The global Kids For Privacy campaign are fighting back against the misuse of children’s images online, urging parents to rethink what they share and take back the top 100 hashtags targeted by offenders.
“Join the movement”
“Help us take over 100+ hashtags that make kids vulnerable to pedophiles. Join the movement on Instagram @KidsForPrivacy,” campaigners urge. “Let’s take over all hashtags that expose kids”.
While parents initially used the fledgling Instagram and explanatory hashtags like #PottyTime or #BathTime to innocently share photos of their kids, it’s become apparent that those very same hashtags are now being efficiently and exploitatively targeted by paedophiles.
“Research shows that by the age of 2, 90 percent of children already have a presence on social media,” the Child Rescue Coalition explains. They also say that most parents haven’t checked the privacy of their social media accounts recently.
Read more about sharing photos of kids online:
- Why you should think before you post these 10 photos of your child online
- Photoshopping stolen baby photos is Instagram’s worrying new trend
- Ashton Kutcher reveals his simple rule for sharing photos of kids online
Leaving a trail
Unfortunately offenders are seeing Instagram as an opportunity, using a trail of (parent supplied) hashtags to lead them to images of children, which they can then misuse or trade with other criminals in online forums.
Tags like #BathTime #ToiletTraining #NakedToddler #BabyButt #SinkBath #KidsBikinis #LovesToBeNaked are just a few populated with photos of naked or near-naked children – and visible to the entire world.
(Of course, photos of non-naked kids are being targeted by criminals too, but the most personal photos seem like the best place to start.)
Things have changed
While once the catch cry was that it’s not parents’ fault if people view the images they’ve uploaded of their children in this very upsetting way, the dialogue has now thankfully moved on. The assertion that parents SHOULD be free to share innocent images of kids, and offenders should simply stop doing the wrong thing is not helping to protect kids.
It’s every parent’s responsibility to safeguard their children’s privacy and be aware of potential dangers. Keeping images of them far from predators’ prying eyes is part and parcel of that.
Parents are advised to think twice (three times, even!) before they share photos of their kids publicly. They’re urged to avoid using hashtags that might lead those looking for intimate photos of kids AND to double check their privacy settings on a very regular basis.
The Privacy Please campaign also asks families to create a sign sharing the hashtag, and upload it to Instagram using some of the most frequently targeted hashtags, as a protest.
They’re hoping to raise awareness and change this parental behaviour, keeping kids far from prying eyes in the process.