Baby role-play and digital kidnapping on social media – more reasons to stop sharing your kids online

I’ve heard about baby role-play on social media a few times over the last month or so. But I was surprised when I Googled ‘Baby…


I’ve heard about baby role-play on social media a few times over the last month or so. But I was surprised when I Googled ‘Baby role-play on social media’ and discovered articles about it from as far back as 2014.

So it seems that baby role-play has been around for a while – why am I only just learning about it now? It’s something we should all be aware of.

Trigger warning – this post discusses sexual abuse of minors, if this makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading now.

baby role play

What is baby role-play/digital kidnapping?

Baby role-play is when someone steals photos of a baby or child from social media, and then creates a new social media account where they pretend the child is theirs, or act as the child. They give the baby a new name and personality. Baby role-play is also known as digital kidnapping. It can happen to individual babies and children, or whole families. It’s common for these accounts to pick parents and children. These are sometimes the same families in real life, but can also be from separate accounts. These often use hashtags such as #adoptionrp, #orphanrp, and #babyrp. Digital kidnapping my also be known as social media kidnapping.

These accounts are often private and anonymous, but behind the privacy wall, the fantasy comes to life with people playing along in the comments. These accounts invite others to engage in storylines in the comments about the babies and children in the photos. Usually, one user will take on the role of the ‘mother’ while the account pretends to be the baby – usually posting with poor grammar, spelling and babble to mimic a baby.

There are even adoption accounts where people offer up babies, children and profiles to adopt.

I’m not blocking out any names because they’re public accounts.

Why is baby role-play dangerous?

On the surface, baby role-play may seem like some innocent teenagers (often from broken homes, experts believe) who are fantasising about a family, or women who are dreaming of having their own babies. But what is so dangerous about baby-role play?

Aside from the fact that these people are stealing photos of children and posting them online, there are also some accounts that play out sexual abuse and violent storylines. This seems fetish-like and it does make you question – who is behind these accounts. How many of them are paedophiles and have molested children in real life? How many predators are masturbating during roleplay? I know that’s awful to read, but it’s important to consider because these accounts feel dangerously close to child porn and is often known as baby role play porn or child role play porn. Sometimes it even moves into kidnapping roleplay territory.

Discussions of nudity (the baby being ‘nakey’) and breastfeeding are common among these accounts.

There have been some accounts (now deleted, thankfully) that state in the bio that they ‘do rape and abusive roleplay’ – warning others to unfollow if they don’t like that type of content. But I am sure new accounts pop up once deleted.

Even if these accounts not sharing abuse storylines, they an emotional investment in a child or family that can turn into a parasocial relationship. If you put your family and child online and tag the places you go on a regular basis, then this could result in real-life danger.

Read this story about a blogger, Meredith, who used to post pictures of her family online. That was until she visited a restaurant a friend worked at. Minutes after she posted about it and tagged the restaurant, another account that had digitally kidnapped her family posted the photo and also tagged them. Her friend called her to ask if she had seen the account and it uncovered a profile that had stolen photos of her family and given them new names and identities, as part of digital role-play. She says you will never see her children’s faces on the internet again.

How would you feel if someone was fantasising about owning your baby?

dangers of children online

How do we stop baby-play?

The best way to stop baby role-play is to stop posting images of your children online. I have written a whole post about why I’ve stopped sharing pictures about details about my son online.

There are many reasons that you shouldn’t post your child online, such as they can’t give informed consent, it violates their privacy and more. This is just another reason to respect their privacy.

I know many parents will continue to share photos of their children, despite these risks. If you still want to share photos of your child online, I urge you to read the blog post I linked above. If you still decide you want to share photos and details of your child online, consider the following:

How to safely share photos of your child online

  1. Don’t make a social media account only about your child. I see so many of these, where the accounts are named after a child and they follow every detail of their life.
  2. Don’t post any photos of your child in their underwear or a swimsuit.
  3. No bathing photos.
  4. Don’t post photos that have their stomach showing and a lot of skin.
  5. Don’t post photos of children with their mouths open.
  6. Don’t post photos of children in a suggestive position, even if it’s funny/cute.
  7. Make use of the ‘close friends’ feature on Instagram
  8. Private your account and only accept follow requests from people you know.
  9. If you come across any fake profiles – report them immediately.

