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Photos found on computer - Carers UK Forum

Photos found on computer

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I posted back in October 2021 about the difficulties we are having with our daughter who is now 13. A few days ago, we found photographs she had taken of herself in the nude, at the time she was 12 and they are on her computer. She was getting rid of her computer so we logged in to wipe the data and found the photographs. We have no idea if she has sent the photographs to anybody else. We feel unable to talk to her directly about this due to the very precarious nature of her mental health, it could tip her over the edge of she knew we knew about the photos but at the same time, we desperately want to establish if those photographs have been sent to anyone so we can do damage limitation. Do we ask her directly or just leave it alone? She won't tell us anything anyway if we do ask her, she will just get angry and storm up to her room.

We are very reluctant to involve any outside agencies as we don't feel they really help at all, they are only concerned with following processes, not looking at the whole person.

We are planning to ask her counselor for advice next week but in the meantime, if anybody has experience in this area it would be good to hear from you.

Looking at the bigger, picture, our daughter has been self harming since February 2021 and during the past year, we have moved forward quite a bit but we are still in a very worrying place. She is now very sociable with her friends and not hiding in her room gaming anymore. Our daughter was eventually seen by CYPS for counselling 1.5 years after referral for self harm, but they tell us they are unable to treat her as they think there may be an underlying autism diagnosis. We are looking at a wait of at least 2 years before autism assessment can begin so we are stuck in limo. She has been getting private counselling weekly and has a good relationship with her private counselor.

what a worry for you on top of caring for your daughter.

As you were able to log on to her old computer, you can probably also view her emails and social media accounts from the same laptop to see if she has sent the photos to anyone from her laptop. Does she have a mobile phone too? She may have WhatsApp etc that you could check too.

I think that it's rather a cop out that CYPS won't work with her whilst she awaits an assessment for autism. However, I don't know how to challenge this. Youngminds https://www.youngminds.org.uk may be able to advise or the National autistic society https://www.youngminds.org.uk

I think discussing it with her private counsellor is a good idea.

CYPS may believe there's an underlying diagnosis but that does not preclude counselling. However, they don't like to offer counselling until there is a clear diagnostic situation as it may inform the counsellor on a safe way forward.

There are lots of possible explanations for the photos and I certainly don't envy you in that situation as you have to assume the worst while you try to unpick what has actually happened. Other than Melly1's suggestion, I can't really offer anything else.

But it may be worth checking the data on the photos: when they were taken, that sort of thing. If they were taken over a period of time, does it fit with any behaviour over her eating habits, for example, as it may be that she is moving into an eating disorder where whatever her appearance, she feels fat? Or skinny, or there is a feature of her appearance she's unhappy about...which while not good, is perhaps a little less worrying.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, we did not have full access to her p.c. as we had to log in as admin and could only see a few photos that were saved on the hard drive. She will not share any passwords to phone, i-pad, laptop or p.c. with us. So we are sadly unable to view her on line life which is a massive worry. The comment about an eating disorder did ring true as she was struggling with this around the time we think the photos were taken.

After much thought, we have taken the decision not to tackle this head on to avoid a nasty confrontation and the strong possibility of cutting herself as a result of this. Instead, we are going to initiative a general discussion around sending nude pictures to others, on the back of a news story I had recently read in the news. We have already had that conversation with her as a general discussion but we will re-introduce the subject without telling her about the photos we found.

Thanks you for your comments,