TikToker sounds alarm on this scary online trend that turns your children into bait for predators

One TikToker warned of a growing trend involving child criminals who use artificial intelligence to turn photos and videos of children into explicit content.

Posting images of your child on social media could allow “digital kidnappers” to steal your child’s likeness and use it in exploitative AI-generated videos, Alex Hoffman said in a viral TikTok video. Ta.

“Digital kidnapping is when someone steals photos of minors from the internet, usually social media platforms, and pretends to be the child or pretend to be the child’s parents,” she said. “Often, digital kidnappers take ordinary pictures of children on the Internet and alter them to make it look blatant or make it look like the child is doing something inappropriate.”

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“Digital kidnappers can also take pictures of children and use AI material to create inappropriate videos,” said Hoffman, a law student who has worked with governments investigating online sex crimes against children.

in June, FBI warned It is said that crimes using explicit images (including those of minors) that have been altered by AI are increasing.

“Be careful when posting images, videos and personal content online, especially those involving children or their information,” the agency wrote, noting that the images were used for sextortion. warned of the possibility. The FBI describes sextortion as crime This includes “coercing the victim to provide sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves and sharing them publicly or threatening to share them with the victim’s family or friends.” .”

According to the FBI, there will be more than a dozen sextortion-related suicides in 2022.

Meredith Steele, a 35-year-old blogger and mother of two, stopped posting pictures of her children in June 2021 after she realized a fake profile was sharing images of her children. She found more than 30 photos of her family on the account that had not been altered.

“It was really scary,” Steele told SWNS. “The kids had new names and new identities.”

She said she was “freaked out” and deleted “everything” from the accounts she showed her children.

“This changed my mind about sharing my stuff online,” she said.

There are 50,000 predators online trying to exploit children at any given time. Department of Justice estimates. Additionally, one in five of her children receives unwanted sexual advances online each year.

What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

Hoffman said the best way to avoid digital kidnapping is to not post any images of your child online. (Photo credit: KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

data shows that reports of “prompting children to have sex online” have increased by 82% since 2021 and by 113% since 2020. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.that cyber tip line Over 32 million reports received 9% increase in allegations of child exploitation in 2022.


Hoffman warned that people should be careful when posting pictures of their children, even on private social media accounts.

“Please monitor your followers closely to ensure that all photos of children are appropriate and may not have been taken in an overt manner,” Hoffman said. “The only way to completely eliminate the risk of digital kidnapping is to not post any pictures of your children.”

Hoffman did not respond to a request for comment.

Brittany Kasko contributed to this report.

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