Historically, one of the sweetest portrayals of the concept of innocence was a young child. Angels were portrayed as unclothed toddlers in worshipful religious art. Even popular art for the home often showed exuberant children in bathtubs or wearing only parts of clothing such as cowboy boots or adults’ hats, or unclothed on a fleece rug. Today’s technology has created a different scenario because of online access and tools.
You probably had the same thing in mind when you photographed your baby in a “cute” setting such as a pumpkin or with a pet. But that’s not in the mind of pedophiles who want those pictures of your child for very different purposes.
A former member of a police pedophile task force in Australia, Erin Cash, has some advice for you.
“Your child or teen could be a poster child for a pedophile ring – and you may never know.”
In a stunning article, Cash describes how pedophiles acquire and profit from photos of children.
- They take pictures in public places like swimming pools and beaches.
- They look online for photos of children that they can “photoshop.”
- They trade or sell these photos in massive “dark web” networks.
What does Cash say you can do to protect your child?
- Don’t ever post a picture online of your child or teenager in scanty clothing, bathing, in a swimsuit, or any other state of undress. Especially if it’s “cute.”
- Make sure all photos of your children are closely cropped so that another figure, such as a naked man, can’t be digitally added to the scene.
- Even if your social media doesn’t have such photos, there are dangers. Do you have a public social media page? “Pedophiles can develop ‘child crushes,’” says Cash, “and the child does not have to be posed or in a state of undress for the photo to become a commodity.”
The dangers are multiplied with teen photos. Cash says:
- Duck faces [pouty lips and attitude] and posed photos are used as baseline trading images on predator sites.
- Swimwear and underwear shots become more valuable.
- If their account is public then the predator ‘ring’ can approach friends (or enemies) of the teen and pay money for more explicit photos.
Spend some time today looking at the pictures of your children online with this information in mind. Take down photos that place your child at risk.