SWFL campaign aims to teach parents online practices to protect kids

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A simple stroke of the keyboard, sharing a photo of your child online could bring unintended consequences.

Christi Armstrong, of Naples, said she posts pictures of her children on social media.

“They grow up so fast so photographs are so special — especially to the parents and they bring back so many memories,” Armstrong said.

Most parents will post 1,500 photos of their child before they turn five, often using hashtags like bath time or potty training, according to to the Children’s Rescue Coalition.

The non profit, started here in Southwest Florida, was designed to hunt online sexual predators. A new campaign, “Kids for Privacy,” strives to post photos of children on social media holding signs that read “privacy please” as a way to raise awareness, according to a spokesperson for the coalition.

Sexual predators have the ability to use locations and hashtags to find pictures of children that can be uploaded or sold to a pornography website — or even track them down, according to a spokesperson for the Children’s Rescue Coalition.

Armstrong said she was shocked by this realization and marveled how things were different when she was a child.

“I think it’s sick,” Armstrong said. “I think so much has changed from the time we were kids up until now.”

Samantha Treglown said she makes her settings private and is careful of what she posts.

“I think parents just need to take an extra look or an extra level of care with that,” Treglown said.

The “Kids for Privacy” campaign will last until April 27. The Children’s Rescue Coalition has tracked 54 million offenders around the world, helped arrest more than 10,000 online predators and rescued more than 2,000 children, according to a spokesperson for the coalition.

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