    But honestly, as I told, I would not guess someone will see this as provocative.

  67. anonymous mom May 23, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    @SKL, the “pedophile” thing is ridiculous. I have heard men who find 16 and 17 year old teens attractive “pedophiles.” Uh, no. A pedophile is attracted to pre-pubescent children. That’s generally 12 and under. 13 can be a gray area, with some people being pretty physically mature and others not. By 14/15, nearly all girls are fully post-pubescent and have all the physical features of adult females. Men who find them attractive–whatever we think about whether they should act on that attraction or not–are NOT pedophiles. “Pedophile” is a term to describe people with a specific sexual disorder, not an insult to throw around to describe guys interested in women younger than we think is okay. I remember reading a news story about an 18yo high school senior who was in trouble for having a relationship with a 14yo classmate and so many comments were calling him a “pedophile.” It just shows that we have absolutely no understanding of what the word means, what pedophilia is, or (and I think this is the most serious) what human sexual desire is like. This is getting OT and controversial, but I think many teens who are 14-17 don’t understand that, if they dress and act in sexually provocative ways, they aren’t sending out some signal that is only reaching guys their age who they are interested in. They are sending out signals reaching EVERY straight male in the vicinity, and they need to be prepared to deal with that (to know how to say no to sexual advances they don’t want). I think many aren’t, because we’ve basically taught them that only a sick pedophile would find a 15yo in a miniskirt attractive, not that most men can’t tell the difference between 14 and 18 or 15 and 20 and so may very well find them attractive and hit on them and they need to be prepared to rebuff advances they don’t want.

  68. pentamom May 23, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    I agree with those who say we can’t just dismiss this as somehow objectively NOT provocative, but on ANY level, involving CPS makes no sense.

    If this is somehow child sexual abuse or child pornography, aren’t those things *crimes*? If that’s really what it is, shouldn’t the, you know, POLICE be involved?

    It isn’t something the police should be involved with, but if there’s nothing to charge anybody with, and no indication that the *parents* are actually promoting this, which there isn’t, then there’s no role for the legal system, of which CPS is a part. Some people seemingly would like it so that government authority can be brought to bear every time something happens that they don’t like, but they actually wouldn’t like it if happened to them.

  69. SKL May 23, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Anonymous mom, I totally agree with your comment that you called “controversial.” It is extremely important. Parents need to talk to young teens about this. Of course every time I say that, I am called a perv or a slut shamer or a rape apologist….

  70. pentamom May 23, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    anonymous mom — add to that, that in the last century or so, our culture has somehow gotten the idea that a man’s interest in a fully grown adult woman more than X years younger than he is, is somehow objectively “creepy” or disordered. There’s no reason this should be — sexual interest in an another adult is not weird. There may be reasons to argue that in most cases two people with a large age difference wouldn’t function well as a couple (though I think that is a generality but not a universal), but that’s not the same thing as saying only some kind of creep would be interested in a young woman if he’s past a certain age. Of course young women are attractive to healthy men of all ages — that’s so duh you wonder why it needs to be said!

  71. SKL May 23, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    I would note that when I was a young teen, I had a female friend who was much older. We became friends when I was about 14 and she was maybe 10 years older. She had been my older brother’s girlfriend and my mom’s babysitter. We used to take long walks together and talk about everything. There was nothing sexual about it, in case anyone wonders. She had some mild mental issues, which might have been why she would befriend someone so young. Anyway, I have no problem seeing people of those ages being friends or hanging out in a larger group of friends. I would have a problem if it got sexual before the younger person reached the age of legal consent.

  72. Donna May 23, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    “the photo is just a kid hanging out with a family friend, who from the looks of it just woke up.”

    You can’t tell that from this picture at all. You may believe that based on later statements made by the Smith family, but you can’t tell “family friend” from “boyfriend” simply by looking at this picture.

    You don’t know these people. From looking at this picture, you don’t know if he is a family friend or her boyfriend. You don’t know if he thinks of her as a little sister or as a hot young girl. It would be completely different if it were your daughter and her long time friend because you know them and the nature of their relationship. But you know absolutely nothing these people. So, no, not automatically assuming “he must just be an old family friend” about picture of two complete strangers lounging on a bed together is not perverted.

