In a world dependent on technology and a culture engrossed with social media, parents are having to face new obstacles in terms of what they share online and how they involve their children. 

We have all been on platforms where we’re bombarded with innocent images of the children of our friends and acquaintances, this may seem harmless on the surface but it could hold serious consequences. Did you know that experts have estimated that parents will share more than 1,500 photos of their child online before they turn 5? That’s a staggering figure. But what harm could sharing a wholesome family moment do?

With ample images of children online, it makes it easier for predators to access these images. The pictures you choose to post are one part of the equation, the other part are the hashtags that you add. Studies have revealed that there are specific hashtags that seem to attract predators. Among these hashtags were #splishsplash, #nakedchild, #pottytrain, #nappyfree and #toddlerbaths to name a few.

Child predators make use of the easily accessible content of others and distribute them in these dark communities. While we cannot police every parent and what they choose to post, it is wise to share with them the potential implications and realities of the online world. This should not deter people from sharing family memories or moments, but rather enable them to mindfully curate their content in a safe way.

The Child Rescue Coalition has compiled a shortlist of questions to pose to parents before sharing a post of their children:

      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 post an image of your child on social media, you no longer have control over it, so it’s important to contemplate what you’re putting out into the digital world. Share your moments safely.