Recommended, 2023

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Digital Kidnapping: This happens with children's photos on the Internet

Those who share children's photos risk falling victim to digital kidnapping.
Photo: iStock

When children's photos fall into the wrong hands

Regardless countless children photos are shared on the Internet. A case of digital kidnapping shows the consequences of sharing.

Danica Patterson is very fond of her little daughter. That's why she loves to proudly share pictures of the 4-year-old on social networks. But one day she finds the children's photos completely elsewhere.

The cheerful girl she is starring at the desktop with big eyes is clearly her daughter. Under the picture, however, someone claims exactly the opposite. The 4-year-old would be the child of a stranger. She looked so much like him and would surely break a lot of hearts later on. That she will do that, the mother can only agree. But it is certainly not the father who spends her girl there as his own.

Danica Patterson has become the victim of digital kidnapping. And she is far from being alone by that. More and more often it comes to the fact that children's photos are stolen on the Internet and spent as his own . People build a fictitious identity around a strange child on social networks, whose photos they have discovered on the Internet.

The whole scenario is called "Baby RPG". On the Internet such cases are noted under hashtags like #babyrp or #adoptionrp. If you look for the keywords, you will come across a staggering number of hits. Some actually see digital kidnapping as nothing more than a game. But no mother wants to find photos of her own child on other sites.

In addition to the relatively harmless gimmicks of people who spend stranger children as their own, there are also far worse cases. Babies are released on the Internet for adoption, among the pictures there is a lively participation in interested parties. Serious or not: words such as human trafficking inevitably cross thoughts in such cases. Sexual fantasies also play a role in the world of picture clutter.

But how can you protect children's photos from digital kidnapping?

  • First of all, parents should protect themselves and their child from becoming digitally real. Details on which a stranger can read the actual whereabouts of the child should never be published.
  • Overall, the privacy settings should always be checked. No one wants to find his children's photos on other sites on the internet, so you should always put them on private and share only a few, familiar people.
  • If other children than your own should be seen in the photo: Always get the permission of the parents before the picture is uploaded!
  • In order to avoid the spread of the photo, any doctor should be waived on links. Even if only familiar persons are marked, their friends can also see the picture. The children's photos reach more circles than you initially think.
  • And last but not least: Those who do not want to give digital kidnapping a chance should only send their children's photos privately to friends and family and do without social networks.