although these types of abuse may not be frequently acknowledged, they may carry the greatest impact on CSA victims. impacts of CSA may be embodied in many parts of our lives. following recent readings of Cultural abuse, different POV were raised with an advocate, who made identifications of Cultural & Spiritual impacts. these had related tomultiple instances in type upbringing of the abused child.
Cultural abuses may involve:
Belittles your beliefs, practices and traditions
Prevents you from participating in spiritual or cultural traditions
Forces you to participate in practices (not your own)
Misstating or misusing spiritual practices against you
Practices bad medicine against you
Spiritual abuses may involve:
Telling you that you’re not “native enough”, or if your partner is non-Native, that you’re “too Indian”
Uses hurtful stereotypes to put you down (“Indians are drunks, lazy,” etc.)
Prevents you from participating in ceremonies, pow wows, feasts
Uses tribal membership against you (“My tribe won’t let you…”)
Tells you that you’re not allowed to drum, dance, sing, fast or otherwise participate in traditions because of your gender
Each of these points are only examples of what are involved in Cultural + Spiritual abuse. As they’ve been taken from an American Helpline, reference has been made to (American) Indians. Indigenous Australians could be an equivalent.
• The word ‘trauma’ describes events and experiences which are so stressful that they are overwhelming. • The word ‘trauma’ also describes the impacts of the experience/s. The impacts depend on a number of factors. • People can experience trauma at any age. Many people experience trauma across different ages. • Trauma can happen once, or it can be repeated. Experiences of trauma are common and can have many sources. • Trauma can affect us at the time it occurs as well as later. If we don’t receive the right support, trauma can affect us right through our life. • We all know someone who has experienced trauma. It can be a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a client… or it can be us. • It can be hard to recognise that a person has experienced trauma and that it is still affecting them. • Trauma is often experienced as emotional and physical harm. It can cause fear, hopelessness and helplessness. • Trauma interrupts the connections (‘integration’) between different aspects of the way we function. • Trauma can stop our body systems from working together. This can affect our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
• While people who experience trauma often have similar reactions, each person and their experience is unique. • Trauma can affect whole communities. It can also occur between and across generations, e.g. the trauma of our First Nations people. • For our First Nations people, colonisation and policies such as the forced removal of children shattered important bonds between families and kin and damaged people’s connection to land and place. • Many different groups of people experience high levels of trauma. This includes refugees and asylum seekers, as well as women and children. This is not to deny that many men and boys also experienced trauma. • Certain life situations and difference can make trauma more common. People with disability of all ages experience and witness trauma more often than people without disability. LGBTQI people also experience high levels of trauma which is often due to discrimination.
PARCS have been taking conversations about the elephant in the room out of the centre and in to the local Portsmouth community since we were established by a group of local women in 1981. Our aim is to raise consciousness, challenging victim blaming narratives and rape myths, and to offer support and signposting to survivors of sexual abuse.
Our current outreach and education programmes are co-produced with the communities they hope to engage and work to challenge and disrupt the ever-present societal and cultural narratives of sexual violence. While our consciousness raising work has developed we believe the messages we took out in 1981 to be just as relevant now.
We believe that every community has a part to play in responding to and preventing sexual violence and that we all have the power to shrink the impact of the trauma caused by sexual abuse.
In 2016, following the launch from The Survivors Trust “Elephant in the Room campaign” we purchased a 10ft inflatable elephant and since then the elephant has attended hundreds of events including Portsmouth Pride, The Great South Run, Victorious, The South Coast Festival and many local Portsmouth schools and colleges.
The Elephant in the Room has also featured in many of our awareness campaigns and this year we launched a series of posters of the Elephant at “home” and out in Portsmouth City, in response to the impact of sexual abuse during the pandemic.
Launched in August, 2020 #ShrinkTheElephant is our new campaign created during lockdown by a group of young women volunteering to train as young leaders and activists through Project Catalyst.
The aim of the campaign is to raise consciousness of the impact of sexual abuse in our local communities through photography. Many of the photo’s for the campaign have been taken by young people out in and around Portsmouth as well as in homes during lockdown with the aim of highlighting that HOME is not always a safe place for survivors of sexual abuse no matter how long ago the abuse happened.
