How Predators are Using Instagram and Why Your Child is at Risk

May 19, 2013


I am not one of those over protective parents who think everyone is out to get my children nor do I think Instagram is bad. I do however believe there are unkind people in the world who will use for bad things created for good. It is my job as a parent to protect my kids and in order to do that, I need to be educated about things my kids are a part of. I believed I was very responsible with how my husband I have regulated their use of social media. My kids have to ask before they can have any social media site, we have to have all passwords, they know we can check any of them at any time and if they have used it inappropriately or changed the password without telling us, they lose the site, period. We also have to be one of their friends on the site and we always set parental controls. At 10 pm, the internet shuts off and they can’t use it without us putting in a password. Responsible right? It doesn’t matter how responsible you are with social media if you are not well informed with how it is being used. Last month, my sense of, “safe social media” came crumbling down when the computer teacher at the school I am teaching at dropped a bomb shell. Girls are being stalked by predators on Instagram and if an image is photo mapped they can know in less than 30 seconds exactly where a girl lives! Confident my daughter was using it safely, I had our computer teacher “stalk” my daughter using steps teenagers go through daily to post a picture on Instagram. My daughter had over 73 pictures photo mapped. Moments later, she was honing in on my street address and house. I was sick to my stomach. How did this happen? Let me walk you through a scenario: Your daughter takes a selfie in her room of herself in her new cute shorts. She then adds a bunch of #hashtags. #youknowthesethings. One of the hash tags she uses is #shortshorts. Before she hits done, she clicks photo map. Harmless right? Now let’s bring in our predator. He uses the search tags on Instagram looking for images of interest to him; bikini, bikini babes, sexy, sexy legs and short shorts. Everyone who has used any of those hashtags with one of their images, the predator will see that image. Someone doesn’t have to be following you to see your image if you put a hashtag with it. Ok, that’s scary enough. But it gets worse! Remember, your daughter used a photo map with her picture in her short shorts. The predator goes to the photo map attached to the picture and magnifies it until they end up where the picture was taken, right at her front door. Now the predator knows exactly where to find his next possible prey. I am not saying you should ban your child from Instagram because of some possible predator, but knowledge is power and there are some things you can do to protect your child if they use Instagram. First, have them set their profile to private. Warning! Teens may not like this. Popularity still reigns supreme. If they have a private profile, they can only get likes from their followers, decreasing the amount of possible likes. To make a profile private:

  1. Log into your Instagram account
  2. Go to your profile by touching the button in the far right hand corner. The icon is a rectangle with three lines
  3. Tap Edit your profile
  4. Find “Photos are Private”
  5. Turn photo privacy to On
  6. Press Done button at the top in the far right corner

Once your child’s Instagram profile is private, it is important to note if they photo map an image, the public won’t be able to see it, but their followers still will.

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12 Responses to “How Predators are Using Instagram and Why Your Child is at Risk”

  1. KeShay Landers Says:

    Some teens really think that it’s safe that you turn off your GPS when taking pictures and uploading them on public domain because when you take pictures and you don’t turn your GPS off then others (stalkers) can find out where you live.


  2. Sydney VanDeHey Says:

    Well I agree but basically my dad told me to NOT have instagram because there was bad people on there. Now since I read the part about when you use hashtags nobody will follow you. I forgot about the hashtags and that. I used them but basically I deleted all my posts because (strangers) predators were gonna follow me, and mostly what really sucks is that I have 738 followers and 15 requests, and my dad is pretty pissed because I know almost 100 people who go to my school and 600 of them I don’t know…and those 600 people I know from school (well I know there might be more than 100 people so..), meow, twitter, and this minecraft website called “ROBLOX” so yeah now I have a lot of punishments…


    • Shaylene King Says:

      It’s just because your dad loves you! Parents who give their children boundaries are saying, “You are important. I care about you and want to keep you safe.” Your dad may be mad, but he is wise in his concern. You can never be too careful with social media. There will always be those who want to use it for bad. Thank you for sharing!


  3. google plus account login Says:

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great


  4. rev joe nether Says:

    your kidding right?,as a parent myself and friend of many who has been hacked,do you not know that a pedophile(lets not pretty it up(CHILD RAPIST/MURDERER) an possible member of nambla will have a network of tech savvy co-pedophiles to help him hack through any privacy settings,and just what in the world is your daughter or anyones daughter for that matter doing taking selfies in short shorts of any kind(can some father scream with me “your helping put a “TARGET!” on your kids back! Lord has us,some of us have become a liberal nation of child enablers and molester enablers ,no wonder this nation is going to hell in a hand basket where anything goes under the sun,and the parent enabled teen is leading the way


  5. BJT Says:

    Well this is sort of an old post but I figured I still chime in with some more info. If you child posts a picture on instagram IT WILL WITHOUT QUESTION end up on other sites (i.e. tumblr or even porn sites). The amount tumblr pages devoted to pictures teens on instagram or the web in general is mind boggling. Now most pages I would assume are run by teenagers but many are not. So your picture is out there for anyone to do whatever they want with. As a side note I personally think tumblr is the most dangerous of all the sites due to the ease with which you can chat and reblog pictures.

    Now even without hashtags you drop the image into google images search, which helps you identify the image or locate other places it is posted. So say you see a picture of a guy on tumblr and you drop into google images, it could link you directly to his twitter or FB page if there is an image match. Also if your teen posts a lot of selfies Google could even flat out give the name of the child because they have become popular on tumblr or twiiter or whatever and NOW a potential predator or bully has there name or screen name (which can also be easily used to locate them). And what’s worse is I know many teens have posted their address on line for the “fans” so they can get mail (usually it is a P.O. box but that is one step closer to somebody you don’t want locating you).

    I worked with some second cousins on this to prove to them they don’t know the obvious trail they are leaving for people to find then. One was really shocked to see his selfies on tumblr simply by me using google images. Everything from innocent screen caps of messages, to kiks, to snapchats can be used to locate a person. I’ve seen kids post pictures with “fan mail” they receive and the envelope in the picture has their address on it!

    I am just glad I am not a teen now. It used to be you were worried about being popular amongst maybe 8-10 people at your school but trying to be popular amongst everyone at every school is just nuts.


    • Shaylene King Says:

      Thank you for your input! I completely agree with your insight! It is so true about the hashtags and most parents and even teens are likely unaware of it. It is really scary and as parents we need to be proactive because there is always something new out there ready to be used for bad rather than good.


  6. Grace Says:

    My page is private, I don’t use hashtags, my GPS is off. But my mom thinks having more than 150 followers makes me prey. I have taken all protective measure but I have come in contact with a lot of people I don’t mind if the entire school follows me but my mother insists I block followers. I don’t know what to do. I will get teased for only having that many.


  7. Mary Mateski Says:

    I was listening to the radio approximately 3 & a half years ago and the topic of the hour was the extremely high number of missing children of ALL ages these days. (VERY FEW ARE EVER FOUND) and if they are “MOST” of them are never the same!!!!!!!!!!! LISTEN UP FOLKS====85%====YES 85% of the missing children cases, “Begin on the internet”



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