Innocent family photos of children in everyday life posted on social media are being sexualised by paedophiles, prompting eSafety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, to warn parents to take more care.
“We come across websites that are used by child sex offenders that aren’t sexualised images of children,” Mr MacGibbon told Vanessa Mills on ABC Kimberley Local Radio.
“They are of children in school uniforms, down at the park, doing their homework, doing other things that people have uploaded.
“Then these, largely men, will sexualise those images by writing their fantasies about those kids.”
The Commissioner said parents needed to take action to prevent their family photos becoming sexualised contraband, but not posting photos was not the answer.
“The horse has bolted in relation to us uploading photos of kids online and I think it’s an accepted practice,” Mr MacGibbon said.
“But what we can do is make sure we limit those photos to our trusted friendship groups.”
Offline photo sharing provides online guide
Mr MacGibbon said we needed to reflect on how we shared photos offline to guide our behaviour online.
“Just share photos with your family like you used to,” he said.
“The going back to school photos that we used to have when I was at school would be sent to the grandparents [and] that’s great.
“So, you should do the same thing online.”
The eSafety commissioner said that he had seen what happened to family photos of children not protected by social media privacy settings.
“There is a category of child sex offender[s] who will go out online and trawl for open social media accounts, plus they’ll get them from newsletters and other such things,” Mr MacGibbon said.