Thursday, May 25, 2006

Naked Kids at Play Sparks Online Debate

Published: May 08, 2006 02:03 pm

STEVE AND LYNELLE: Naked kids at play

Dear Steve and Lynelle,

There is a family that moved into our middle-class neighborhood several years ago. They have two young children and are very good parents. We like them a lot and get along well with them.

Last summer we were amused and slightly shocked to see the children playing outside in the nude. Although there is always one of the parents supervising the children, their house sits on a corner lot and can be viewed by approximately seven other neighbors and everyone traveling down our busy street.

Since that time, this incident has escalated to several, almost daily, occurrences of the completely nude children. One time the mother even commented that her children are like little nudists and if it were up to them, would be in the nude all the time.

This year, even with only a few warm days, I’ve seen the children naked again. With so many predators and pedophiles, I am deeply concerned for their safety, especially because they are so visible to persons outside the neighborhood from the street. I have cautiously mentioned this to the parents, but it hasn’t helped. Although the parents are with them all the time, I’m still concerned. I find it embarrassing and somewhat exploitative seeing these innocent children naked outdoor for anyone’s eye. What should be done, if anything?

Steve: Ah, there’s nothing like running around au naturel in nature to free the mind and cleanse the spirit. So they say. Since this curiously free feeling is not available to older children and adults, unless they find a nature camp, kids are the last bastion of tossing off the suits of civility.

I actually don’t see anything wrong with this. You don’t give the age of the kids but I’m guessing they’re small. Kids enjoy running naked in the hot summer months. They play in sandboxes then jump in the backyard pool to get washed off. It’s part of being a kid, and it’s always been that way. Nowadays, however, parents don’t seem to want their kids to be kids, but miniature adults.

I do understand your point about pedophiles, but it seems as if the parents are watching them constantly. Caution should be taken at all times about this. From the tone of your letter, however, this seems to be more of a problem for you than anyone else. I notice your use of the term “middle-class neighborhood,” which suggests that you rue the day these bohemians moved in.

Parents raise their kids differently, and, who knows, maybe this will prevent some uptight Puritanism from creeping into their lives and teach them to be more accepting of others.

What should be done? Don’t look if you’re disturbed. You’ve talked to the parents and they’re content to let their children be “little nudists.” They’ll soon enough grow into their own self-awareness and the days of nudity will be over.

Lynelle: I think it’s OK to be concerned for their safety, but, like Steve, I just believe they’re being kids. With the parents constantly watching them, it sounds as though they are well-protected. If you are truly concerned, I would try to talk to the parents again, even though you said that hasn’t worked. Maybe you can ask them to keep the kids in the back yard, but if the parents are all right with letting their kids run around in the buff, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you. Again, as Steve said, just look away.

This seems like the sort of thing you’ll be able to look back on with your neighbors and say, “Remember when it was safe enough to let our kids run free in the front yard?” Soon, it won’t even be an issue because children grow fast.

Steve and Lynelle want to give you advice! They are always looking for good questions to answer, so pass on your drama, dating disasters, relationship woes and any problems that come your way. Write to them at or send a letter to them at 1133 Jackson St., Anderson, IN 46016. Too frustrated to write? Call Steve at (765) 640-4863 or Lynelle at (765) 640-4847. Advice columnists Steve Dick and Lynelle Miller bring unique perspectives to your problems each Tuesday. Steve, 53, is married with a son and lives in Muncie. Lynelle, 24, is living the single life in Anderson.

Story Comments

I have no problem with this, in fact, when my daughter, who is now 31, was age 2 and 3, we let her do the same thing. However, puritanism aside, and even though the parents are watching the children at all times, has anyone (Steve or Lynelle) (the parents of these children) taken into consideration that, in this technologically advanced age, perhaps a pedophile could be taking pictures of these children and putting them on the internet without the parents' knowledge, or using the pictures for his/her own private use (yuk!)? Hello, these are different times we now live in, and I think the write may be correct.
Sue Ann


