Law student issues warning to parents about posting photos of their children online
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A law student with experience investigating online sex crimes involving children has shared a warning to parents about the dangers of posting images of kids online.
As a parent, it's natural to want to share your child's achievements, big moments and life milestones with as many people as possible, and sometimes the easiest way to do that is to upload a quick post to social media.
Such posts are typically met with love and positive comments, but they might also lead to more sinister actions.
She claimed a 'majority' of photos featuring children which are uploaded to the dark web are taken from regular Facebook and Instagram pages, without the person who posted them having any idea.
Hoffman described child exploitation as a 'billion-dollar industry', adding that there are 'thousands of websites' being created 'every single day' to share photos and videos.
With this in mind, Hoffman shared her advice for those who might have a habit of posting pictures of their kids, saying: "My advice to parents would be to really limit your child on social media because photos and videos can be warped and placed on the dark web extremely easily."
In a follow-up video, Hoffman claimed that 'a lot of photos of children that are put on the dark web are not explicit', and instead used images of children taking part in gymnastics or dancing activities, for which they might be dressed in a leotard, as an example of the kind of images which might be uploaded.
"These parents often had no idea that their child was on the dark web," Hoffman continued.
The website Family Education offers more advice for parents considering sharing photos of their children, including taking the time to think about the child's well-being before uploading anything.
"While you may not have malicious intent when sharing a funny moment with others, take a moment to think about how your child might feel seeing the image, text, or video as they are growing up before you click post," the site explains.
Setting your account to private will go some way to preventing strangers from seeing what you post, but Family Education points out that accounts can still be hacked.
The huge scale of the internet means it can be tough to keep track of where images end up after they've been posted, so make sure you think twice before you next go to hit that 'upload' button.