Can I have your undivided attention for 8 minutes?
‘Deepfake’ AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology is a powerful technology and it’s on the rise. Rather than trying to explain the technology, click play on the video below. This technology enables one to superimpose actor Tom Cruise’s face onto comedian, Bill Hader’s body. It is downright creepy.
Having viewed the video above, imagine the face of your child superimposed on to someone else’s body using AI technology. The scenes are made against their will and beyond your knowledge for the benefit of those who exploit and harm children. DeepFake AI technology can be used to create images and videos by those who wish to bully, blackmail, exploit, entrap, or groom our children. This is the worst kind of identity theft.
Artificial Intelligence commonly referred to as ‘AI’ is quickly transforming from a sci-fi fantasy into a current reality. It will impact every human-being on the planet. AI is a powerful technological tool. Will it be for good or evil, for benefit or detriment? We don’t know yet. However, law enforcement is concerned, the Federal Government is concerned, nonprofits and NGOs are concerned. Should parents be concerned? The answer is ‘yes!’
As many of you know, I advocate for internet safety and vigilance when dealing with these new forms of technology. In particular, understanding how our children (minors) interface with smartphones, internet capable devices and social media is vital. In addition, we must understand and address their vulnerabilities and our responsibilities on an ongoing basis. We must understand threats and risks of offering this powerful communication portal into their lives to early for the wrong reasons. These technologies are changing us as humans. But, that discussion is for another time.
My family practices internet safety by limiting where my wife and I post photos of our children on Social Media. We ask the same of the rest of our family. In doing so, we raise awareness of the risks in our community.
Having served for 3 years on the leadership team of the 5 Stones Anti-Trafficking Taskforce under the Ft. Worth Police Department, I am well versed in the child exploitation and trafficking space. Smartphones, unlimited internet access and Social Media platforms can be a risky if not deadly for our children. If this frightens you, it should. I’ve seen dozens of cases where children are being exploited online by bullies and pimps. The children come from every demographic, ethnicity, socioeconomic sphere, all ages and every neighborhood. Exploitation is not limited by borders or wealth (see Jeffery Epstein or visit your local law enforcement officer). We know the risks of sharing data and photos online. We know the risks of devices in the hands of children. Heck, I have a hard time putting down my smartphone.
We need a paradigm shift in our thinking. Parents must lock arms and unite against technology’s ability to allure our children (and us).
Imagine posting a public photo of your child the same way you see an advertisement on a public billboard. You are putting your prize possession on display for the world to see. With the current advances in AI technology (DeepFake), someone you don’t even know can transform an innocent image of YOUR child into a degrading and disgusting pornographic film by superimposing your child’s face onto a video image. By the time you discover the exploitation, its too late. Thousands of perverts, traffickers, sex-buyers and criminals will have viewed the video. Videos spread on the dark web and in private chat rooms where they are bought and sold. There is nothing you can do except prepare to deal with your child’s lifelong trauma.
Imagine your child on an auction block to be sold. In short, this is happening on the dark web and social media sites. But, you can mitigate the risks. You are the solution. You can be a hero for your child. It will require GRIT and discipline on your part as you talk with your children and partner with them as they grow older and demonstrate responsibility. Encourage them to lead in the family and school.
Solutions: Be Vigilant not afraid
- Be aware of what you post online.
- Be careful to post using proper privacy settings when using Social Media.
- Use internet filters and monitors on your child’s devices for school and home use
- Consider delaying giving your child a personal smartphone until 16-17yrs old (depending on their maturity and responsibility).
- Here are other devices that can be used for safety until they reach age of responsibility
- Older Kids: The child pays for the phone (responsibility), the parents control the data plan (accountability).
- Never allow a minor child to be on the internet alone, at night in their rooms.
- Know the access code to your child’s devices and perform random searches with their full knowledge. Talk about it.
- Talk to them about the dangers of exploitations.
- I-Empathize curriculum for 12 and over: www.iempathize.org
- Model healthy interactions and teach them the warning signs of online grooming and exploitation
- Gather like-minded community to get trained in online safety: Local Law Enforcement and DHS often have trainings
- This is what our community did to start the conversation: www.traffickingstartshere.com
- Learn how pornography affects the brain, the heart and world: www.fightthenewdrug.org
- Need further help – feel free to contact me or comment below
- [RESEARCH STUDY] Thorn Report – The Role of Technology in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
TECHNOLOGY AND AI NEWS:
- [ARTICLE] Forbes – Chinese Deepfake App Zao Goes Viral, Faces Immediate Criticism Over User Data And Security Policy