By Diana Rocco
WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) – Eyewitness News found sexually explicit images on Instagram, the popular photo sharing App used by millions everyday.
One local mom was shocked to find how easy it is to find the graphic pictures, and reached out to us so we could warn other parents. There are thousands and thousands of these images being uploaded daily and they are enough to make your jaw drop.
“Very graphic. Crash the site. Bring it down,” said one mom after Eyewitness News showed her the pictures.
“That’s just disturbing,” said another woman.
Their outrage is shared with a concerned Delaware mother after she saw what her 12-year-old daughter had access to simply by owning an iPhone.
“They are walking around with these little cell phones full of pornography. In between a 12-year-old girl in a bathing suit and a 14-year old-girl in a bathing suit is somebody’s penis,” said the woman who did not want to be identified to protect her daughter from ridicule at school.
But it’s not just smartphones. Instagram is a free App that can be downloaded onto computers, laptops and iPods. The pictures are easy to find when you search terms like “instababes,” “instahorny,” or even “instaporn.”
“What it is is hard core porn. I should just send my kid to a school with a hustler magazine and she’d be safer.” The mom says some of these pictures even come from the kids themselves. She showed us photos of girls posting sexually suggestive photos and claimed they were only 12 and 14 years old.
“It’s inappropriate, it’s wrong,” says Principal Richard Hart from St. John the Beloved School in Wilmington. He became concerned by what he’s seen on Instagram and what kids are sharing. He says for the first time this year the school has had to address it’s dangers with children and their parents after students created an in school hashtag adults didn’t know about.
“Some of our children were putting information out that they should not put out, from their cell phone numbers to their names and as soon as we heard that we had to back up and talk to the children in some really strong terms,” Hart said.
“We have had cases of individuals trying to contact children outside of these social networking sites to obtain additional contact with them and engage in conversations with them or potentially try to meet them,” says Special Agent John Brosnan.
Brosnan says adults use these sites to entice children, which is criminal. The FBI says it’s up to services like Instagram to monitor the activity and notify authorities if they believe a crime has taken place. But even if there is no crime, this mom wonders why sexually explicit photos are there at all.
“I really don’t think that parents understand what our kids are able to access on that website.”
On its website, Instagram’s basic terms state you may not post nude or sexually suggestive photos, and that you must be 13 years or older. There is no way to confirm a users age, and at 5 million a week, there are more photos being uploaded than can be monitored by the site.
We have made repeated attempts to contact Instagram but have not heard back.