Predators using innocent hashtags to find pictures of children - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Predators using innocent hashtags to find pictures of children

Posted: Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Did you know that by the age of two, 90 percent of children already have a presence on social media?

Of course, parents love to share photos of their little ones online. However, police and child rescue groups warn some of those more intimate photos are being saved and shared by pedophiles who search for hashtags like #bathtime and #pottytraining.

"There could be total strangers searching for these hashtags that on purpose looking for children that are depicted in the nude," said Carly Yoost.

She's the CEO of the Child Rescue Coalition which just launched a campaign called Kids For Privacy. Their goal is to get parents to stop posting photos that overexpose children under hashtags like #nakedkids. They’re tracking millions of pedophiles who are searching social media for those key words on a daily basis.

"It is an easy way for them to gain access to children. These bath time images, which in the wrong eyes could be viewed in a very sexual way, it would technically be legal for them to possess,” said Yoost.

Many of the predators aren’t just saving and sharing the images. They’re seeking them out in real life.

“We have had investigators who have seen, where they are stalking a child that they’ve seen through social media platforms,” Yoost said.

In Charlotte alone, the Child Rescue Coalition is currently tracking 76 individual computers that contain nude images of children, more than a thousand others statewide -- from child pornography to potty and bathtime photos shared publicly by unsuspecting parents.

The Kids for Privacy campaign is urging everyone to post photos holding signs that say, "Privacy please," using the key words pedophiles are searching.

"We’re taking back and flooding these hashtags that are over exposing children,” said Yoost.

Law enforcement agencies are also urging parents to set their social media profiles to private, so strangers can’t easily find and save images of your children.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.