A mother who used to post photos of her children online has issued an urgent warning after a terrifying experience.
Katarina Strode regularly posts snapshots of her little ones to her 40,000+ social media followers.
But the aspiring lifestyle influencer and mother-of-two has now shared on TikTok the reason she quit and warned other parents to do the same.
Even before the birth, Katarina began sharing pictures of her children – a 4-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son – on Instagram and TikTok.
After she gave birth to her children, she uploaded pictures of them playing in the park and on the beach, hoping her followers would enjoy watching the wholesome content.
But the 25-year-old from North Carolina had a nightmare experience in 2022 when she realized a stranger had saved photos of her son online.
She was even more shocked when she saw the unidentified person reposting her son’s footage on fake TikTok accounts while pretending to be his parent.
“It literally sent a shiver down my spine” she told the New York Post.
“It never occurred to me that people out there who could harm my kids could put pictures of them on their phones and do whatever they want with them.”
After the chilling discovery, Katarina informed her husband before spending hours sifting through her social media accounts and deleting every post that contained her child’s face or name.
The vlogger mom is now one of 10 million parents on TikTok using the hashtag KidsOnline to share stories and warn other parents of her scary situation.
She’s also scared of the rise of AI and how filters can alter an image so easily.
“Creeps can literally take any picture and turn a child’s picture into anything — even what they might look like as adults,” she said, “that’s crazy.”
After the shocking discovery, Katarina now hopes she can educate her children about the harmful sides of the internet.
“Our parents wrote our pictures in a scrapbook, we posted our kids on Facebook and Instagram,” she told the outlet.
“Yes, this will get you likes and clicks, but what impact will that have on the safety of our children?”
This comes after an expert issued a chilling warning to parents who shared photos of their children’s first day of school.
dr jessica taylorFounder of the charity Victim Focus, said posting children in their uniforms could give criminals important information about their whereabouts.
Another mother’s social media pictures of her kids’ milestones were stolen and used by trolls.
The patient collected family photos that she proudly posted on social media and reposted them on more than ten fake accounts.
And in 2017, Get Safe Online CEO Tony Neate explained to The Sun Online the hidden dangers of publishing your kids’ vacation photos, even revealing that tech-savvy people can find out exactly where they were taken.