JACKONVILLE, FL (FCN) – Before you post another picture of your child online, a warning for you. An innocent photo could be used in a way you have probably never imagined.
Tristan Jade Kaminer, now almost two years old, was born with a rare condition that took months to diagnosis.
"When she swallows it doesn't go down the esophagus, it goes down the airway," explained her mother, Tasha Kaminer.
In hopes of raising awareness and money for her medical bills, her parents created a Facebook page and started an online fundraiser.
"Something that was supposed to be so innocent as a support page for her and to bring awareness to other people who might come across this with their child, someone has made it into something it should have never been," Caleb Kaminer. "There's an innocence of putting a child's photo on a website asking for prayers and someone taking it and using it for their own creepy weird fetishes and fantasies."
Dad, Caleb Kaminer, who lives in Oklahoma City with his family was shocked when First Coast News called to tell him what we had uncovered. His daughter's picture posted on a Jacksonville Role Playing Facebook Page where strangers play out a fantasy. The creator of the page is anonymous, but in the about section writes "sexual stuff allowed".
"I could barely even think. I just could not even believe it," said Caleb. "It's creepy, inappropriate. No grown adult should be acting like that".
Never heard of it such a thing? Neither had he. Clinical Psychologist Justin D'Arienzo explains.
"What this is, is people playing a fantasy game on the Internet and they are impersonating as if they are babies or children or they are creating a family and communicating to other Facebook and Instagram users about their family and kind of creating these dual lives that don't exist," D'Arienzo said.
"They are taking on persona of the child they do not know and they're reliving their life through a child and it's perverted and it's weird," said Caleb.
It's called baby-role playing and a quick search on Instagram turns up more than 20,000 posts when you search '#babyrp'. Some appear harmless, others sexually explicit. Many of the photos were stolen off the Internet from parents like Caleb who had no idea. A petition on Change.org was created to try to put an end to the Internet trend.
"As a psychologist when I first look at it I certainly find it creepy. It gives me the heebie-geebies. Then when I do a little research and give it some context and think about video game playing and realize simulation games are the number one selling game, most popular type of gaming then it makes sense people are trying to make simulations more and more real," said D'Arienzo.
Caleb quickly discovered getting a photo removed from social media is much harder than uploading one. After he contacted Facebook and asked all of Tristan Jade's supporters to report the page for inappropriate content the page was removed, along with all the photos of other children posted there.
"It was like a slap in the face to have someone take that and use that inappropriately for their own sick playtime," said Caleb.
Before the page was shutdown First Coast News reached out to the creator to get a comment, but our post was not answered.
To protect your pictures double check your privacy settings, only accept friend requests from people you trust and experts say assume if it's on the Internet, it's out there.
We reached out to Facebook and Instagram and they did not respond to our questions about allowing baby role playing but did tell us how you can request for a photo posted without your consent to be removed. To find out CLICK HERE.
Facebook lists the following on its website:
"Facebook provides people with ways to report photos and videos that they believe to be in violation of their privacy rights. We'll remove photos and videos that you report as unauthorized if this is required by relevant privacy laws in your country, as long as the reported content involves you, your child (under 13) or another person for whom you are the legal representative or guardian. Photos or videos involving anyone else will need to be reported by the individual themselves."