Does Instagram and TikTok remove these accounts?

Apparently, they will remove these accounts if they have been reported by the parents or guardians – but we all know that it’s sometimes very difficult to get an account deleted and some parents have had issues. Then once they are shut down, it’s easy to open an account and start again as the photos are already downloaded onto devices.

Instagram does seem to be doing a better job than Tiktok. Many accounts have been removed from Instagram, and some hashtags have been blocked. But they still exist on TikTok. And we all know TikTok is trash. Posts on TikTok here tend to advertise for roles to be played over on Berry Avenue Role Play through Roblox.

It feels like this type of role play may be shifting away from social media, to virtual universes like Roblox. I found one TikTok account with 14k followers and lots of videos and pictures of babies to adopt, including a naked baby breastfeeding from their naked mother. They have been actively posting only a few days ago.

Baby Role Playing & Mummy Blogger Culture

Mummy blogger culture normalises taking photos of everything your child does. On Instagram, there are thousands and thousands of accounts that document a child’s life and share intimate details with the world. I do believe there is a difference between occasionally showing your child on your social media vs making the account all about your kids. Although, as parents, we might be willing to take the risk – our children do not have any choice.

We can’t control what people do with the content we put online, but we can control WHAT we put online.

The deeper I dive into the dangers of sharing children online, the more I am convinced that I don’t want to put my son’s face on the internet anymore. I would be sickened if someone was doing digital role-play with my child.

There are other topics I’m dying to talk about regarding how dangerous oversharing on social media can be, including using voice and image AI and fetish farming. Although the internet can be brilliant, it can also be used for predatory behaviour. With technology, those that abuse it will always be one step ahead and manipulate technology to use it for predatory reasons (as well as scams) before the average person is clued-up enough to protect themselves.

As a blogger, I am passionate about using my platform to spread awareness about these types of dangers. I’d appreciate if you could share this article with your friends if they post their children online. I do not wish to shame anyone who does put their child online – but they need to know the risks and take precautions to be as safe as possible.

Have you ever heard of baby roleplay and baby kidnapping? Did you realise baby roleplay porn and kidnapping role play existed? Digital roleplay is disturbing and we all need to protect our children from being targeted.

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  1. I consider myself fairly well educated about online security and safety and while I had heard about baby photos being taken and shared under false pretenses, I had no idea it went as deep as this. This is very concerning and I hope all parents become aware of this — this post will help with that. Thank you so much for writing about this and raising your voice in this way.

  2. It makes me so angry that there are people out there who would steal someone else’s child’s photos and use them to create a social media account and pretend the child is theirs. This is such a concerning and worrying topic for parents but it’s important to raise awareness of it and educate parents about the risks of sharing their child’s photos online x

    Lucy |

  3. I understand that some couples are proud of having cute babies/kids. They shared their kids’ photos on socmeds and even created a socmed account for them. But to me, it is not good. You don’t know who is looking at your kids’ photos. So be careful.

  4. Okay this is terrifying and SO gross. I didn’t know about any of this so this was really informative and definitely will make me think if/when I have kids as to whether I’ll be posting them online. There’s always a limit but there are definitely some accounts that share FAR too much about their kids I think and you just don’t know what dangers you’re putting them under.

  5. Oh god, this is horrible isn’t it. So worrying. I’m SO careful what I post nowadays about the kids. I was talking to my friend about this during the week and she had no clue, which I suppose a lot of people don’t irl. I saw an influencer complaining about people pasting photos of their son into threads (about themselves not the son) on tattle and my first thought was it’s not the gossipers you want to be worried about, it’s the more sinister stuff that’s happening online. It’s so sad that we’ve got to protect our kids so much in the digital age. X

  6. I wholeheartedly stand by everything you said, we refuse to share images of Lukas which show his face as you just don’t know how these images are being used, as he gets older it’ll be more his choice, but whilst he’s underage we definitely won’t be showing him.

  7. This is so weird! I’ve never heard of it, but the more I read the happier I am we don’t share too much of Bobby online!
    Amy x

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