Hashtags leave a digital trail for pedophiles to find new victims

Child holds up a sign asking for privacy. (Credit: WINK News)
Child holds up a sign asking for privacy. (Credit: WINK News)

Pedophiles are one click away from your child. Simple words you put on your social media caption can lead them right to your son or daughter.

If you post it, there is a digital trail. Add a hashtag onto it, then anyone, including predators, can find it.

Meleivis Alvarez Cancio said she thinks about what she shares on social media before she posts it. The Child Rescue Coalition wants more parents to do the same thing. Hashtags can lure the wrong crowd.

“They start looking at this material online,” said Carly Yoost, CEO of the Child Rescue Coalition. “They’re thinking about how can I find children. How can I gain access to them and who can I start abusing.”

For instance, some of the hastags to avoid are “potty training,” bath time” and “bikini kids.”

Yoost said 85% of pedophiles who have these photos of nearly nude kids have already been abusers. That is a startling reality that Debra Piccuci and her family are well aware of.

“You are being exploited and there is no doubt you’re being exploited,” Piccuci said. “They’re out there and they see everything and they are touching them looking at everything.”

Rich Kolko, WINK News safety and security specialist, said it is not possible to post online photos of kids without putting their privacy in danger. He adds you can always keep up to date with your privacy settings and do not share locations.

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