ICloud Apple Jennifer Lawrence

Celebrity Nude Pics leak highlight a need to educate the children of social media

By Iona St Joseph |

September 3, 2014 | 7 min read

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of days, you’ll have heard about the scandal that took the internet by storm. You’d be forgiven for something that gained this much reaction was actual news, but sadly you’d be wrong.

Over the weekend, a hacker allegedly managed to access the iCloud services of a number of female celebrities, and took it upon themselves to steal several nude images, and distributed them on 4Chan. This list of celebrities included big names such as Lea Michelle, Kim Kardashian and, the one everyone is talking about, Jennifer Lawrence.

Apple has since denied that the breach was anything to do with its iCloud service however.

There seem to be two main opinion camps on the matter. There are those who think that what happened was wrong and the person in question should be held accountable for their actions, and those who think that ‘hey, if you want to live a life in the limelight, you have to be prepared for these types of things to happen’.

The latter view, in the most part, seems to belong to idiots. Just because you live your life in the public eye does not mean that you deserve to have the part of that life that remains private exposed to the world. It’s not really that stupid to think that storing images in a cloud based service with one of the world’s biggest tech companies might mean that they are safe.

Despite the fact that the media seem to be suitably disgusted by the issue, every single news outlet has been posting about the topic, over and over again. Sure, they’re not posting pictures of the images, but if the pictures had been posted on 4Chan and had done the rounds on the internet, would they have been as widely looked at and discussed had the entire national media not taken it upon themselves to report this “news” story? Probably not.

Not only was a 4Chan user responsible for posting the original images, but other users on the site thought it would be a good idea to attempt the “worldwide trolling of a lifetime” and start using the #LeakforJLaw hashtag, which aimed to get other women to strip off in ‘solidarity’ with the Hunger Games star. 4Chan were the brains behind other catchy hashtags, including #CutForBieber and #EndFathersDay.

Fortunately, the rest of the internet have surprised everyone in revealing that they’re not all total idiots, and the hashtag flopped. Several users were taking the piss out of the hashtag, whilst others were (suitably) disgusted by the whole idea of it.

But what if people did take it seriously? What if a 16-year-old, who loved ‘JLaw’ in the Hunger Games, thought it was a totally legit hashtag and decided to go along with it? And then all her friends did too? The internet probably wouldn’t be as willing to share those.

People would probably say ‘she’s just a slag’ and ‘if she’s that stupid she deserves it’, but look at what happened to Magaluf Girl. One misjudged, drunken night in a bar abroad led to her being publicly shamed on the internet. No-one deserves to have their worst decision ever broadcast to the world.

In an age when people seem to be so outraged at various different governments trying to access everyone’s phone records and internet histories, it’s quite ironic that these very same people are the ones out there looking for illegally obtained images of celebrities.

And why, in 2014, when feminism and the idea of women being equal to men has come so far, hackers feel that naked pictures of female celebrities are worth more than, say, the secrets of politicians and government officials, is still difficult to comprehend.

There are so many pictures of boobs and vaginas on the internet. Seriously, we don’t need any more. We’ve all seen them, whether it’s by accident or on purpose, we have enough genitals to be getting on with rather than adding more to the mix, especially of people who don’t want them to be seen.

The whole topic has been amplified by the power of the internet, both traditional and social media have caused the images to travel far further than they should have. Should the media really have given the topic the amount of attention that they did?

Not only is it ridiculous that people are sharing something which is so obviously not ok, the fact that people think other internet users are going to be naïve enough to share pictures of themselves on the internet is an issue in itself. If someone chooses to take advantage of that naïvity, where does it end? It’s just another issue that leaves me worrying for the future of humanity

There needs to be more education on the topic of social media, particularly for parents. You can tell your child not to go on Facebook, but at the end of the day if they have a mobile phone, there’s nothing you can really do to stop them. Parents need to make sure they’re fully clued up enough to be able to explain to their kids what’s out there, and what they need to do if they’re unsure about how to handle a situation.

The topic needs to be tackled in schools as well. I firmly believe that kids should be given lessons on how to act on social media. Either that, or everyone that shares the images should have their most private and embarrassing moment dragged up, posted on the internet, and dissected by everyone in the entire world. Whatever.

ICloud Apple Jennifer Lawrence

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