CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Who doesn’t love pictures of cute babies and kids popping up in their Facebook feed?
Even more, proud parents love posting them.
But along with those photos, we found that some parents are also posting dangerous hashtags that experts say could lead sexual predators right to their children.
Hashtags like #BathTime, #PottyTime and #PottyTraining turn up millions of pictures and videos when searched on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“I think parents, when they have young, cute kids, you want to take pictures of them and you’re gonna post them," said Carl Sullivan, Director of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. "You’re gonna put them on Twitter and you’re gonna have hashtags that maybe you think are innocuous or innocent, and that’s not usually the case.
“You may think, ‘Oh, I’m just posting my 5-year-old doing this.’ There may be somebody out there who has other plans," said Sullivan.
Last spring, ICAC set up a four day undercover sting called Operation Memorial Dazed. Twenty-two men were arrested after they traveled to an apartment in Newburgh Heights where police say the suspects thought they were meeting a child for sex.
Sullivan says the predators ICAC catches admit to searching everywhere online for children, including Instagram and Twitter.
And sometimes parents are drawing these predators right to their own kids with dangerous hashtags.
“While this might seem cute and increase likes, it overexposes children by showcasing private moments that shouldn’t be shared with a large audience, making them vulnerable to pedophiles and sex offenders,” the Coalition wrote on its website.