It is not uncommon these days for a proud parent to snap a photo of their child and upload it to a social media site to share with friends and family. However, recently, a new and bizarre trend has developed on the internet called “Digital Kidnapping” that may have you thinking twice about how you share those photos.
Last week, the TODAY Show did a special about the trend. Strangers browsing online social media sites are downloading pictures of children for use in role-playing activities, called “baby role play.” This involves stealing photos of a stranger’s baby, giving the baby a social media account, a new name, and pretending to be the baby on social media. Sometimes strangers will even repost pictures of someone else’s children and claim the children as their own. The trend seems to be most common on Instagram, but it spans all corners of social media.
While the act of “digital kidnapping” is presently not a criminal offense, it is certainly a nuisance and an invasion into a person’s life.
To help prevent this from happening to you is to ensure proper privacy settings are enabled. Below are links to help with privacy settings for both Facebook and Instagram. These links can better help you control who can see your posts and pictures.