CHICAGO — It’s a disturbing online trend: People on Facebook are stealing photos of other people’s children. It’s sometimes referred to as “digital kidnapping.” It happened to Lindsey Paris, who shared her story with WGN Morning News via Skype Wednesday.
Paris runs a blog called Redhead Baby Mama, and when she saw that her fan page had gotten a few more “likes,” she went to check out the profiles of her new fans. One girl’s profile featured photos of Paris’ infant son that had clearly been taken from her blog.
“She was claiming that the child was her own, and pretending, almost playing house, that he was hers: ‘Oh, when is he going to start teething? Don’t you just love his red hair?'” Paris said. “Even though he was 18 months old at the time, sleeping soundly in his crib, safe in the house, I absolutely melted!”
When this happened to Paris — about two years ago — Facebook did not have as many options as it does now for reporting users and photos. So, Paris confronted the girl through a private Facebook message. It turned out that the girl was very young, didn’t speak English well and had no idea she was doing anything wrong. In the end, the girl took the photos down.
Paris encouraged WGN viewers to be cautious about sharing photos and personal information online. She also recommended watermarking your photos and double-check your privacy settings. She has more suggestions on her blog here.