MADISONVILLE, Ky. (7/17/13) – With the change in today’s technology, we are finding that our youth are getting so caught up in it that they are not realizing the dangers that can be encountered if they aren’t using it properly. Lt. Robert Carter with the Madisonville Police Department (MPD) spoke at the Lions Club weekly meeting on Wednesday, emphasizing the potential dangers.
“We have a generation that is lost. We have a generation that is in trouble and without us coming together, I am fearful what the repercussions might be,” expressed Lt. Carter. “If you have a young person you are responsible for, it is critical that you talk to them now about technology… specifically phone technology. Our young people are falling victim by numbers we can’t count daily.”
Smartphones contain EXIF DATA, which is short for Exchangeable Image File. This format is standard for storing interchanged information in a digital photography image files by using JPEG compression. It stores information that can identify the date, time, what type of device and location of an image.
Smartphones also have a built-in GPS and when your child takes a photo of themselves, it automatically stores the GPS coordinates inside the image file which is known as an EXIF tag.
“Our 10-15 year old children are taking nude pictures of themselves on a regular and sending them to other people… which half the photos that are taken are snapped in the bathroom either before or after bathing incident and they are not good... not good at all… and this is putting our young people at risk,” stated Carter. “And what is happening is they are doing this under the roofs of their parents and grandparents… because they find a sense of safety.”
When using social media’s such as Facebook, Instagram and MySpace, the images that are taken and posted that contain the EXIF Data can easily be tracked giving a predator the opportunity to strike our young. A predator can right click on the image and copy and paste the data and zero right in on where the photo was taken.
“This is a problem. There are a group of individuals we just learned about that hack different types of devices and hack different type of websites to steal these photos and, when doing it, they look for the innocent ones first… our children,” continued Carter. “Then they look for direct comparisons to find out if there are other images out there that are less than desirable.”
According to Lt. Carter, if we were to survey 10 high school students, 7 out of 10 of those students have either sent or received nude photos.
“These are our kids… I talk to parents… we find these pictures… we can’t make this stuff up and this is just the photo side of it. I can tell you in the last three months that these type of cases that have been developed here in Hopkins County that we have dealt with at the MPD has been about 14 separate individuals and the disturbing part is we found them, they didn’t find us. There is a need for us to get this information out there,” expressed Carter. “We are going around to every school, civic club, churches, and every organization to get this information out.
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