After reading that story I am disgusted. Who are you to decide how your neighbor raises there children? You are a prude and a pervert because you continue to stare and obsess. My mother and father always let us run around naked when we where children, and having children of my own now, I realise that not only do children want to be nude, but keeping cloths on them is near imposable. I could understand if they where in a public building with there nude little children or if there children had reached the age of puberty, but my gosh... I bet you know every ones business on your block. Modisty is only one more thing to be insecure about.
Mom in Elwood


There is nothing more innocent and touching as the view of naked children at play. I am sorry for those overconcerned adults who are insecure and are disturbed by those who have confidence in their neighbors. IMHO it is exactly this attitude of hiding from everybody's eyes, instilled in our children, which puts the first brick of the obsession with human body. Some of these poor kids who have never saw how the human body looks like, will ultimately become pedophiles. I think that if you were able to see naked kids playing safely on every corner of our streets, the problem with sexual crimes would disappear altogether. Rouslan in France


Put clothes on the kids if they're outside. Period. In this day and age as the other commentor mentioned, it's the wise thing to do. Mom in Elwood, it isn't hard to keep clothing on children. Be the parent and not a wuss.


Ah the innocence of youth. Hey, even at 50-plus, I can't stand to have clothing on during the hot balmy summers here in Texas. Young children seem to have the right idea about dressing or undressing for comfort. Additionally, studies on families that are more "carefree" about clothing show that children raised in such situations are generally more honest, well adjusted and less likely to get involved in deeds of misconduct. Besides, our bodies are created in God's image. If you don't like the way they look, take it up with Him. Sincerely, Nathan Powers
Nathan Powers


When my husband and I were stationed in Germany it was a common practice to see young children nude, at the beach, in the yard, at the inside pools, etc. It was and is completely innocent and I think kids should be allowed to enjoy their freedom before they get all the hang-ups. I would agree however with the comment of someone from afar taking pictures, our technology has come along way. If the parents are keeping a close watchful eye I think it's fine.


as a resident of a country where every bad thing that happens is not blamed on pedophiles, & where the existence of human bodies is not automatically associated with sin, i find the american negativity about & preoccupation with sex & nudity to be deeply disturbing. america has many great cultural traits --rock & roll for example-- but the tight lipped curtain twitching exemplified in this post makes me feel extremely suspicious of america & its influence. i don't want any of these puritan attitudes near my kids. keep well away please.


To the individual who lives outside the United States. Not everyone in the USA shares the belief that the human body is sinful, and something to be covered up at all times. As a person who grew up in the Anderson area, and who would routinely play naked inside and outside, swim naked with his friends, I can say that we all grew up well adjusted, and none of us turned into perverts or pedophiles. Somes others that I know who grew up in highly regulated enviroments, where their nudity was frowned on did grow up to have a healthy addiction to porn. For those reading who are religous, I am a devout Christian myself. In the Christian Bible, God created man and woman naked. They lived naked until the introduction of sin into the world, and it still was not God who told them that being naked was wrong. marc


I am not living in USA. Naked kids on the beach it was a norm during my childhood. I myself was naked on the beach until I was 10-11 y.o. I fully agree with the innocence of the childrem. Moreover, even if I am biased, I think human beings are not to be ashamed by their bodies. I think in places like beaches, own yards and gardens etc. clothing should be optional.
bare romanian


