LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Despite the weather, many in central Arkansas will spend at least parts of their weekend by the pool or maybe the lake. If you're one of those people then this alert is for you.
The Attorney General is warning parents against posting pictures of your kids in their bathing suits on social media.
At this time of the year, parents share seemingly harmless photos of their kids by the pool or at the beach. But according to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, what they may not know is there are people online who actually seek out those photos for their own disgusting purposes, or trade and sell them for even more explicit photos.
"More and more predators are essentially harvesting photographs from Facebook and other means of social media taking innocent pictures of children that show a lot of skin, perhaps in bathing suits and sharing those with other online predators. And either trading them or using them for their own purposes,” AG Leslie Rutledge said.
On May 10, Sherwood Pastor David Reynolds was arrested for 70 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.
According to the arrest affidavit, Reynolds accessed Twitter handles and shared with others online where child pornography was shared.
"Parents, be warned, when you are posting pictures online, make sure that your privacy settings are strong,” the Attorney General added.
And it's not just parents.
In the Reynolds affidavit, one of those photos, the document says, was of local teenage girls in their bathing suits.
One of the girls, a member of the pastor's church and Reynold's friend on Instagram.
While photos in bathing suits are not considered child porn, the AG says they can be used to barter with others online.
"Be sure to only send those to family and friends, lock down your privacy settings. There are bad actors on the internet taking advantage of your children. We want parents to keep their children safe."
And sometimes those privacy settings don't do enough.
According to the Reynolds affidavit, the pastor visited a search engine called ‘Photosugar’ that allows users to search for photos on Twitter or Instagram.
"They can go on to your Facebook page and take down those photos without you even knowing it.”
The Attorney General had some other things to consider:
-Think twice about posting pictures of children online, especially photos that show a lot of skin
-Consider purchasing cell phone monitoring services on your child's mobile devices
-Children and adults should use the strictest settings are available to prevent unwanted people from seeing your photos
-Monitor social media posts from friends to be sure they're not posting pictures of your kids that could end up in the hands of a child predator
-Be careful with hashtags. Using hashtags in your photos makes them spread across the internet even faster. Those predators, the AG's Office says, know which hashtags to look for.
Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline, (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. To report child abuse, call the Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline, (800) 482-5964, or, in the event of an emergency, dial 911 or a local law enforcement agency.