• Jennifer Elizabeth Peace

The Hashtags Perpetrators Use To Find Your Child

Growing up in the '90s with a computer in my home, I was an early adapter to email and the internet. Sometimes, I think I know so much about technology just to realize that my children have me beat! I guess that's the benefit of growing up with smartphones! But there are people who are better at the internet, smartphones and just technology in general than you and me and our kids: pedophiles.

As a journalist, I covered police departments as they were trying to train their officers and stay one step ahead of criminals and as they tried to educate parents about what those criminals were doing. With the amount of child porn and human trafficking in our country, some days it seems like the criminals are winning. And one of the reasons is simply because they stay one step ahead of police and five steps ahead of parents.

And while our children, having grown up with this technology, might know a lot about how it works, they don't have the emotional intelligence and maturity to out-manipulate grown men and women who are committed to harming them.

And it turns out, sometimes we're assisting these criminals - or at least making it easier for them.

According to Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), most parents will share 1,500 photos of their child online before the child reaches age 5. And many will use popular hashtags like #bathtime and #pottytraining, hashtags that pedophiles are looking up to screenshot your child's photo and put it on the dark web as child porn. And that's pretty bad, obviously, but in many of my mom blog groups on Facebook, I see parents nonchalantly arguing that sharing photos of their little ones isn't a big deal.

I didn't think so either until I learned that 90% of children under the age of 2 already have a social media presence and child predators not only use the internet to distribute pornography, but also to stalk children, share info, and trade tips and techniques on how to seduce and lure them into sexual encounters.

Now that's a pretty big deal.

That's why the CRC released this video asking you to keep in mind that while these are your children, it's their privacy. They're even sharing some of the hashtags pedophiles use to find your kids.

And they're asking parents to consider the following:

Help protect your child’s privacy and ensure their image doesn’t fall into the hands of predators. Before sharing your child’s image on social media, ask yourself:

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?

Once you’ve posted your child’s photo, you can’t have total control over it, so think twice about sharing something that may seem cute or innocent. Together, we can bring safety to our children and other victims of child sexual abuse around the world.

You can share your family moments without sharing your child's face but especially without sharing their bath time routine.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take a look at my social media accounts!

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