Child pornography is a topic that is very often underestimated by people who are not affected by it. As I take a stance against child pornography, it is important to me that people take it very seriously with utmost caution, and to bring awareness to pedophiliac behaviors and how to protect children from them. Furthermore, it is necessary to always be careful not to give the possibility of stirring action for these disturbing people, to say the least.
With the opportunity for everyone around the globe to have access to the Internet now, it has become so simple and easy for people to gain access to child pornography, and unfortunately the exchange of child pornography has reached its maximum as well. This has allowed a considerable increase in the production of child pornography. Not only are they based on real homemade videos and photos, but also on photomontages of children from photographs that were secretly taken of them by pedophiles without their consent. Additionally, those photomontages become modified in a pornographic context to make them appear as if they are actually doing pornographic-related activity. And I assure you that there is this thing that, even if it does not directly impact the child, frankly it bothers me a lot just knowing that there could be a photo of my daughter circulating on the Internet who is in pornographic situations within a photomontage.
Furthermore, in addition to pedophiles being able to exchange these child pornographic obscenities with each other, advice is also exchanged on their nauseating practice. There are forums and chats (especially Telegram, thanks to the high level of secrecy and anonymity) where information is exchanged on how not to make the baby cry during the sexual act, or how not to leave marks on his body... Truly creepy, disturbing things.
Pedophilia is very often associated with child pornography, while it is not entirely correct. Pedophilia is a mental disorder, and pedophiles do not necessarily commit crimes such as harassment or child pornography. There are pedophiles who have never done anything wrong by holding back their instincts, and there are child pornographers who are not actually pedophiles but do it for the simple sake of violence, or simply, as mentioned before, to produce content to be resold in this lousy market that also brings earnings.
In the past, I have actively participated in the research and dismantling of child pornography sites, even using not strictly legal techniques to obtain administrator accounts and deliver them to the authorities. Actually, the only thing I usually try to do is sensitize people to this topic, you know, trying to decrease the "attack vectors" (using cybersecurity terms).
What You Need To Be Careful
The use by child pornographers of web scraping methods to get photos or videos, OSINT and social engineering make the situation complicated. There are so many things to be careful of in order not to expose the safety of our children too much. Here is a small list just to start getting an idea of the topic.
In the child pornography forums and chats, you can read about people who go to the beach and enjoy watching parents change their children's swimsuits without covering them, or worse, parents who allow their children to play without a swimsuit (which in any case is not hygienic and could potentially lead to bacterial infections, but that's another topic of discussion).
Beyond the obscene thoughts that a pedophile might have with our children, which in itself is already offensive even if not acted upon, the pedophile could secretly take photos of children to use them as child pornography material. It can be used not only as an exchange, but also for the photomontages mentioned above.
Therefore, always try to cover your children while you change their swimsuits in public such as at the beach, and above all, do not let them play naked on the shore.
Many of my contacts, especially mothers, put the photos of their daughters and sons in the status of their WhatsApp account, even in a swimsuit at the beach (hooking us up to the above speech).
This is another way how child pornography can be fueled. Because to see any person's status on WhatsApp (such as a mother), all you need to do is enter their phone number in the address book. Even without asking for the account owner's permission, you can still possibly view their profile photo and status.
It is an extreme case that it happens, but it is not entirely impossible. Remember that the child pornography market is unfortunately in great demand, and those who generate content for its market can make lucrative amounts of money.
This obviously does not refer only to WhatsApp, but also to all the other messaging applications that will allow you to publish your statuses. And let's just say that it's mainly the average user of WhatsApp who are not very practical or aware about these situations.
Social media pushes us to share and write everything we do, where we go, where we are, what we have at home, even if it includes a thousand photos of animals and especially of children.
Beyond that, for example, the things we share can be used against us by nefarious people such as thieves who will find out when you are on vacation and other useful information, and before you know it they have entered your empty house (but that is still another matter).
At the level of social engineering, all the information we publish can be used by a pedophile to approach a child who is at the park or out of school with the goal of initiating a conversation or discussion with the child. Perhaps, the pedophile will talk to the child about games, cartoons, hobbies, or anything they know they are interested in. Furthermore, knowing the names of parents, siblings and friends, increases the probability of creating a realistic discussion with the child. Evidently, this becomes extremely dangerous when the child gains confidence in trusting the pedophile stranger as they continue to talk more to each other.
Unfortunately... anything could happen later.
Family Car Stickers
I'm not joking, these also expose important information if you use your real names.
As for the information taken from social media, we saw in the previous example how it is very dangerous when used by a pedophile to approach a child based on things known to them from social media.
Even through family car stickers, for example, you can get to know the name of a child, their parents, and their pet.
A phrase like, "Hi Dave, your mom Elsa and dad Steve went to take Kitty to the vet because she had hurt her paw, and they asked me to take you to them so you can cuddle her." It may not raise too many doubts to a child of a certain age, let's say between the ages 5 and 8 years old. Indeed, the probability that she is emotionally affected by the fate of her pet, and therefore is not lucid enough to have the slightest doubts is very high.
This is also a borderline case of course, but unfortunately it could happen.
In general, it would be good practice to avoid publicly displaying information about your children.
A towel around your child while changing their swimsuit can avoid impure thoughts, and prevents photos being secretly taken of them that can be used as child pornography material.
Not posting all of your daughter's photos in your WhatsApp status won't ruin your day either. If you want to show them to friends interested in her, you can always send them privately.
Posting a lot of information on social networks is not always the best, especially without having security settings, such as the possibility of showing your posts only to direct contacts (also avoiding having 5000 unknown contacts).
The family stickers on the car... Well, come on, that is an extreme case, I admit it.
In any case, spreading these "best practices" and small precautions, and talking about them with people are the only things that can be done to avoid unpleasant, or even worse, dangerous situations.
Unfortunately, it is very often that the people I talk to about these things close the conversation with phrases like, "Really do you think something like this happens?" In fact, they are the same people who are most vulnerable to being exploited especially their children due to their general neglect of the topic. They may also say things like, "I'm always careful of what I put on Facebook..." And yet, on their social media accounts, you will also find what their turtle ate. "You're a little too paranoid..." Yes, I am, but I'm also a realist. My point is, most people do not take it as seriously as they should.
Despite this, I will continue my crusade undeterred as I take a stance against child pornography, continuing to talk about it to sensitize people to this topic, which is sadly more and more present all over the world.