The Elephant has gone on tour in the next chapter of the #shrinktheelephant campaign and with support from Strong Island and many local photographers we will be holding a local exhibition to showcase the images of the Elephant in and around Hampshire. We will also be running a photography competition for young people, aged 18 and under, from the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire area. To enter simply find an elephant model of your choice and capture your photos of the Elephant in the Room then tag us on Instagram @shrinktheelephant. If you prefer you can also DM us your photos if you wish them to be posted anonymously. More on this and information about prizes coming soon.
Survivors on our helpline tell us that covering their own face or seeing the faces of others covered has been a triggering experience for them. From a small survey we conducted, we found that a third of survivors who responded confirmed this. With the Government’s announcement that face coverings will be mandatory in shops from Friday the 24th of July, this issue will only worsen for survivors affected by this.
Within the Government’s Guidelinesfor face coverings on public transport, it states that those who “cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering without severe distress” will be exempt. Although technically this exemption includes survivors of sexual violence who are triggered by covering their face, asking a survivor to explain this to staff and security guards is a terrifying and humiliating prospect. Many survivors already carry a great deal of shame about what happened to them, making disclosing this to strangers an impossibility. There is also the worry as to how staff or other shoppers may react to them. We live in a society where members of the general public’s perception of survivors are still heavily clouded by rape myths and victim blaming. Survivors may not always receive an empathetic and compassionate response.
Although we strongly urge survivors to try to wear face coverings in order to protect themselves and the vulnerable members of our society, the guidelines state that those who “cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering without severe distress” are exempt.
If wearing a face covering will be severely distressing for you, please download one or both of these images to your phone to present to staff when entering shops. These are NOT official Government documents but they may help you feel more comfortable when speaking with staff and security guards.
When viewing this web page on your phone, press the image above with your finger and hold down for a second or two. A box will pop up with a few options, select the option to download or save the image. The image should then appear in your photos ready for you to access.
Here are a number of alternative exemption cards that you can download, print and present:
Masks and face coverings can be triggering for a number of reasons. Wearing a face covering can trigger memories of abuse, such as the feeling of having a hand covering your mouth or your face pushed into a pillow. They can also make us feel claustrophobic which can trigger fears of having a panic attack or losing control of our breathing. Survivors have also reported that not being able to see the faces of those around them is intimidating and makes them feel worried. With the conditions of lockdown worsening pre-existing mental health issues and feelings of isolation for many people in the UK, survivors are particularly vulnerable at this time.
Here are some of our tips to consider for those who are worried about wearing a mask:
Practice wearing your face covering at home. If wearing a face covering or mask in public has been particularly triggering for you, try practicing wearing one at home or in environments where you already know you feel safe. Take the time to get used to how it feels on your face. This will make you feel more prepared and relaxed for when you might have to wear the face covering in less familiar or more stressful situations.
Find the right face covering. Some masks and face coverings fit better than others depending on the size and shape of your face. If you can find a face covering that is comfortable and doesn’t irritate you, this will help you stay relaxed in public.
Get creative. If you feel uncomfortable wearing a mask, you could consider wearing a scarf or handkerchief over your mouth instead. Although the feeling is similar, it may be less restrictive and more familiar if it is an item you’ve owned for a long time. You could even make your own mask or face covering with fabric that makes you happy and feels comfortable on your skin. Here are some official tips on making effective face coverings. If you like the idea of having a personalised mask but would find it difficult to make your own, you can find personalising options online, such as on Bags of Love.
Make it smell good. If there is a particular smell that you find relaxing, such as lavender, invest in a pillow spray that you can lightly spray a fabric mask with 20 minutes before you need to use it. That way, by the time you come to wear the face covering, the smell won’t be overpowering but just enough to relax your senses.
Ask for support. If you have trusted family and loved ones who know what you have been through, ask for their support. This might look like going for practice walks in the face covering with you, going with you to the shops to support you if it gets too much, or helping you to find the right covering for you.
If even after following these tips a mask is still causing you significant distress, you could consider a face shield instead. These still offer protection to the wearer and those around them without the same restrictive fabric covering the mouth. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines on their website that they do not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for face coverings, however, if they are used without a mask “they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.” You can find more information on this on theCDC’s website here. Face shields are also helpful for those who are hearing impaired or wear glasses (face masks are renowned for steaming up glasses.) You can find a variety of face shields onAmazon and other online retailers.