  73. Donna May 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    “I do think it’s telling that so many people cannot imagine a 20 year old and 13 year old hanging out in a non-sexual way.”

    I don’t think there is a belief that 13 and 20 years old can’t hang out in a non-sexual way. If you had a picture of the same kids hanging out in by the pool, nobody would have batted an eye. But the vast majority of people that I know, would not allow their 13 year olds to hang out with older opposite sex friends in their bedroom (his or hers).

    That said, I do think it is odd that Arias’ “best friend” is a 15 year old (Jaden, not Willow). It is based on my own personal bias that I didn’t find 15 year olds particularly compelling companions at 20. I could see enjoying hanging out in a little brother/big brother type of relationship, but not as a best friend. Even in Hollywood, it seems odd. It is not like there are not tons of 20 year old celebrities/celebrity children/celebrity wannabes for Arias to hang out with.

    But that is kinda the point. We view these situations of people that we don’t know through the lens of our own life experiences since we don’t actually know anything about the people themselves. It doesn’t mean that we are perverted; just that we are having difficulty seeing outside our own experiences.

  74. SKL May 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    The thing is, why on earth post this picture if it was not intended to suggest something? It’s not a “good photo” of either individual, nor of the place they are in. Initially it does look like the guy is a little more intimate than just sitting behind the girl. (If you take the time to look closely, then you figure out that he may not be touching her and may in fact be keeping a respectful distance. But even then, it is ambiguous.)

    Only the photo publisher knows why the photo was taken and why it was posted. But regardless, it isn’t a CPS matter. Nobody appears to be naked, nobody appears to be “doing” anything sexual, and therefore there is no reason for CPS to be involved, unless of course somebody present alleged that there was more going on that we don’t know about.

  75. J.T. Wenting May 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    “” there’s a 20 year old man in that picture in bed with a 13 year old. Feels like they should be a conversation with him instead.”

    in bed? No, on bed. Clothed people, sitting together on a bed in a room where that’s likely the only place 2 people can sit (if it’s like my room as a teen or even a student, there was only a bed and an office chair in there, plus a desk and a lot of storage space for clothes, books, toys, etc..

  76. SKL May 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I should note that I’m only assuming the guy is wearing pants. Can’t tell from the photo.

  77. Donna May 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    “No, on bed.”

    It looks like he is under the covers to me.

    “Clothed people”

    She is clothed. We see no more than the unclothed chest of him. We have no idea if he has anything on or not.

    “sitting together on a bed in a room where that’s likely the only place 2 people can sit”

    Which simply begs the question as to why they are in the bedroom to start with? I don’t want my teenage daughter hanging out in the bedrooms of her 20 year old male friends (I assume this is his bedroom since he is the one in bed) and we are not even multi-millionaires that live in mansions with umpteen other rooms to hang out in.

    Again, I don’t find this picture sexual or really provocative under any definition. I just don’t think that you have to be a pervert to see the situation as improper. I don’t think it is anything other than a parenting issue though.

  78. Nadine May 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Its not just a guy and girl on a bed.
    There is someone taking a picture. So there is another person in the room.

    I ve had to much troll scroll discussion about this already.
    I apparently dont know what is wrong because im not a mom of a 13 year old girl and
    Thus wouldnt see the danger. But when I answerd that Jada is that mommy superpower didnt apply to her. I seriously wonder why?

  79. Jennifer May 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I’d like to point out that in many homeschool communities–where things are not so age segregated–it is not at all strange to have children strike up friendships with kids (or adults) quite a bit older or younger than they are. My daughter is 11, and her two closest friends are ages 17 and 9. She also goes to a performing arts circus school in the evenings and is friends with much older teenage boys who perform in acts with her. The boys often carry the younger girls around on their backs or shoulders, and they lie together on the gymnastics mats between performances, and no one thinks this is odd because they’re used to doing this sort of thing when they perform. As she gets older some of these relationships will have the potential to become sexual, but it’s perfectly clear that most of them are not.

