Social media can be a great way to connect with old friends and to make announcements for events; however, it can also be a dangerous place where child predators lurk and identities are stolen. On TODAY this morning, 11/4/2019, we learned the story of one mom who is a photographer. After posting pictures on Instagram of her son and his wrestling team, she later discovered the same photo of her son linked to porn site. Her photos had been stolen by a predator and used to exploit children. The screen name was #ilikestrongkids50 which was the hashtag the mom used.
Andrea Van Wagner is sounding the alarm after discovering photos of her 9-year-old son on a stranger’s Instagram account coupled with others of half-dressed children. She talks to NBC’s Vicky Nguyen about the security of your children’s photos when posting online.
Andrea contacted Instagram but only after she contacted a local tv station, did Instagram remove the user and photos.
Cyber expert Jim Stickley says when you generally set up an account, it is set to public. You need to immediately change this to private. Click on settings, click on private. You cannot change your account to private if you only try to make a photo private. It’s all of nothing. If you do not do this, any photos you post can be stolen. He also reminded us to never post pictures of our children in swimsuits or half-nude. He says to never do this even of yourself. Do not add hashtags with photos. A porn site could be named the same wording as your hashtag.
Brittany Champagne, a mom in Riverton, Utah, came across photos of her 8-year-old daughter attached to a fake Instagram profile last week. “While I was scrolling to find people I might know, I found someone who had a picture of my daughter as her profile picture,” Champagne tells Yahoo Parenting. The anonymous user had taken a number of Champagne’s Facebook photos, posted them on Instagram, and added hashtags to the photos that were connected to porn sites.
But confusion around social media privacy settings isn’t unusual, and with frequent privacy updates on sites like Facebook, it’s important that parents check their settings regularly, says Denise DeRosa, program manager for Good Digital Parenting at the Family Online Safety Institute.
In some cases, the images grabbed from Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts are being manipulated and photo-shopped, so that the head of the child is pasted onto another child’s naked body.
A 32-year-old Phoenix man allegedly downloaded 83 pictures of a nine-year-old girl from the account of one of his Facebook friends and posted them to a Russian child porn site, CBS 5 reports.
Ref. yahoo/news.com, NBC, TODAY,news.com.au
Photo courtesy of Bing via prweb.com