If you lip-read as part of your communication, you may find an app such as Live Transcribe helpful when those around you are wearing a mask. The app will create live subtitles on screen as a person speaks. Simply search for this in your phone’s app store and click download.
If you feel triggered when you are out in public, whether this is due to face coverings or being overwhelmed by busy places, try considering grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can be very useful when we feel really distressed, particularly when the distress makes us feel very unreal or detached, or it feels like we are in a different situation to where we really are. You can find these here.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronvirus), Blue Knot have prepared some fact sheets to help members of the community, as well as health professionals take care of themselves and others during this challenging time.
Here at Blue Knot Foundation, we will continue to provide as many of our usual services as we can. As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our absolute priority we are rapidly transitioning our teams to working from home. We will still deliver all of our counselling services – Blue Knot Helpline and redress application support as well as the National Counselling and Referral Service supporting people affected by or engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. Our counselling services will maintain the high degree of professionalism, privacy and confidentiality currently provided. Should there be any disruptions to our services during this transitions, we anticipate that they will be minor and temporary. Our focus is for our trauma specialist counsellors to continue to provide the counselling, support and information currently provided through all the usual numbers and channels (see below for further information).
We will also continue to disseminate our monthly Breaking Free and quarterly Blue Knot Review publications as always. Blue Knot will be additionally releasing new publications and fact sheets in the coming months, including resources related to caring for ourselves during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Ongoing Counselling and Support Services
Call 1300 657 380 Mon-Sun between 9-5 AEDT to reach our Blue Knot Helpline and redress services.
Call 1800 421 468 to reach our National Counselling and Referral Service (supporting the Disability Royal Commission) or go here and to find out the other ways with which you can connect with this service.
The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19).
From an outside perspective, I belonged to a middle-class family and lived a happy and fulfilled life. I excelled at school and partook in many extra-curricular activities, such as swimming, piano lessons and ballet. I was the textbook definition of a ‘good child’.
My first recollection of abuse was when I was perhaps five or six years old. My parents were arguing and when I tried to intervene, my mother lashed out and struck me across the face.
The stone of her engagement ring cut my face drawing blood. I vaguely remember being upset, however, what sticks with me is the next day. I was at school and met with questions as to what happened to my face. Instinctively I constructed a lie and told everyone that I had walked into the sharp edge of a door.
What amazes me, is that I was able to lie so quickly and convincingly at such a young age. I do not even remember my mother telling me to lie, I just know that felt as if I should.
As I grew older and my mother’s ability to control me diminished, her abuse developed.
There was one time where I truly feared for my life. I do not remember the cause for her distress, however, she became so enraged that she reached for a wooden statue of a seahorse that was in our hallway, and lifted her arm high up to strike me with it. At that moment, I saw her pupils shrink and her face was screwed up in extreme torment. I thought that if she hit me with that statue, I would probably die.
I froze in panic and said nothing. I think my passive reaction caused her to snap out of what I assume was a dissociative state. She changed her mind and she dropped the statue.
Another time, she had kicked my legs so I was sat on the floor and she was slamming my head into the wall. I kicked my legs out towards her and struck her in the chest, hoping to get her away from me. She cried out in pain and began crying, berating me for being abusive and hurting her. The problem with her was that she never thought logically and that situation then became one where I hurt her, regardless of the fact that she had just been assaulting me previously.
Many people have often questioned why myself or my father never spoke out and told anyone about the abuse that we faced. The answer is a complex one, yet it can be simplified to the fact that when you are subjected to abuse for the majority of your life, it can become normalised.
I understood what my mother did was wrong, however, I never believed that it was bad enough to speak out. The other reason is due to embarrassment. The trouble with abuse is the victim often feels ashamed, even though the shame should be entirely on the abuser.
I could not let my friends or teachers know what was happening, yet at the same time, I dreamed that they would somehow know and save me from the horrors that I faced.
When I recall the years of abuse that I faced, I think the emotional abuse affected me much greater than the physical. I did not like to be hit, however, I would’ve chosen that over the alternative, which was the punishment of humiliation.