  80. Nadine May 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Ahh better. Tried to react with the mobile phone and thats annoying. What i tried to say that there is a whole world around those two in the corner that we dont see. Are they watching TV together. Was there only the photographer there or also other people. The picture gives no answers to any of that. That makes is provocative. The story is to open ended and that makes a lot of people uneasy. But that should also make people realize that not everything is judgeable at first glance.

    I find the idea that any guy of 20 being a threat to a girl or inapropriate to hang out with very disturbing. Specially with the reactions about the male babysitters a couple of posts back. This is what that would look like. A young girl and a older male in a private and intimate (and that s not sexual!) situation without the parents present.

  81. mystic_eye May 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    To everyone freaking out over the “bed” aspect. Look, I know the Smiths have a bajillionty dollars and presumably live in a house with dozens of rooms and each room is the size of my whole house. Or maybe not. Maybe this was in a hotel, “on set”, at a cottage, or whaaaatever.

    The thing is that if this were a normal-ish family in a normal-ish house it would be completely normal that there is no other place to sit in a bedroom other than the bed (unless you want to sit on the dresser). At best there’s room for a desk and a solitary small desk chair. If kids, or you know adults living at home or adults living with roommates, want to have their friends in a place other than the common room (living room whatever) then they’re going to be in their bedroom. Maybe for the privacy, maybe because that’s where their stereo/books/computer/posters/etc is, whatever. And they are going to sit on the bed because that is where you sit.

    My kids play video games with their uncle in his room, on or in front of his bed. They go to my university-aged sisters room and visit with the cats on her bed as the cats get locked up when we’re there (as we bring our dog). They go to friends houses and head up to play with the toys in their friends rooms. Sometimes on the floor and sometimes on the bed. A bed is just another piece of furniture, yeah people have sex in it. People also have sex on the couch, floor, kitchen counter, backseat, park, and movie theater.

    No one would question this photo if it was a 20 year old woman in bed with her – even though there’s a fairly decent chance that one of the two of them would be something other than strictly hetero.

    It’s a bed, not a sex swing.

  82. bmommyx2 May 23, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    I agree that CPS shouldn’t be involved unless there is more to it. I’m not sure who he is, is he a friend, family friend, family or what? That might make a difference to me. Also did the parents know he was there in her room? This also makes a difference. Who took the photo? I don’t see anything wrong with this photo, depending on the context. There is also the possibility it was posed? I’m sure there is something more important for CPS to do & it’s not this.

  83. Rachael May 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Well, we can hope something good will come of this… Maybe the Smiths will become advocates against CPS overstepping their bounds. :-). Maybe they could even start a foundation for families who are victimized by CPS, that would be cool.

  84. anonymous this time May 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    I think Jada’s statement is trying to say something like, “We are all experiencing life through the lens of our own judgement and beliefs.” So, if you’re terrified of the prospect of males “molesting” young girls and women, then everywhere you look, it seems like it’s being suggested, or it’s happening.

    When I look at this picture I don’t see anything that triggers a protective response in me. There was a video banned from Youtube recently that showed Russian fathers swinging their infants around by the ankles, and submerging them in a frozen lake. The babies didn’t like the frozen lake part, but otherwise seemed unperturbed, or no more fussed than any other baby in any situation would be.

    Point being: we are quick to shout “abuse” without acknowledging that we have ceased to see what is happening objectively. Any time we use a word like “inappropriate,” “abusive,” or “perverted,” we have completely lost track of how subjective all of this really is.

    You don’t have to condone behaviour you don’t enjoy, but here’s an example of what someone who is triggered by this photo might say, if they’re expressing themselves without judgement:

    “When I look at this, and after being informed that the man is 20 years old and the woman is 13 years old, I feel uncomfortable, I guess because I want some reassurance that there is safety and well-being for that woman.”

    In contrast, here is the judgemental version:

    “This photo is definitely suggestive. They never should have posted this highly provocative photo. It was a stupid mistake.”

    If I go with the non-judgemental version of expression, I have a lot of options to satisfy my own needs for reassurance, safety, and well-being. If I go with the judgemental version, I get more limited, and a lot of “protocols” follow, without considering if they are really getting me toward what I value in the first place.

    When CPS gets called in to support safety and well-being and reassurance, look out. I am not hearing that this is what anyone experiences, especially the kids.

