Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon has warned families to take more care online as photos of children found on the internet are being sexualised by paedophiles daily.
“We come across websites that are used by child sex offenders that aren’t sexualised images of children,” Mr MacGibbon told a radio station recently.
“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 that although parents don’t need to stop posting photos of their children online what they must do is be vigilant on who has access to them. This can be done by limiting your online presence to your friends and family only.
“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.”
“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 he was shocked by what paedophiles did with innocent family photos of children not protected by social media privacy settings.
“There is a category of child sex offender 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.
“And they will meticulously categorise these photographs and share with other child sex offenders on these photo sharing websites.”
Mr MacGibbon used this analogy to illustrate the invasion of privacy taking place on sites such as Facebook.
“It’s akin really, to you walking home and finding a sex offender sitting in your lounge room, going through your home photo albums,” he said.
Are you a sharer of your kid’s photos online? Do you ever worry about who has access to them?