She achieved this in various ways, such as locking me outside of the front of the house, forcing me to sit outside knowing the neighbours could see me. Another method would be to text my friends shameful and embarrassing messages from my phone, knowing that I would have to pretend it was me, as I could not explain that my mother would do such a thing.
Towards the end, as I neared adolescence, I became really upset with my situation. My mother and father had separated, due to her forcing him to leave, and her distress caused by the dissolution of marriage was taken out on me.
As her mental health spiralled, the emotional abuse and screaming became more frequent. I was nearing the age of taking exams as a sixteen-year-old girl, and I was tired of juggling my school work, with having to look after my mother who was out of control.
I would often have sleepless nights due to her making me sleep on the floor in a cold room as a punishment, or keeping me up by shouting at me for some trivial mistake that I had made. I then became desperate for my situation to change.
At this point, it was still never a viable option in my mind to tell an outsider and get help. Not because I was scared, or because I didn’t think that anyone would believe me. I just simply did not consider doing it. I then started hoping that someone else would save me from my situation. I often opened windows when my mother was in a fit of rage, hoping a neighbour or passerby would hear her and report it.
I shamefully remember hoping that she would do something really drastic- inflict so much damage to me that I would end up in the hospital or that someone would call the police to take her away. Like many others, I ask my younger self: ‘why did you not just simply tell someone?’
Then came the day that completely changed my life. I had recently been in contact with my father and had told him that I could not take the situation anymore and that he must do something. He had a wide range of evidence of her abuse, from text messages to videos. I was at school one day when I was asked to leave my classroom to speak to someone.
The police sat in a room and explained that my father had reported my mother for abuse and that she was in custody.
I was taken to a police safe house in the forest to complete a vulnerable witness video statement, as I was under the age of eighteen and the victim of traumatic crime.
I was asked to outline as much as I could of the abuse that I faced throughout the years. I listed multiple instances in a rather matter of fact way, to which the policeman was shocked. He told me how he was stunned that I could talk of such experiences so calmly and without getting upset.
He also told me how horrified he was, as a father of a young girl, that someone could face what I had. It was at this point, that I truly understood the reality of my experience, causing my resolute appearance to shatter. I broke down in tears, realising that for the first time in my life, somebody else knew what I had faced.
As an adult leading a happy and successful life, I can still see the remnants of my trauma. One of my biggest flaws is that I overthink how others perceive me. I spend hours worrying if I have said something wrong, or embarrassing, which I believe stems from punishments of humiliation, which were designed to render me as vulnerable.
Not a good week for Snapchat. On Thursday, Motherboardreported that “several departments inside social media giant Snap have dedicated tools for accessing user data, and multiple employees have abused their privileged access to spy on Snapchat users.” And now the Sunday Times has published an investigation into allegations that predators are “flocking” to the social media platform, which has become a “haven for child abuse.”
Motherboard’s article cited two former employees who claimed that “multiple Snap employees abused their access to Snapchat user data several years ago.” This included the use of “internal tools that allowed Snap employees to access user data, including in some cases location information, their own saved Snaps and personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses.”
SnapLion, one of the tools referenced in the Motherboard article, was designed to gather information for “valid law enforcement requests. Claims that this tool was involved in the alleged misuse have not been verified.
A Snap spokesperson told me that “any perception that employees might be spying on our community is highly troubling and wholly inaccurate. Protecting privacy is paramount at Snap. We keep very little user data, and we have robust policies and controls to limit internal access to the data we do have, including data within tools designed to support law enforcement. Unauthorized access of any kind is a clear violation of the company’s standards of business conduct and, if detected, results in immediate termination.”
Ironically, it is this limited user data that is central to the Sunday Timesinvestigation. The newspaper’s investigation has uncovered “thousands of reported cases that have involved Snapchat since 2014,” including “pedophiles using the app to elicit indecent images from children and to groom teenagers,” as well as “under-18s spreading child pornography themselves.” This has now resulted in U.K. police “investigating three cases of child exploitation a day linked to the app, [with] messages that self-destruct allowing groomers to avoid detection.”
The Sunday Times quotes Adam Scott Wandt from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York calling Snapchat a “haven” for abusers, arguing that the “self-destruct” nature of Snapchat’s messages “makes it difficult for the police to collect evidence.”
