A 35-year-old blogger has stopped posting photos of her children online after she discovered a fake account was featuring pictures of her own children on it.
Meredith Steele is a 35-year-old mother of two from Portland, Maine.
In June 2021, Steele posted a family photo of herself and her family while out to dinner for her child’s pre-school graduation.
Minutes after Steele posted the picture, which included the location of the restaurant, a waitress spotted the same image of Steele’s family — twice.
Digging into the issue, content creator Steele discovered that an imposter account was featuring over 30 photos of her family.
“It was absolutely horrifying,” she said.
“The kids had new names and new identities … I freaked out and removed everything.”
The fake account contained images of her family as they were out and about doing errands and engaging in other activities, such as having lunch and going to school.
“This has changed my mind about sharing my stuff online.”
Steele reported the account to Instagram but says the site didn’t remove it, according to SWNS.
At that point, she blocked the fake account from having access to her profile.
“I felt like such a bad parent,” she said.
“It was like they were playing with Barbie dolls, but the dolls were my kids.”
Steele has an active social media following.
She has over 157,000 Instagram followers and over 922,000 followers on her TikTok account — but she’s now completely changed her tune about sharing photos of her kids.
Steele no longer shares photos of her children’s faces — only the backs of their heads — and will not tag locations until after she’s left the area, SWNS reported.
She also no longer grants permission for her children to be photographed at school or summer camp.
“Mommy blog culture normalizes oversharing intimate personal details of your kids.”
Steele says she was a victim of “digital kidnapping” and warns others to be cautious about this type of thing on the internet.
“Mommy blog culture normalizes oversharing intimate personal details of your kids — and they aren’t old enough to agree or disagree with it,” she said.
“This has changed my mind about sharing my stuff online,” she also said.
In a word of advice to other parents, she added firmly, “Protect your kids’ identities online.”
To learn more, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it.