  85. SB May 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    To me it looks like some kids hanging out watching a movie or something. They’re not snuggling. Beds are not just for sleeping and sex, not for everyone anyways. I’ve seen homes that use daybeds in the livingroom. Or as seating in a sunroom where people just lounge in a non-sexual manner. Beds in my home are just another piece of furniture. My siblings come over and we sprawl across them and look at a magazine together. My kids gather and play games on the bed. If, in the picture they were under covers and taking a selfie(as opposed to a third party who obviously took this photo) then I would be concerned. And to those concerned about the moodiness of the filter…have you ever been on Instagram? Everyone is an “artist” with different filters. Who cares what she chose to edit the photo with. The filter doesn’t make it provocative.

  86. Margot May 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    As a child protection worker for a government department, I can tell you that we are way too busy intervening to protect children at significant risk of harm (infants living in squalor with drug-affected parents, children with injuries as a result of brutal beatings, children witnessing their mother being beaten on a daily basis etc) to be much bothered with a picture like this. In poor taste? Yes. Evidence of abuse? Mmmm. No….or not very compelling, anyway.
    I’d say that the workers involved are feeling the need to “DO SOMETHING” because of the media attention, so it does not look like celebrities are above the law.

  87. Puzzled May 24, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    There’s a comment taking her to task for using the word ‘maths.’ Hmm, mathematics is plural, and maths is the term used by every nation except the USA. But, hell, the USA is always right, and if Muricans refer to a plural as a singular, well then anyone who doesn’t deserve what they get, right?

    It’s plural, as an aside, because it’s a mode of thinking that applies to a variety of different structures, of different types – algebraic structures, topological spaces, vector spaces, set universes,…

  88. JP Merzetti May 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    “This same picture could easily have been an ad for a high end designer that she was paid to be in and appeared in numerous magazines and no one would have blinked about it.”

    Right you are, Melissa.
    But that particular scenario has the blessings of a money culture, along with its high-profiteering free-enterprised corporatized religion.
    The picture in question can be scritinized as “imitating” that motif….(as my generation used to do with impunity, for donkey’s years)
    But then, CPS had not the power or monetary motivation back in those days.

    This family is a revenue-generating opportunity, folks.
    For all the wrong sorts of people – none of whom will ever be on their side.

    And on a final note:
    Back in the day this would have been a hard-copy photo stuck on someone’s wall or fridge.
    It would not have been social-mediated all over hell’s half-acre. Big difference. Obtrusive interference is what it’s all about.
    Kick Nannie to the curb, please!

  89. Amanda Matthews May 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I hope you guys all realize that people can have sex on a couch in a living room (or heck, in a school hallway) just the same as they can on a bed in a bedroom, and that people of the same gender can have sex. If you think that never letting your teen have an opposite-gender friend in their bedroom keeps them from having sex you will be in for a surprise.

  90. poosie May 25, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    Age is nothing but a number. Who agrees with this when it comes to your children and adults!? Its what Will and Jada teach their kids. Also that their kids should be treated as adults, and to handle adult issues on their own. Now what?

  91. Donna May 25, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    “I hope you guys all realize that people can have sex on a couch in a living room”

    I may not be the most observant person on the planet, but I think that I’d notice my child having sex on our living room couch.

    “people of the same gender can have sex.”

    Yes, but you generally know this is coming down the pike at a pretty young age if you don’t ignore the signs.

    “If you think that never letting your teen have an opposite-gender friend in their bedroom keeps them from having sex you will be in for a surprise.”

    No, but it limits the opportunities, shows that you do not approve of the actions and limits the possibility of them being forced to make decisions that they are not ready to make. Now at some age, I stop caring, and as long as they are acting responsibly, I have no reason to interfere. 13 is not that age and have no plans to allow my 13 year old daughter, who currently shows no signs of being gay, to hang out alone with guys in her bedroom. I certainly have no intentions of allowing her to visit her 20 year old male friend’s apartments where they proceed to hang out in his bedroom. Call me a prude if you want to, but I just think that it is good parenting.

    There is a difference between treating your children respectfully by allowing them to make maturity-appropriate decisions for themselves and allowing them to be in situations where they are forced to make adult decisions.