Wandt claims that in this way “Snapchat has distinguished itself as the platform where abuse of children happens… The problem was that adults realized you could do a simple Google search and find out that most Snapchat messages are unrecoverable after 24 hours, even by law enforcement with a warrant.”
The U.K. children’s charity, the NSPCC, rates Snapchat as a high risk, with a spokesperson for the charity explaining that predators intent on grooming children “cast the net wide in the expectation that a small number of children will respond.”
The charity has also warned on self-generated images taken and shared by children themselves. “As soon as that image is shared or screenshotted, the child loses control over it… those images may start on a site like Snapchat, but they could very easily end up circulating among technologically sophisticated offenders, making their way onto the dark web.”
Snap told me that “we care deeply about protecting our community and are sickened by any behavior which involves the abuse of a minor. We work hard to detect, prevent and stop abuse on our platform and encourage everyone – young people, parents and caregivers – to have open conversations about what they’re doing online. We will continue to proactively work with governments, law enforcement and other safety organizations to ensure that Snapchat continues to be a positive and safe environment.”
A similar investigation in March focused on Instagram, with the NSPCC claiming that Facebook’s photo-sharing app has become the leading platform for child grooming in the country. During an 18-month period to September last year, there were more than 5,000 recorded crimes “of sexual communication with a child,” and “a 200% rise in recorded instances in the use of Instagram to target and abuse children.” The charity’s CEO described the figures as “overwhelming evidence that keeping children safe cannot be left to social networks. We cannot wait for the next tragedy before tech companies are made to act.”
This latest investigation makes the same point and comes a little over a month after the U.K. Government published proposals for “tough new measures to ensure the U.K. is the safest place in the world to be online,” claiming these to be the world’s “first online safety laws.” The proposals include an independent regulator with the “powers to take effective enforcement action against companies that have breached their statutory duty of care.” Such enforcement will include “substantial fines” as well as, potentially, the powers “to disrupt the business activities of a non-compliant company… to impose liability on individual members of senior management… and to block non-compliant services.”
The regulation of social media has been in and out of the headlines for most of this year. The prevalence of social media use by under-age children, and the risky interactions those children expose themselves to, has been one of the most disturbing aspects disclosed thus far. Regulation is coming. But the open question is how do the platforms prevent users from deliberately circumventing their security controls with little understanding of the risks they might then face.
I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—developing advanced surveillance solutions for defence, national security and counter-terrorism. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, and analyze breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at email@example.com .
Pedophiles trade Child Porn through Dropbox Links on Instagram
The Atlantic first reported that teenagers stumbled upon a network of Instagram accounts that were sharing Dropbox links of child porn (Atlantic article). The way it worked is that pedophiles were using certain hashtags on images that advertised how to get in touch. Teens discovered this and proceeded to spam the offending hashtags with hundreds of memes, making it difficult for pedophiles to find each other and trade illegal content.
Brilliant. Kids defending other kids!
And, although it was an admirable diversion, unfortunately these criminals are resourceful. And, with over a billion monthly users, it’s impossible for Instagram to keep pace with nefarious activity.
Maybe your kid already uses Instagram. Great! I’m not saying you need to rip it away. In fact, that is often counterproductive. Instead, we hope this post will help you better understand that the way the app is designed creates risks.
Because remember, not all kids using Instagram end up being groomed and abused.
If your son or daughter receives a private, DM (direct message) from a stranger, does he/she know how to respond? It’s easier to do than you think. Remember, wherever the kids are is where the predators are.
We simply want this post to flash a light in dark places. Since Apple’s App Store Descriptiondoesn’t say anything about predatory activity, it’s our job to tell the truth.
**Warning. Some of the screenshots you will see in this post are not safe for work (NSFW) and include some of the most disturbing content we’ve ever encountered during over four years of researching social media. Nothing has been censored.
Four Grooming Paths on Instagram – Comments, Hashtags, Likes, and DMs
If Instagram leadership reads this post, they’ll try really hard to point to their community guidelines and their reporting channels, saying that they don’t allow predatory activity. But we would argue that the very way in which Instagram is designed creates grooming pathways. In other words – no amount of moderation or guidelines can change Instagram’s features. Allow us to explain.
