MBOMBELA – Parents panic that predators use social media to get to their children. Some believe that this happens when parents post images of their minor children onto social media sites, revealing their locations and other personal information in the process.
In a time where human trafficking and online crime is on the increase, this assumption may not seem too far-fetched. Jason Jordaan, director at Digital Forensics South Africa, told Lowvelder that there is no formal evidence that this is common or on the increase.
“Unfortunately the internet has become a source of lots of fake news and this is, in my opinion, more of this,” Jordaan told Lowvelder. He added, however, that it the abuse of social media platforms by traffickers could not be ruled out as a possibility.
Jordaan does not believe that avoiding social media sites is the answer to this potential threat to children’s safety.
“Saying not to post pictures of your kids on your own social media platforms these days would be like saying don’t go outside,” he said. According to Jordaan, parents should use social media responsible. “(They) should maintain adequate security with regards their social media,” he said.
A parent himself, Jordaan shares images of his child onto his Facebook page. “I have made sure that my account is adequately secured, so that only people that I choose can see any of my posts relating to him,” he added.
“If parents have concerns then they should not use social media,” he advised. “The fact that they do not use social media does not mean that their children will be any safer,” he stressed.
The real concern, according to Jordaan, is children using social media and then being befriended by strangers who groom them into becoming victims.