Melanie Sawyer, Movement Director, Child and Baby Wrangler
THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU IN MY EXPERIENCE
is to put a childs account on private mode (click on settings and then privacy) .. I've seen so may thing happen to kids who have public accounts its unreal..and IG does very little to protect you. So unless you have endless amounts of time to go through each follower, monitor chat from new followers and keep an eye out for the kind of comments and requests for photos you don't want your kiddo to read .. PRIVATE is the way to go.. In the Kids model industry we are calling it EXCLUSIVE!!
A warning to children using Instagram both in the fashion industry and out of it.
Clients or companies: the people with the power to book you or recommend you for a booking will rarely search by hashtags, they will search by talent agency or be reminded of your child by industry professionals and through their IG daily feed. So if you're looking to have your child work more and you want to use IG to do it (I know very successful kid models who don't have an IG page btw) then focus on friending industry connections, stylists, clients, hair and make up, production companies and staff. Pedophiles have sexual, visual, age or ethnicity preferences and will use those hashtags to find your son or daughter.
Here are some of THE MOST COMMON HASHTAGS I see predators following.
-the word cute in any hashtag is not recommended, Hashtags such as #cutekids #cuteboy #cutegirl #tween #freckles #childmodel #blueeyedchild #teenager #redhead are prime search words..
"if it has a physical description then a
hashtag is a free gateway to a pedophile."
-TWEEN hashtags.. ia another description I see a lot on predators searches. #tweenswimwear or tweenfashion sites or tween swimwear hashtags are a disaster NO LEGIT CLIENT EVER looks for #tweenmodel etc..to a pedophile though its pure gold.
-Color and texture of hair
-Color of skin, freckles, ethnicity of your child, mixedrace comes up a lot. Pedophiles have preferences and will use those hashtags to find your son or daughter
-Age of child
-Sports descriptions with child: ie cheerleading groups #boyswimming, stretching, boygymnastics, boyballet, beach, boyswrestling, Flexible is a HUGELY popular hashtag predators follow, rhythmic dance and god help us: pole dancing (apparently popular in Russia)
-Color of eyes. ie #blueeyedgirl
-Emojis used as responses in shoutout or other pages
-Shout out pages can be dangerous due to the link back to your childs account. IN ALL CASES Check the pages posts to see the % of likes and comments made by men before thinking about accepting the offer. IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY< MAKE YOUR ACCOUNT PRIVATE. If you do find a sudden influx of male followers to your account you then have the ability to refuse their follow requests. Your followers won't know any different and it does give you the power to vet new profiles following your child.
Please be aware that if your page is public you are leaving your photos wide open to be screen shot and shared on a global scale to pages that strictly cater to pedophiles. These pages both on public and private mode post children from all over the world they find through hashtags and shout out pages. Under the photo they share the link to the childs account. In some cases they ask for a subscription fee so they are SELLING your info offline. These people are dangerous. Don't take it lightly, Ive seen messages from stalkers threatening to come to the childs home and harm them, Ive seen threats of violence against family members, Ive seen photos and messages of a sexual nature made to pages of babies upwards, this is not a joke, it's a problem that is not taken seriously by the authorities. You MUST protect yourself because Facebook, IG, Tiktok, Musically and the rest of our social media will not take care of it.
If you receive anything of this nature report it to https://report.cybertip.org/ I would like to take this moment to THANK the police who work tirelessly to catch these criminals. I have nothing but admiration and respect for their hard work.
I want to recommend a You Tuber who works very hard to bring awareness by the name of Joey Salads who has done various videos about predators and what they will try to gain access to your child..if you would like to learn more about his work, click on the images below :)
#THE PROBLEM WITH HASHTAGS & your kids on Public Accounts on social media.
As a parent of two kids and especially during this Covid crisis, I understand the social media battle that goes along with life these days. Social media is for most of us a part of our childrens lives and we must as parents fully understand the ramifications of what that can mean. Instagram and FB which is making an "old school" comeback are owned by the same company and have very little protection for your child should their account be on public mode. Public means your childs life is open to a global market of both good and bad experiences. **what I see a lot of kids doing is opening a FINSTA (fake Insta) account which is very private and works well for protection. Again, friend requests should be checked but its a lot safer as FInstas usually don't show photos of the kids as profile images.