Oh, and one more thing. Many parents who read this might think, “my child has a private account, so they’re fine.” That’s a common, but incorrect conclusion. None of the four feature issues we discuss below are impacted in any way by the privacy of an account. Anyone, whether private or not, can post comments and search hashtags, and anyone can be seen through the like count and sent a message via DM.
Pedophiles exploit Instagram’s comments to network with each other and fish for victims.
Within the comments, pedophiles find other pedophiles and peddle their illegal and disgusting content with each other. Here are a few samples from an endless number of comments (warning – these comments are extremely disturbing)
You also see comments that go directly at young people as a form of “fishing” for victims, waiting for a kid to bite.
Pedophiles exploit Instagram’s hashtags to drop horrible content into good, clean places.
Almost all social media platforms use #hashtags. Think of them as a card catalogue for social media content – a way to categorize millions and millions of images into groups so that I can find exactly what I’m looking for. We love them! Some people use them as a sort of witty, second language.
But the problem is that they can be used by anyone.
Let’s say for a minute that I’m a teen girl who’s interested in modeling. Or cheerleading. And my mom even made me have a private Instagram account (good job, mom!).
I take a photo at the beach with my friends, and I attach the hashtags #teen #teengirl #teenmodel #snapchat. Fabulous. Later on, with my girlfriends, I’m thumbing through the #teenmodel and #snapchat hashtags, and I see this:
See, any predator can attach #teenmodel and #snapchat to their photo. This allows that photo to show up in front of millions of teen girls, thumbing through #snapchat photos, hoping one will “bite.”
Notice in the one photo how part of the “sell” is to convince a girl to join him in Snapchat, which is a very secure environment for secretive activity. After all, >75% of teens have Instagram and >76% (AP Article) of teens have Snapchat, so there’s a good chance that if a kid has one, then they probably have the other.
In other words, #hashtags allow predators to hover over good places like a drone and drop their smut whenever they want. Pay attention to those screenshots – there’s nothing pornographic about them. There’s no swear words. No use of “sex.” But, the very nature of #hashtags as a feature create this grooming path.
And if someone reports the “daddy” posts you see above and Instagram takes them down, no problem. Since Instagram doesn’t require any identity verification, including birthday, real email, credit card, NOTHING, a predator can create another fake account in seconds. This is yet another huge design flaw that creates a situation where pedophiles don’t mind taking great risks and getting shut down – their attitude is, “I’ll just start over.”
[Note: we experienced this with “daddy,” who we reported multiple times. His account would be shut down, and then he popped up with a slightly different username seconds later, posting the same horrifying images of him masturbating and asking kids to connect with him “live.”]
Predators exploit Instagram’s likes (the heart) to identify potential victims.
Going back to our #teenmodel example, if you click on one photo, you might find that it has hundreds of likes (hearts) similar to the photo of the young boy below (sorry, but if you don’t want your photo in blog posts, then keep your account private).
Predators can click on the likes and see everyone who has liked this photo. Everyone. Even if they have a private account. From that list, a predator can identify someone young who looks interesting and send him/her a direct message (DM) – we’ll explain the whole DM feature in more detail next. But, note how the “likes” feature creates a target audience for sexual predators. This is shown in the image below.
Again, it’s a design flaw. The very nature of the likes feature creates a pool of young people for predators to target (to Instagram’s credit, they are considering dropping the “like” count attached to photos, but so far, this has only been speculated).
Which leads us to DMs. Direct Messages.
Pedophiles exploit Instagram DMs (direct messages) to groom kids. And they’re doing it very successfully.
Two weeks ago, PYE created a test Instagram account. This account was clearly for a young girl, who posted two selfies on the first day of existence. Tagged on these photos were hashtags #teen, #teengirl, #teenmodel. This account went out and “liked” a few photos with similar hashtags and followed accounts that were like mine.
Not much happened for the first six days of the account.
Then, one week later, something in Instagram’s algorithm triggered. It was as if some combination of the test account’s activity unleashed a tsunami of DM activity that hasn’t let up over the past four days, averaging over 10 DMs per day. The screenshots below show some of the activity, including a very creative porn link. Note – PYE is the one who scribbled out the man masturbating in the image below. The photo was sent to our test account as a DM, completely exposed.
Can Instagram Fix their Predator Problem?
