HERE’S WHY IT’S DANGEROUS TO SHARE VACATION PHOTOS

When summer is mentioned, the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is vacation. During the summer months, trips to the sea are extensively planned, excursions to the lake are made, and swimming in the nearby river is enjoyed.

By the first warm month in a year, a large number of photos and videos from the beach and swimming have already flooded social networks, and some of the shared posts should not be found on the internet for safety reasons. Here’s what you should protect your children from.

Do not share naked photos of children

You already know the saying “once on the internet, always on the internet”? That one is followed by another – “once you post something on the internet, it is no longer just yours, and you do not know into whose hands it will fall.”

It has happened that a group of predators collected naked photos of children from parents’ profiles on Facebook and sold them for large sums. This reached one of the children’s parents, but they couldn’t do anything about it because someone saved the photo on their device and posted it on another platform, as their own, in another country.

In the “Terms of Use” on some social networks, which we mostly unconditionally click “ok” or “agree” to, it is stated that the content you post on that network becomes their property. For example, when you download the Facebook app, it warns you: “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable, free, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, perform, copy, publicly display your content.” (source, Facebook)

Photos from the beach are cute and fun when the child is clothed and protected.

That’s my child, I’ll post the photos I want!

Parents, proud of their child, sometimes do not think twice before posting a photo or video of their child. Recently, a debate has been sparked on social networks because parents do not like to be suggested what to post and what to keep for a private archive.

“We are liberal in this house! We love our bodies and are not ashamed of them. The same goes for social networks. So what if my child is naked!” – wrote one mom.

“It’s okay to be liberal in your home, and good for you, but on your profile, I only see naked photos of children, not your naked photos. The child does not have the right to choose which photo will be published, but you do, that doesn’t sound liberal.” – came the reply.

It is important to allow your children to have privacy. In today’s time when we spend more time on the internet than ever, we should all have the right to independently create our internet persona and digital footprint, and decide which part we want to present to the world and which to keep for ourselves. You have that right, don’t take it away from your children.

Well, what so bad can happen?

Child sexual exploitation has become one of the biggest challenges faced by technology companies. According to the UNODC, traffickers use social networks as “digital hunting grounds” because they provide access to both buyers and potential victims.

Already mentioned, Facebook, (owned by Meta, the tech giant whose platforms include Instagram) is used by more than 3 billion people worldwide. In 2020, according to a report by the American nonprofit Human Trafficking Institute, Facebook was the platform most used for grooming and recruiting children by traffickers (65%), based on the analysis of 105 federal child trafficking cases that year. HTI’s analysis ranked Instagram second in prevalence, and Snapchat third.

New AI (artificial intelligence) tools allow anyone to create a photo or video by simply typing a short description of what they want to see. Models, such as DALL-E or Midjourney, have access to billions of photos downloaded from the internet, which all display real children and originate from social networks, photo sites, and personal blogs.

When a predator requests that artificial intelligence generate a film where a child is the main character, the tool uses exactly those photos from the internet. You wouldn’t want to expose your child to that or any form of sexualization. Because, once on the internet, always on the internet.

Timea Kukla

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