IG now allows people to search for or follow and automatically be notified about # hashtags which means if your child uses them on a public account they can be found using that alone. Pedophiles use this as a very easy tool to view children's photographs or pages containing images where the # are present. Wether you like it or not they can legally screen shot images and share them onto pages, catalogs if you will of children around the world which will also list their IG profile link. Comments are then made that will make your hair stand on end I constantly see this in my efforts to help mums and dads i the industry who had their childs account on public.
ACCOUNTS WHO ASK TO SHARE YOUR PHOTOS: NO account who asks to share your photo is not doing it for your child's best interests, its most probably one of two things, content for them to have more people follow their account (and you can not control who follows it} or free advertising. Your child will not get supermodel status or even model status by dm'ing a page, tagging them and asking to be featured. What you will get is a new list of followers who are interested in your child because they are pedophiles. I will note that many of the model shout out pages have one or more link with other shout out pages, so if you are featured in one you will possibly have a Russian, Asian and other nationality page do the same. IF they tag you you might know, if they simply write your name with no @ or trade your link or even sell your link then you won't, you'll just have a lot of requests from men who have no business admiring your child from different parts of the world.
TAKE A LOOK at the lists of followers of the account and also who's liking the images and comments that are made. Common threads on predators accounts I have seen is that they have lists in the thousands of people they follow many of which include shout out pages or the specific age of the child they find attractive, they have few followers, they only have one post, they follow hashtags related to their sexual preference. This is serious business, they spend a lot of time perfecting their search techniques.
PEDOPHILES HAVE BACK UP ACCOUNTS
There is a very common occurance of predators having back up accounts incase IG does shut their main account down. Search the name of the account and you will often see similar accounts with different numbers or underscores used, for example:
beautifulkids1, Beautifulkids2, Beautiful_kids
ALWAYS look at the profiles list the account is following, if it is 90% kiddy related I can pretty much garuntee that you have a predator follow request. Many predators put their accounts on private to stop you from looking at the lists. You can simply request to friend to see first and then block if your suspicions are confirmed. Emojis are a common way that predators express a like for a child's photo, I would BLOCK the account and the predators who liked your childs photo if your child is on a shout out account already. I will also stress that no grown ass man unless they are related to the child is interested in a kids site for any good reason. If you do decide to have a page share your childs photo take care if their IG handle is also posted beneath..it's a direct path to your son or daughter. If you are not sure of an account BLOCK.
WHAT TO DO IF A MESSAGE OR VIDEO HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU FROM A PEDOPHILE.
1. DO NOT communicate with the account no matter how angry you are. You're just giving them the pleasure of illiciting a response and they might possibly see that as a relationship in their mind. To a sick mind, any communication is some sort of connection.
2. Screenshot the message immediately.
I say this because a pedophile can unsend the message from his end so you will have no proof it was sent to your childs account
3. Report to https://report.cybertip.org as child grooming. There is also a number you can call if you arnt comfortable reporting online: 1 800 843 5678
4. Report to IG by pressing on the message that you want to report, the option to report should appear. Please note, if IG decides to take action it will oly close the account down, it will not ban the pedophile from making new accounts and doing this again.
5. Make your account private if it is not already so as the pedophile might also friend you with other backup pages incase you block him.
6. Make sure the friends of your child also are aware of the account as the predator will usually start to follow all those who like the pages of the profile they are targeting.
HOW TO BLOCK AN ACCOUNT. Blocking an account stops it from finding you. IF YOU HAVE THE IG APP DOWNLOADED: go to the account you want to blocks profile and press the THREE DOTS on the top right hand page of your screen. If you do not have a IG app go to the accounts page you want to block and you will see their name and and next to that a blue box and THEN the 3 dots.. again press on that and options will pop up for you. Below is a fun example. Please note: Their account is also on private.. ITS A GOOD THING TO BE ON PRIVATE!!
A You Tuber called Coby Persin has videos which I have posted below that I think get the message across very well for kids to understand the dangers of predators and fake accounts. Please do take a moment to watch and share. These are REAL reactions from the kids who had no idea it was not the person they were talking to online!
USE CYBERTIP IN ALL CASES WHEN REPORTING,
USE CYBERTIP IN ALL CASES WHEN REPORTING,
If you are reporting an image or profile to IG, I would also advise reporting it to this too at the same time.
Cybertip takes your reports and concerns very seriously and I have found it very useful as a way to help catch pedophiles and pages who share photos of exploited kids which I have reported it IG whos response was that the image does not break community guidelines.
North Carolina police just informed me that they were able to arrest one pedophile this month because of a cybertip line report! It works!!
Please do also consider signing the petition that some of the industry kids to help us ask for more protection against pedophiles.