I'll go you one better. Look at civilizations throughout time, from ancient Greece to Medieval Europe and Britian to modern day countries in all regions of the world. What the objective can witness, given sufficient courage, is that children are, in fact, sexual creatures, and that there is nothing wrong with that. It seems clear that there exist, objectively, exactly two sexual crimes, and two only; coercion and deception. So, as long as there is no instance of bodily coercion (i.e. forceable rape, as opposed to the unsupported standard of "statutory rape," which is age-based arbitrarially) or deliberate deception (e.g., lies or tricks such as drugs or alcahol being administered to yield an exploited advantage), there can be no legitimate accusation of indecency. Personal choices can be made of this type at any age, in theory, so long as the chooser can utter the words "yes" and "no" in the relevant native language, and understand when they say them that yes means affirmative and no means negative. That is the only standard for "consent" that objective history and psychology can justify. And anyone of us who was ever "underage" and had so much as a crush on an similarly "underage" classmate or neighbor kid would have to be technically considered a "perverted" pedophile as well. I, for one, find that to be absurd. But why then does it matter more when one person is younger but the other is older? Does the younger person, now, suddenly not know what they're cmfortable with? I can't see how this would be the case. They can still say "yes" and "no" meaning that, unless the young person is mentally handicapped, they are proving they've the language comprehension threshold to "give consent." It is in line with the saying "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." Noone should have to be a PhD Biologist to be able to say they "know what they're doing." All we're assessing is whether the straightforward physical sensations themselves (i.e. pleasurable tingles) and / or the emotional properties (i.e. love or affection, such as is routinely felt by "healthy" people at all ages towards family and friends) are inherantly harmfull or not. Personally, I'd say the historical and psychological evidence says we ought to be far more concerned with violence than intimacy. Thank you.
History's Witness


My wife and I are both nudists, and as nudists I was to make it perfectly understood here in a TEXTILE forum (TEXTILE meaning those who prefer clothing) that Nudism has absolutely nothing to do with sex! In fact it is not about sex at all. It is about personal freedom and BODY ACCEPTANCE! Learning to accept one's own flaws and then being able to open that vulnerability to others and say, "This is me this is all that I am and I accept, and share it with you." is the beginning of personal mind freedom!! So, if we take on all these hang-ups and become so obsessed with how we look and our own imperfects, why then do we what to prematurely force this upon innocent children? Get a grip and psychologically grow up... If you are soooooooooo concerned about the safety of the children, then help the parents keep an eye on them the more eyes watching them the safer they are!!! And as far as some perv stealing pics of my kids, big deal so they get a simple nude pic.. Just as long as they don't physically come into contact with my child or touch them inappropriately I am happy... Think about this before you use it as an excuse to force someone else to be more like what you see as right... PEDOPHILES and OTHER associated PERVERTS are going to look at children and do what they do, see what they see, and think what they think, no matter if that child is clothed or naked and that is the absolute truth and hiding them under tons of clothes isn't going to change that !!!! I further submit that it will only lead to Curiosity (As to what is under those clothes) they may in fact push some to TRY and find out what is there any way they can... remove the curiosity and remove the need to try and find out... Don't that sound logical?
David C.


I don't think that there is anything wrong with the kids being nude at all. Why would there be? They are just playing withought clothes. Clothes are just pieces of cloth or leather or some other material that hides the body. As it has been mentioned before, God created us (withought clothes) in his image. If, infact (as all Christians acknowledge) God doesn't sin, or lead others to sin, then would it not be reasonable to assume that if he created humans withough clothes, then it is not a sin, and also, if the parents are supervising the kids, I don't see why it is a problem. I also don't see how taking pictures of a nude child could possibly hurt them. It's not like they are having sex or being raped. If pedophiles wanted to take a child, or molest them, etc. they would do it. It doesn't really matter that the clothes are there, they won't be for long if that is what the predator wants. If you want a bannana, the peel doesn't stop you. To take it off, and then you get what is inside. If you want what is inside a present, the wrapping doesn't prevent you from getting what is inside. Same with a child. The clothes are the "peel". The "Wrapping". I have had first hand experience with growing up in a nude-is-bad home. What do you know, I got addicted to porn. Weee. How fun. Not. It tortured me and twisted me untill I didn't care anymore. Well, thanks to the grace of God, I was able to quit. After that, I was introduced to Naturism (Nudism to all you folks) by a friend. I have not yet been publicly, but I have seen a lot of nude people that were not in porn or anything sexual at all. Guess what. It did not at all make me want to have sex. And that is something, because most clothes I see are more suggestive than a nude body. Using your imagination is so much more arousing. (And for me not to be aroused is something, because it doesn't really stop very much when you are only 14). The shame and 'no-no' I felt toward a nude body gave me a strange inclination to look at it. Again, and again, and again. How many people do you think actually don't look behind the metaphorical door that says 'don't open' or press the metaphorical button labelled 'do not press'. If God wanted us to be nude, we would be born that way.



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