Another day, another warning about what horrible things could happen to our kids if they use Facebook. And before you roll your eyes and say, "Not my kid," you should know the teen girls from Massachusettes who had their Facebook photos stolen by a porn site were actually doing things "right." At least, they weren't taking naughty pictures and putting them up on the Internet.
The hijacked photos that prompted an FBI investigation and eventual take down of a portion of the site showed the girls fully clothed. Yes, you read that right. The kids targeted by creeps were truly innocent.
Still thinking "not a problem with my kid?" Because this one scares the pants off of me.
It's the fact that the pics were so blah that really gives me the heebie jeebies. I'll cop to having rolled my eyes in the past at parents who freak out about every little thing online. Just because a pervert sees a photo of your kid doesn't mean they can do anything worse than they would if they were sitting behind a tree at the public park taking photos of your kid ... which I should note they can legally do.
But these girls' benign photos became a problem when they were stolen and placed on the porn site along with personal information about the girls including the towns they lived in and the schools they attend. That's pretty easy stuff to get off of even the most savvy teen's Facebook page. All a sicko had to do was see a pretty face, note their hometown, and start stalking.
The problem is most people who lock down the "walls" of their pages still leave their "info" up for grabs. And the Facebook set-up, which encourages users to join a network for their school and list a hometown, doesn't help. Kids don't even have to leave their albums open ... all it takes is a profile photo, and the creeps have their in.
And now that I have you all worked up, how about a little good news? A Pew Internet report released last year shows more than half (58 percent) of teenagers actually count on their parents for advice about how to handle themselves online. So if you speak up now, there's a good chance you can prevent your kid's picture from being the next one to end up on a porn site.
What information is visible to the outside world from your kids' Facebook pages?
Image via Facebook
Something my kids handmade
A fun holiday at home with my family
Some time off!
Something just for me, like a plush robe