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#Dangerous;investigators warn hashtags could attract pedophiles

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Sharing your child’s best moments on social media is a habit for most parents but the hashtag you use could expose them to unwanted attention.

According to the Child Rescue Coalition, most parents will post 1,500 photos of their child before they turn five-years-old.

While these pictures are meant to be memories, using certain hashtags like ‘#pottytraining’ and ‘#kidsbathing’ could attract the attention from pedophiles.

Lieutenant Jeremy Mathis with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office says it’s not only hashtags that will expose children to online predators.

“Don’t post anything about schools. Don’t post anything about ball teams or cheerleading squads or anything that can identify where the child is,” said Mathis.

He says, even frequent posting when you’re out in public can also be dangerous if you’re not aware of the location settings on your phone.

Mathis said, “Make sure that you’re not hashtagging where you are on a frequent basis where it kind of gets to be known that this is where, if someone has ill intentions toward a child, this is where that person can go find them.”

Mathis says it’s just as important for kids to be educated on the dangers that could be on the other side of the screen.

When they come in contact with someone with ill intentions, Mathis says the person in question will try to gather a lot of information in a short time.

“A lot of the times, they just start asking a lot of questions. Tell me what you do, what grade you’re in, what sports do you play, what nights do you play those sports, what field do you play those sports at.”

He says now more than ever, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office encourages all parents to monitor what happens on their child’s phone and social media.

“Social media is a great thing but it’s also one of the worst things because we share so much information via social media that people don’t realize can be used to track someone back to any location they are at.”

To read more information from the Child Rescue Coalition, click here.

See a list of helpful apps for parents here.

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