January 5, 2019
Experts Say Trend Called 'Sharenting' Is Risky

Adults love sharing pics of their kids, nieces, or nephews on social media, but certain hashtags that seem innocent actually could put the children in harm's way.

Referred to as "sharenting," also known as the act of over-posting about kids' lives on social media, can be hazardous to their safety and well-being.

Adults will cutely apologize to their friends and followers for oversharing, but there's a danger to doing so. There are certain types of photos and hashtags that predators are looking for. When those hashtags accompany those photos, that doubles the risk, reports ABC News.

Child Rescue Coalition assembled a list that it shared with Good Morning America consisting of more than 100 hashtags that adults must avoid. The compilation is part of the "@kidsforprivacy campaign" the coalition launched in 2018.

The coalition is an organization that strives to protect all children from exploitation. One way they do that is through the Child Protection System (CPS). It relies on technology that offers a comprehensive view of where child predators around the world are downloading and sharing explicit content online.

Child Rescue Coalition CEO and founder Carly Yoost told ABC News that the campaign so far as been "extremely successful."

"One of the biggest takeaways for parents was simply learning to adjust their privacy settings on social media platforms," she told ABC News.

Among the list of hashtags, the most dangerous two are #nakedchild and #modelingchild.

Surprisingly, others are #bathtimefun, #toddlerbikini and #skinnybabybooty.

"To a normal person and normal friends photos picture on the beach that's cute to us cute to us might be seen very differently by predators," Yoost told GMA.

Child Rescue Coalition suggests that parents ask themselves the following questions before posting an image of their child:

  1. Why am I sharing this?
  2. Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?
  3. Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?
  4. Is this something I want to be part of my child's digital life?
"The point is not to scare parents from sharing photos of their kids on social media," Yoost said. "It's to help them do it in a safe way."

"Sharenting" also puts kids at risk of identity theft, even at their young age. The BBC reported that bank security specialists say identify fraud has "never been easier" thanks to social media. Barclay said that parents can reveal names, ages, and dates of births from birthday messages, home addresses, place of birth, mother's maiden name, schools, the names of pets, sports teams they support and photographs – information that can be used to take out fraudulent loans and credit card transactions, even online shopping scams.