The "other" side of the internet

Yesterday I woke up to an interesting comment on my blog. One that has since been deleted by it's author. But, basically they told me there is someone out there who is acting like my kid's mom and created a website for them (more specifically Isla, but included a lot of pictures of Connor too). A simple search of the website brought up a video for Isla's birthday of pictures of her from my blog. That you tube video led me to more videos of our kids. Then, in the afternoon, I had a girl reach out to me on facebook saying she was duped by this mom and made videos for the mom of my kids and everything. And now, of course, she is confused and sad that this person duped her. And, I can easily say, I am sad and confused as well. Of course, one of the videos has over 2000 views, so my kids are a bit of a you tube sensation, but I digress... 




My first reaction when this all happened was to get rid of everything internet related. I immediately set my instagram to private and deleted every person I didn't know who was following me. Then I started thinking about my blog. This place means so much to me. It is where I have chronicled the last (almost) 7 years of my life. It is where I have met and also reconnected with people. It isn't something I want to give up. BUT, from now on out, I will watermark all my images so that if someone tries to be my kids fake mom again, it will easily be caught. Though I am curious, how does fake mom deal with the temper tantrums? Does she have a secret for them that I don't know about? I kid. 

I would also like to remind everyone that no one is safe and it isn't just blogs this happens to. Last year, a friend of mine had her images taken on instagram and used in child role play, also on instagram. Numerous people I know have had duplicate accounts set up on facebook - where someone makes an account just like yours and refriends all your friends. In fact, my kids fake mom was using my pictures of them on her facebook page. 

Everything we put on the internet makes us vulnerable. Do you have a photo sharing site? It could happen to you. Do you have a facebook site? It could happen to you. Do you put pictures on Twitter or Instagram? It could happen to you too. The crazy thing is, this has been going on for more than a year (that I can tell) with my kids and had I never been told, I wouldn't have known. Because, really, the internet is such a vast place, how would I have found it? And after doing some research, it seems that people are always tipped off by a blog reader or a friend who sees a picture...so way to have my back folks! 

Bar not being on the internet at all, we will never be safe from it all. But, here are a few tips to help keep yourself more safe. 

1. Image watermarking - Though this isn't a guarantee that your images won't be used, as watermarks can be cropped out or blurred, it is more of a deterrent. 

2. Facebook - make your account private and be sure to privatize your photos as well. 

3. Don't put ANYTHING out there that you won't want to be shared. People use children's images for all sorts of things and an innocent picture of your child half dressed could be used in another manner. 

The craziest thing of all, is besides copyright infringement, there is nothing you can do to stop this. If you find your images being used, contact the web host. One of the people who reached out to me about my kid's fake mom complained to facebook and that page has already been deleted, though I found some cached information from that page with my kids names on it...eeek! Fake mom called Isla "Isla Marie" and she even used my first name, but a different last name. 

I have always been cautious of the pictures I post of my kids online. I didn't do it because I was afraid someone would act like their mom, but because I would never want to accidentally sexualize my children. And, I have to say, this whole thing makes me so glad that I was already cautious of what I posted. 

Going forward, I will continue to blog. Being apart of the online community is a part of life for me (and mostly everyone out there!), so I can't allow this scare to keep me away. I will try to be smart about what I put out there though. And if you ever find my kids on someone else's site or account, please let me know. Thanks!



Update: After writing this, I discovered a facebook page for the fake mom, as well as an instagram account. Thanks to people jumping on and reporting the fraud, the facebook account was quickly taken down. If you or a friend ever finds yourself in a situation like this, here is a great article to help you deal with it



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11 comments:

  1. Everyone should be aware. But Jessica be careful some faker's also can remove watermarks. The video on the first Picture was mine and I really adore your kids and would be so happy if I can make more videos &' Edits of them! I am just a big Fan of your kiddos.

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  2. Scary - something similar happened to me but with pictures of my husband. They were using pictures of him as their profile pictures for a "casual" dating site. I was informed of it by a person who frequented that site and saw my husband. So scary.

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  3. This whole thing is ludicrous. I can only hope that in a few years we'll have technology that automatically searches and reports to us where images we post are being used. I can't see another solution to this creepiness besides not being on the interment at all (and I love your blog!)

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  4. I've seen so much of this lately...ugh. Makes me sick

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  5. I'm sorry but I didn't know I deleted my comment.. im really happy that you finally know about the fake, I always knew that she was fake. People like that just don't have a life.

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    1. And the birthday vidoe was from me..

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    2. I just wanted people to know that I didn't delete the comment :)

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  6. it's too scary... definitively there's the craziest people out there

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  7. I'm so sorry this happened to you. How sad, and how scary. It's terrible that someone would do this to your family. And why? For what reason? It has to be a lonely existence that would drive someone to make a fake family. For that reason, it makes me sad for the person. I'm glad you're taking the precautions you need to. It sounds like you're dealing with this in a very level headed way. I'm also glad you're continuing to blog, because I love reading it!

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  8. The same shit happend to me and my daughter Adalyn. Someone created a Facebook Page with over 280 Likes, that's creepy. I messaged the Page but they blocked me. The Page is still up but not active anymore. I should also start to watermark my Pictures!

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