    As a child, I was raised pretty much with no rules by my hippie parents who thought I should be free to grow as I wanted to grow. It is not the empowering childhood that some of you want to make it. Sure, a lot of the time it was great fun, but there were many times that I wished, even as a child, that my parents had done more to protect me from my own stupidity. And I was a smart, responsible kid by nature (who also happened to not like the effects of drugs) so I was able to succeed, but even my parents have come to view it as despite my parenting, not because of it. My clients, most of whom had equally rule-free childhoods, are not so lucky.

    In my opinion, parenting requires a balancing act between being too controlling and too lax. Treating children as perpetual infants doesn’t allow them to grow, but treating them as adults doesn’t empower them; it removes their sense of security. Children gain confidence and good decision making skills by being allowed to go into situations where they feel slightly uncomfortable, not by being allowed to go into situations were they end up in way over their heads. And, since young people don’t always have the life experiences to know which way it will go upfront, parents need to set boundaries.

  92. Amanda Matthews May 25, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    Poosie, I do.

    Donna yes you’d notice them having sex on the couch, IF you constantly hover while some one of the opposite gender is over.

    I’d rather my kids be comfortable letting me know they are in a relationship, and me getting them birth control and teaching them to use it correctly, than doing what I did with my parents: make it appear that I’m going to be with my similarly aged, same gendered friends, or making it appear that I am at school, but actually being with older guys. I wasn’t having sex with them, but there was plenty of opportunity for me to do so if I wanted. And I would have been unprepared if I had decided to do so.

    I don’t fear my kids having sex as long as they do it safely (and I really don’t understand why anyone does). If I forbid it, they will just do it unsafely. Free range parenting, to me, means teaching kids the skills they need to get through life safely and efficiently and allowing them to do so; not just having DIFFERENT rules than hoverparents, but similarity based on fear…

  93. SKL May 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Poosie, in my experience, the kids whose parents were “rational” about sex, i.e., didn’t forbid it but made sure they had “protection,” are the ones who got pregnant unintentionally.

    My parents did forbid it, but they didn’t dwell on it. They gave us freedom depending on the amount of trust we earned. Which (in the case of all 3 of their daughters) was a lot. None of us daughters abused the freedom to the extent of having sex. We didn’t want to. Imagine that.

    There’s more than one way to be smart about kids and sex.

  94. Papilio May 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    “maths is the term used by every nation except the USA”
    Anglosphere-centered much? 😀

  95. compassion May 26, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    It’s a photograph, it’s one that doesn’t show anyone coming to frank harm or doing anything against the law, and yet we all want to get into a discussion about what is appropriate, how to handle kids and sex, what limits to impose on children in their bedrooms… wow.

    Provocation is in the brain of the beholder, folks. This is the truth. Whether someone beholds an elementary-school-aged child sitting alone in a car on a day that won’t precipitate hypo- or hyperthermia, a child or children of post-preschool age playing in a public park without “their” adults, a kid walking by themselves anywhere (and clearly not a toddler who wandered away from home), or this photograph of two humans, any alarm, disturbance, terror, or panic felt is the sole responsibility of the observer, not the child, and not the parents.

    I can’t say it any plainer than that.

  96. Lenora May 29, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    I have 5 daughters (4 are teens) and one son (8), I think the photo is very inappropiate on many levels. Its the lack of knowledge and common sense is why kids get caught up in sticky situations. Time is different, a lot of things were happening to children because people weren’t trying to expose certain situations. Now that exposure has surfaced, people now see things with a different eye. The young girl is only 13 the young man is 20, they’re in a BED not a pool, orlaying on a beach somewhere, it’s a personal private photo. Lack of better judgement and lack of common sense is what’s wrong with this photo. People have lost their career do to a photo that their employer found inappropiate. As far as CPS… the Smith’s better not have the attitude “my kids life.. let them be in control” is not going to fly. CPS stands for Child Protective Services, and if the parents can’t protect their children CPS will find parents who will.

  97. Blue May 30, 2014 at 2:48 am #

    Haven’t read all the comments, but it doesn’t seem like anyone has noted the elephant in the room…this wouldn’t be happening if we were talking about a WHITE celebrity couple.