PLYMOUTH, Minn. - It's happening right now. Pedophiles scrolling through social media sites, often looking for the pictures that look "sweet" or "innocent" to you and me.
But to predators, they can become a "hot commodity" that they can trade or sell with other pedophiles.
"That photo can be sent all over the world, literally," said Detective Mike Passig with Plymouth Police, who educates parents about social media.
He says technology is always changing and tracking down these pedophiles can be tough.
"Some of these people who don’t want to be found are masking their IP addresses, their profiles, they are doing everything they can to hide themselves," said Passig.
Since we don't know when a pedophile uses a photo, Passig is telling parents to be proactive. He says to increase privacy settings on social media sites, make sure you are not friends with people you don't know and be mindful of the pictures you post.
Before posting a picture of your child, ask yourself, are they fully dressed? Is there room to superimpose or Photoshop the picture?
He says the best thing parents can do is stop and think before posting a picture of their kids.
"As a parent think of your 6-month-old child, their photograph being manipulated or Photoshopped, if you will, and that somebody is using it for sexual gratification," said Detective Passig. "As a parent, personally that disgusts me."
For Internet safety resources head to the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force website.
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