'Baby Role-Playing': Strangers Stealing Digital Pics of Children
A troubling new trend has emerged online: "baby role-playing."
Strangers are stealing pictures of children and posting them as their own to engage in a role-playing fantasy where people pretend to be a child and an adult guardian.
"I was just looking on my Instagram, and somebody had started following me. So I clicked on their profile to look and to see who it was, and I saw a picture of my daughter," concerned parent Amber Kozak revealed.
Kurt "The Cyber Guy" Knutsson appeared on "Fox and Friends Weekend" this morning to share tips on how you can help prevent "digital kidnapping" from happening to your children.
Knutsson explained that baby role-playing, also known as "babyrp" and "adoption role-playing," involves people going online to stranger's websites, particularly Instagram and public Facebook profiles, and swiping children's digital pictures. They then engage in scenarios that involve one user pretending to be a child, while another acts as the child's parent or caregiver.
Knutsson said this is not a crime, so parents actually have very little recourse. He did, however, share some tips on how you can prevent this disturbing behavior.
First, think before you share photos online.
"You've got to think that everything you're uploading at this point in life is public," Knutsson said.
Second, take a look at your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, etc. and consider reigning in your digital profile.
Third, turn geolocation off on your devices, so uploaded pictures will not have your real-world location.
Beside the creepy role play, a detective told the station that these interactions, which are sometimes called 'adoptions,' can turn sexual and even violent.
"There's so many things out there that, to a lot of us normal people, just turn our stomachs," Mike Harris, the detective from Jefferson County, told the station. "But there is a world of fantasy out there that people utilize."