Stolen Baby Photos
This may fall under the most unnerving things I’ve read today:
“The practice of ‘baby role-playing.’ Participants generally hijack new parents’ photos and use them on Instagram to enact fantasies about adoption and basic childcare tasks—though sometimes it gets much, much darker.”
So it’s a role-playing game. Except with photos of actual humans who did not consent to become part of this game. As in, baby humans. Like maybe your baby human.
And while the article points out that the majority of “players” in the games tend to be teenage girls, I’m willing to make a little wager that the assumption in some people’s minds is that this is an outlet for infertile women*. You know, the same infertile women that people assume want to steal their child.
So just to break this down for you:
- You post pictures of your baby online. So cute!
- Someone saves a copy of that picture of your baby to their hard drive. Oh.
- Someone uploads that picture to their Instagram feed for a fantasy role playing game. Really?
- Other people join in and “adopt” your child so they can play a role playing game staring your child. Crap.
- Sometimes they’re just feeding and burping your kid. Why?
- Other times, they’re pretending they’re abusing or killing your kid. What?
- And this has been going on for a while.
Fast Company has a longer article** on the phenomenon.
It’s not shocking in the sense that we all know that anything we upload on the Internet — even for just an hour before taking it down — has the potential to be taken by another person. What is shocking is that there are probably people I walk past on a daily basis — people who look as normal as pie, walking around the food store, checking out library books, sitting next to me at a restaurant — who do this. They steal someone else’s photos and make a game out of it.
I don’t know why humans continuously shock me. But they do.
* Though it is an infertile woman who finally gave birth to triplets who had her images stolen and uploaded to Instagram in the Fast Company article. The images were taken from her infertily-turned-pregnancy-turned-parenting blog.
** Word of advice, don’t read the comments.