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Do you kiss your children on the lips? Beckham photo stirs controversy

Victoria Beckham posted a photo of herself kissing daughter Harper on the lips, and the Internet had plenty to say about it.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

To celebrate daughter Harper turning 5 on Sunday, both soccer star David Beckham and Spice Girl Victoria Beckham posted photos of themselves with her on Instagram. But it was Victoria's photo that shook up the internet, because the mom and daughter are sharing a smooch on the lips.

The photo quickly earned more than 500,000 likes, but according to the BBC, some Instagram users commented negatively about the lip kiss. Those comments were quickly buried under positive comments defending the gesture, to the point that it was hard to find even one negative comment amidst the 4,000+ that were posted.

The BBC consulted a "social etiquette expert," Liz Brewer.

"Normally with a member of your family you don't kiss on the lips unless it's your husband," Brewer told the BBC. "I would be uncomfortable doing that and I think most people would be. If she feels it's appropriate, so be it. I wouldn't say it sets a particularly good example."

One user claimed it wasn't the kiss, but the public sharing that was at issue, writing, "It's about one celebrity who was careless to post this on her social media for the publicity and wasn't smart enough to understand the implications of doing so on the media full of sometimes extremely dangerous people. So, kissing or not kissing your child on the lips is up to your cultural and socially acceptable norms, posting a photo of kissing of children on the lips - Never.

Many came to the photo's defense.

"At 41, I still kiss my dad on the lips and my 16 yr old son," wrote one Instagram user. "There is nothing sordid in it, it's just family."

For some, it was just all about the germs. "I never kiss my kids on the lips, but that's because kids' mouths are disgusting, always sticky and crumb-infested," wrote another. "If you can bear to kiss someone on the lips, it has to be a great bonding experience."

And in this time of seemingly daily shootings, educational psychologist and author Dr. Michele Borba found the anti-kiss contingent ridiculous.

Is there anything more glorious than a mom showing her love for her child?" Borba asked TODAY Parents. "That this mother chose to kiss her 5-year-old daughter on the lips to celebrate her birthday should be celebrated! In a time when we are hurting and seeing the most horrific images imaginable, a photo of love should be cherished."