Pedophiles are sourcing photos of children from social media and blogs maintained by parents themselves. The predators are lurking on social media sites in the likes of Facebook, Kik and Instagram to fill up content for the pedophile websites.
According to Australia’s Office of the Children eSafety Commissioner, tens of millions of photos of children posted on pedophiles websites are that of children innocently doing their daily activities such as playing. Senior investigator at the eSafety Commissioner, Toby Dagg, told the Sydney Morning Herald that during his investigation of such websites, he encountered folders labeled with “images from Facebook,” “Kik girls,” and another “My daughter’s Instagram friends.”
Some folders were labeled “kids at the beach,” “nice boys play in river,” and “gymnasts,” Australia’s Children’s eSafety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, revealed to The Sydney Morning Herald. “Many users clearly identify that they have obtained the content through trawling social media accounts. The images are almost always accompanied by highly explicit and very disturbing user comments. Often, users exchange email addresses with invitations to connect outside the site to trade content,” MacGibbon said.
Cyber-safety expert, Susan McLean, is now warning parents against posting photos of their children online. “It does not matter how innocent the photo is, if your child has got what a predator is looking for, they will take that photo,” McLean said.
The Office of the Children eSafety investigated 5,000 URLs of pedophile materials from 2014 to 2015. All of the URLs have content hosted outside of Australia. The investigation found that 69 percent of the URLs were hosted from the U.S., 11 percent from Russia and seven percent from Japan. In about 25,500 images of children, 91 percent are females, nine percent are males, five percent are infants, seventy-one percent are pre-pubescent and 24 percent are pubescent.