If we’re being honest, there’s no reason for someone who doesn’t know you in real life to need to know what your family looks like. Your friends get your updates, while keeping those who you’ve not accepted—out.
Beyond that, there are some things you should know about the types of photos you post of your children.
Erin Cash is a woman with 12 years experience on the Queensland Police force. She’s worked as both a detective in pedophile and child abuse task forces.
In a powerful blog post that’s taken her more than 10 years to write, Erin shares some powerful advice on what parents need to know.
“It has taken over a decade for me to write this post because I know that I will have re-visted images and situations from my career that haunt me,” wrote Erin.
But she believes NOW is the time to educate parents on this pressing matter.
Generally speaking, when you take a picture of your kids, it never crosses your mind what you might photoshop in or out of that photo. Obviously your child is perfect, the photo is sweet, so there’s no need to change a thing.
While that may be the case for parents, Erin explains that online predators see things much differently. A picture of your 7-year-old in her modest, one-piece (KIDS) bathing suit at the beach can quickly become a naked photo of your daughter with a couple of snips and pastes in photoshop. It may not be “her body,” but her face is now being passed around in circles of nasty people.
It may seem sweet to post photos of your kids bathing, or running around half-dressed—especially if there’s a good story to go along with it—but generally speaking, you wouldn’t post photos like that of yourself, so protect your kids by doing the same.
Beyond the obvious—pedophiles DO look for photos that are not just exposed body parts. This is where things get a little scary, because it’s one thing to never think about photoshopping your kid in a picture, but what about photoshopping the things around them? Online predators are notorious for using what most of us would consider a “normal” or “sweet” photo, and turning it into something nasty. They often look for photos that can be altered to make your child or teen look like they are part of a sexual act.
Though sometimes, Erin admits altered images aren’t always the case, even when she prays they are. She recalled one particularly vivid and scarring photo that has never left her mind:
“I used to pray that when I saw a photo of a baby in a nappy and a sexually aroused man in the image that the image was ‘superimposed.’ I didn’t always receive this comfort from the government classifier or the photographic specialists. This is is the horrific reality of child sex crimes and trafficking in the 21st century. There is one photo in particular that I remember which causes me pain daily—a 6-month-old in just a nappy with the most beautiful angelic smile laying on a bed—and a naked man entering the baby’s bedroom. This child looked like my babies—your babies. And the horror that I could not reach through that screen and save that child scratches at my brain.”
So now that all of our stomachs are turning, and half of us have already deleted 70 percent of our Facebook/Instagram photos, let’s talk about some ways that we can be proactive about protecting our children from becoming oblivious victims of pedophile rings.