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Rihanna fans who follow the singer on social media know about the close relationship the 28-year-old has with her niece, Majesty. Majesty regularly shows up in Rihanna’s Snapchats and Instagrams, and the singer’s latest slew of Instagram posts are no exception.
In them, Rihanna and Majesty can be seen walking through a lobby, riding in car together, and sharing a kiss on the lips while Majesty is in the bathtub. While many fans have commented on the cuteness of the photos, some aren’t so pleased with the latter picture, especially about the fact that both Rihanna and Majesty are naked in it. “Child porn,” one person wrote. “Why do I find this inappropriate?” another said. Still more protested about the kiss on the lips.
Clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Beauty that it’s perfectly fine to be naked in front of young children who are close family members. “In fact, it has many benefits,” he says. “It helps children accept their bodies and who they are. It helps them accept differences between people.”
Mayer says that it can also help protect children against bullying, since the number one reason children are teased and bullied is because of how they look. “If a child is raised in a home where body acceptance is taught, then you protect your child from future bullying,” he says.
Of course, that has limits. Mayer says it’s typically best to stop being naked around children when they’re of preschool age to teach them that it’s socially appropriate to be clothed in front of others. “As their social circle expands, their ability to generalize is not fully developed, so they will not be able to discriminate among other families and peers,” he explains. Meaning, a child may not understand why it’s OK to be naked in front of her parents but not at school or at other people’s homes.
As for the kiss on the lips, Mayer says that’s viewed by children as nothing more than a show of affection, provided they’re raised with this being normal in their family circle. (Victoria Beckham also recently received criticism for posting a photo on Instagram of herself kissing her daughter, Harper, on the lips.) “It is the criticism that comes from ‘others’ that makes judgments on such practices,” he says, noting that kissing family members on the lips is more common in some cultures and families than others. Mayer adds that there’s no potential concern with this practice, unless someone is visibly sick, since it could promote the spread of germs.
However, Mayer says it’s just not a good idea to put pictures of children on the Web. “Sexual predators, those addicted to child pornography, sexual deviants, etc. will use and abuse such pictures, and you have no control over where that picture shows up,” he says. “Further, there have been many cases where, based on a photo, a predator has stalked a child just from the picture.”
Naked photos are especially concerning. “For Rihanna to post this picture was wrong, very wrong and dangerous,” Mayer says. “In many states, this would have been an action that would lead to an investigation by the department of children and family services or the child protective agency of that state. It could be considered a form of exploitation of the child.”
So, while naked bathtub photos may be adorable, it’s probably best to take a pass on posting them on social media.