Maybe. In order to clean up the issues above, Instagram would have to significantly alter numerous, core features. If Instagram were to create a “Safe Mode,” it might have to:
Remove the ability to DM to or with anyone who isn’t an approved follower.
Allow parents to create a whitelisted set of contacts. That means the child can ONLY like, comment, and DM with people who are on the whitelist.
Remove the ability to add hashtags.
I just don’t foresee Instagram making those changes.
What Can Parents do About the Instagram Pedophile Problem?
1. If your kid uses social media, including Instagram, be curious and involved. Remember, not every kid misuses these platforms. But, if you know the risks, then get involved and talk openly with your children about how they’re using the app.
2. Use monitoring tools like Bark (7-days free!) and Covenant Eyes (30-days free!) to monitor their smartphone social media and texting activity. Bark actually monitors images within the app for appropriateness and alerts parents when kids venture into inappropriate images.
3. Talk to your kids specifically about direct messages and give them guidance for what to do if someone tricky reaches out to them.
The only way anything will change with big tech companies is if the government does something. We’re convinced of it.
Parents, we love BARK and how it helps parents AND kids. Here’s a real story…
“We knew our son was having some issues with school and in his social circle but he doesn’t talk to us about anything…he googled “What is it called when there’s a war going on inside your brain?”…The fact that he used the word “war” prompted BARK to mark it as violence…Call it depression or anxiety or regular mood swings teens experience, he wasn’t opening up to anyone about this and never mentioned it…I have a psych evaluation setup for him in a few days and I just have to say how grateful I am that BARK caught this. I would otherwise have no idea that this was even an issue for him and we can now get some professional help to ensure that it doesn’t become a true problem.”
Parents, do you want a better idea of what your kids are doing on social media? What about the comments on your daughter’s Instagram photos? Or, iMessage activity on your son’s iPhone? Then, look no further than Bark. You can start a 7-day free trial today.
*Note – links in this post might connect to affiliates who we know and trust. We might earn a small commission if you decide to purchase their services. This costs you nothing! We only recommend what we’ve tested on our own families. Enjoy!
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.
Psychologists at California State University, Northridge, studied 234 professional performers, looking for a reason why mental health disorders are so common in the performing arts.
“The notion that artists and performing artists suffered more pathology, including bipolar disorder, troubled us,” dance coordinator and psychologist Paula Thomson, a co-author on the new study, told Psypost.
“No one seemed willing to also include the effects of early childhood adversity and adult trauma and its influence on creativity and psychopathology.”
The study examined 83 actors, directors, and designers; 129 dancers; and 20 musicians and opera singers. These study participants filled out self-report surveys pertaining to childhood adversity, sense of shame, creative experiences, proneness to fantasies, anxiety, and level of engagement in an activity.
The participants were able to be categorised into three groups: those who reported a high level of childhood adversity; those who had experienced a lower or medium level; and those who had experienced little to none.null
It’s the high-level group that demonstrated the greater extremes. These performing artists had much higher anxiety, much more internalised shame, and reported more cumulative past traumatic events. They were also more prone to fantasies.
But they also seemed more connected with the creative process, the researchers said. They were more aware of it, and reported feeling more absorbed in it. They reported heightened awareness of a state of inspiration and a sense of discovery during the process.
They were also able to move more easily between the state of absorption and a more distant state for critical awareness, and were more receptive to art.
“Lastly,” the researchers wrote, “[this] group identified greater appreciation for the transformational quality of creativity, in particular, how the creative process enabled a deeper engagement with the self and world. They recognised that it operated as a powerful force in their life.”
Obviously the study has caveats, as self-reported studies can be prone to personal bias. Also, since it was limited to performing artists, comparisons couldn’t easily be made with other subsets of the population.
Nevertheless, the finding, the researchers said, may indicate that adult performers who have experienced childhood adversity are better able to recognise and value the creative process; and the ability of that group to enjoy the creative process could indicate resilience.
“We are saddened by the number of participants in our study who have suffered multiple forms of childhood adversity as well as adult assaults (both sexual and non-sexual),” Thomson told Psypost.
“So many participants in our sample have experienced poly-traumatization and yet they also embrace their passion for performance and creativity. They are embracing ways to express all that is human.”