Expert: Parents are helping pedophiles prey on children through social media

Parents often take pictures of their children and post them on social media, but you could be putting your child in danger of being tracked by pedophiles even if your settings are on private.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — "Predators look for ways to find kids," said Stacy Pendarvis, Program Director of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children in Jacksonville.She tells Action News Jax's Ben Becker privacy settings do not help you if you use a hashtag and allow friends of friends to see your posts, who allow friends of friends to see their posts and so on.

"A predator uses those hashtags to look for kids without their clothes on, or in poses, that to them are sexual and can curate those photos and put them on other websites," Pendarvis said.

According to Pendarvis, by the age of two, 90% of children have an online footprint. It's because their pictures or videos have been posted by parents, friends or loved ones. Hashtags as benign as bath time, potty training and nap time are what predators prey on.

"It's unbelievable what people do with pictures of kids,"   said Anila Pouraliafazel, a mother of three. "Sometimes I think delete the whole thing, (social media) we were better off without it."

Pendarvis said one way to keep children safe is to do a hashtag search before using it and change your social media settings to private and friends only.