Posting pictures of your children under seemingly innocent hashtags has a sinister side and could put them on the radar of child predators, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge.
Predators search common hashtags looking for pictures to sell, trade or use for their own pleasure – including, but not limited to, photos of common summertime activities such as swimming, bath time and sleepovers, according to the release.
“Parents commonly post pictures of their children to share with family and friends, but what they don’t realize is they may be putting their children in danger,” Rutledge said. “Hashtags make it easy to share the joys and hardships of parenthood with others, but predators will use those same hashtags, like #bathtime or #toddlerbikini, to find pictures for their own twisted use.”
The Child Rescue Coalition issued the following questions parents should ask themselves before posting an image of children online:
• Why am I sharing this?
• Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?
• Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?
• Is this something I want to be part of my child’s digital life?
Predators near and far can harvest photos that most would consider cherished or fun childhood memories, and distribute them a number of ways – including but not limited to the Dark Web. Arkansas parents should always use extreme caution when posting any pictures of their child online.
Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline, 800-843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. To report child abuse, call the Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline, 800-482-5964, or, in the event of an emergency, dial 911 or a local law enforcement agency.
For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800-482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.