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Has Sir Bob Geldof's Daughter Peaches Been Destroyed by the Web?

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Last week a bona fide web scandal broke in the English newspapers that raises some big questions about what we are telling our children about the dangers of the web.

The daughter of Sir Bob Geldof, the pop star who pioneered Live Aid and invented the modern mega charity event, was compromised by some photos which appeared on the web.

An ex lover, 23-year-old artist Ben Mills, posted naked photos of Peaches Geldof online and told the world they were taken during a heroin-fueled sex session in Los Angeles late November.

The images showed the 21-year-old bleary eyed, posing in a pair of black knickers with a blond-haired companion. You can see the pictures here.

Embarrassed by the lewd images, bosses at the Ultimo lingerie company have decided Geldof can no longer be the face of their underwear line. They've torn up her modeling contract, worth $150,000 a year. According to them, she was setting a bad example to their young female audience. They immediately ordered pictures of Miss Geldof to be removed from their window displays, website and department stores where their brand is sold.

Peaches is said to be devastated. But she is no stranger to drug related problems. She was just 11 her mother Paula Yates, estranged wife of Sir Bob, died of a heroin overdose in 2000. Back then her mother's death was widely publicized.

What is the lesson of this sad story? Apart the obvious anti-drugs slant, it seems to me a terrifying foreshadowing of what awaits us all. The ubiquity of camera phones and the means to distribute photos means no one is safe: humiliation and ruin awaits anyone who is caught on camera committing an act of indiscretion.

Ok if you are a consenting adult you might say, but what if you are a teen who does something foolish? (And what teens don't?) Will those images be shared around high school and the world?

Has digital technology turned us into a society of snoops, who can't wait to betray each other's privacy for a few cheap laughs?

Should we tell our children to fear anyone with a camera or camera phone in their hand? Increasingly, I think the answer is yes. What do you think?


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