It’s estimated that parents will share more than 1,500 photos of their child online before they turn 5. Experts are warning parents against using these common hashtags which make their kids a target to pedophiles.
In a world where social media is king, we’re living in a culture of over-sharing as a means of parenting. The risk is no longer simply annoying your friends by inundating their feeds with photos of your cute kid. There is actually very real danger in posting certain types of photos.
We’ve talked before about what types of photos can be threatening to our children’s privacy. But new studies show that it’s actually common hashtags that pose the greatest threat to our kids.
There is an entire world of online predators lurking in the dark web, waiting for you to post a cutie photo of your toddler using the hashtag #bathtime.
Hashtags make even the most innocent of posts searchable by predators.
Child Rescue Coalition is an organization that aims to protect all children from sexual exploitation. As part of their 2018 @kidsforprivacy campaign, the organization created a list of more than 100 hashtags that parents should avoid using to keep their kids safe from predators online.
Among the top searched hashtags were #nakedchild and #modelingchild, making them some of the most dangerous. Others included #bathtimefun, #toddlerbikini or #skinnybabybooty.
“To a normal person and normal friends photos picture on the beach that’s cute to us cute to us might be seen very differently by predators,” Carly Yoost, CEO and founder of Child Rescue Coalition told Good Morning America.
As we recently shared on For Every Mom, child predators use the internet to distribute pornography, and particularly images of children in compromising positions. Things as simple as doing a cartwheel in the backyard can be used for very different purposes on the dark web.
Of course, you might be thinking, ‘I only add people I’m friends with on social media.’
And while that might be the case, a further study conducted by Child Rescue Coalition found that 89 percent of parents haven’t checked their privacy settings in over a year. A step-by-step guide can be found here.
“We feel we know people on our social media and only accept people we know and trust,” Yoost said.
But just because you know a person doesn’t mean they are not a child predator, she added, pointing out several instances where police officers, pediatricians, and other respected members of the community have been busted for possession of child pornography.
“The point is not to scare parents from sharing photos of their kids on social media,” Yoost said. “It’s to help them do it in a safe way.”
Child Rescue Coalition recommends parents ask themselves these four questions before posting any image of their child online:
1. Why am I sharing this?
2. Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?
3. Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?
4. Is this something I want to be part of my child’s digital life?
Their message to parents is simply a reminder that while your kids are YOUR kids, it’s still THEIR privacy.
“We’re choosing to share their images online and we need to make sure their privacy is being thought of and protected,” Yoost said.
To learn more about Child Rescue Coalition and their work, visit them online at childrescuecoalition.org.