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ONLY ON 3: "Digital Kidnappers" stealing your online photos of your kids

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Channel 3 introduced you to a sick and twisted game that may use photos of your child in some fantasy game of "house." Believe it or not, this is all legal but that doesn't mean you cannot stop it.

Imagine seeing your baby or young child show up on the internet with a fake name, made-up parents and in some make believe world. Not only is it possible, it is happening right here in the Tennessee Valley. A lot of you may call this creepy, preteens and teens call it fun. The police call it perfectly legal. Channel 3 asks in a follow-up to our investigation, What are the best ways you can keep your child safe online?

"I had never heard of it until I saw Hadley's picture on there," said Bridgette Parm. 

READ MORE |  ONLY ON 3: Baby role-playing in the Tennessee Valley worrying parents

Bridgette Parm is from Ringgold, her 9-month-old daughter is one of many kids unwillingly living in a virtual world. Someone grabbed her daughter's photo in what's called "Digital Kidnapping."

It will be nearly impossible to undo it and don't expect your local authorities to be able to do much about it either.

"Some random girl from Marshall Texas messaged me and told me that she has worries about this random guy who popped up out of nowhere," said Parm. "I looked him up on Facebook and found out he was using pictures of my daughter saying he just found out that she was his through a DNA test."

When Parm confronted the unknown man about the lies, the account was deleted only to show up again just days later on another account.

"Whatever public social networking site parents are on...it's just that they are public," said Det. David Scroggins, Rossville Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Task force

Det. David Scroggins who investigates internet sex crimes against children, knows his hands are tied when it comes to online role-play as long as there's no sexual crime being committed.

He calls online baby and child role-playing a potentially abusive fetish that is now flourishing online. Child Advocacy groups like "Fighting for all Kids" are petitioning sites like Instagram to shut down these role playing accounts. Instagram has agreed to shut down accounts that break their terms of service. File a report with them if you see something.

For parents who are concerned their child's photos are being used. Officials say you can use a water marking app on any child photos you post. That shows your ownership and makes it much less likely to be used. Double-check your privacy settings, while nothing is ever %100 private on the internet, you can make it harder for people to lift your photos.

Finally-- do a reverse search on google images. Go to the images tab on google and click the camera icon. From there you can upload an image and it will search for places where that image is being used. However, due to privacy settings on social media sites, this is not a guaranteed way to determine if pictures are being used.

"There are some bad ones of beating kids and I mean role-plays of sexual abuse, there are baby role-plays of child abuse.... there are all kinds," said Bridgette Parm. "Lock down on Facebook and hashtags, your Facebook can be completely private but the hashtags are not. So if you have hashtags, those are not private." 

The game is also known as BabyRP, There are now more than 35,000 posts for this hashtag on Instagram alone. Officials say it's probably not going away anytime soon. For Parm, she hopes no one watching this story will ever have to go through what she has.

"It's scary, he could have pictures of my daughter in the bath tub, not like she's showing anything but still, he could have those on his computer and for all I know upload them and use them for whatever reason," said Parm. " He says he is from Marshall, Texas but for all I know he could be right here in Chattanooga...I just dont know."

Officials say it's important to remember that strangers CAN copy shared, tagged and hash tagged photos from any private account and unknown friends of your friends can access to your child's photos online.


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