Instagram Becoming Ground Zero For “Baby Role Play”

Instagram, home to millions of images of food and children, is apparently home to a new kind of image fun – “baby role play“.

It seems certain kinds of people enjoy “adopting” other peoples’ kids and creating fantasy stories. According to  Marco Chown Oved:

In conversations in the comments under each photo, the adopter can describe normal situations like playing with or feeding the baby, but sometimes the fantasies veer into sexual games…Even a cursory search brings up dozens of baby role plays on Instagram, many which describe sex in front of or with babies.

Stealing photos is not a new thing online, as shown by the story two weeks ago that revealed a woman using another woman’s son for her fake cancer blog. The Instagram role playing has apparently been on the mommysphere’s radar for a few months but continues to happen. This has prompted a petition directed at Instagram hoping to stop this activity:

Parents are having pictures they post stolen from their accounts and online. The pictures are being posted by other accounts for role playing purposes. Some of the role playing is harmless, but some of it includes violence and sex acts with the child.

With these kinds of stories happening more and more often it’s a wonder that any parent would post publicly available photos of their child anywhere.

  1. avatar Wait...What???

    That’s it. I’m moving off planet.

  2. avatar Fuck Toad

    Whenever my friends post dozens of variations of the same picture of their kid, I think: No one wants to see pictures of your fucking kid. I guess I was wrong!

  3. avatar JuliasTooSmallTutu

    Right now I’m concerned with the misuse of ‘there’ instead of ‘their’.

    • avatar Meg Murry

      I’m with you on that. I’m trying not to twitch.

    • avatar Zesty

      I totally noticed that too – almost first thing. I am also feeling twitchy about it.

  4. avatar Expat A.Broad

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

    If this isn’t the last straw for all the nutty, narcissistic mommybloggers who continue to post hundreds of photos of their children in different outfits/positions/states of undress… onto sites like IG for public consumption, then…

    Oh never mind, they will never learn.

    • avatar bunniesetc

      it’s not their fault for expecting people not to be fucking perverts. that shouldn’t really be an expectation when putting pictures of your kid playing on social media. seriously.

      • avatar AllyOOp

        the parents didn’t do anything wrong. Disturbing as this is (and fuck all, it’s disturbing), sharing photos of your kids isn’t wrong. It’s annoying, it may very well be narcissistic and nutty, but it’s not endangerment or cruelty or anything that should be condemned for those reasons. It’s just not.

        • avatar Expat A.Broad

          Except when it is. There are lots and lots of sites like this one and even more that we don’t know about, so I would argue that posting public photos of your kids online DOES put them in a position to be used in ways you never intended.

          I can name hundreds of mommybloggers who do it EVERY day.

        • avatar Smooshed Macaroons

          I would argue that there is a distinct difference between sharing pictures of your kids (ie: showing your family your kid) versus what mommy bloggers do, which is make money off their kids – most of whom do not consent to that. They are treated like status symbols, used to show the world (and advertisers) how awesome a mommy blogger’s life is.

          And, even though there is a difference: good intentions does not absolve you of responsibility for the negative consequences that result from your actions. If I put my wallet down on the bench next to me, and just assume people won’t be assholes and steal it and it gets stolen anyways: I’m still a moron for putting it down on the bench next to me!

          The ONLY victims in this whole thing are the kids – victims of both the people who post these sick RP games, and the parents who use them to make money.

          • avatar keerelee

            Here’s the thing that upsets me. These kids generally aren’t old enough to understand what it means to be splashed across an oversharing mommyblog with 50k hits a day. These self-obsessed fuckwits aren’t legally required to ask their toddler permission to make money and seek fame at their expense. But morally… I imagine we’ll see a few internet-famous babies turn into some seriously messed up teens.

  5. avatar Wildcard, Bitches! (aka Jinxy)

    This is disgusting and should be a wake up call to everyone. It doesn’t matter how popular you are, if your shit isn’t on lock-down anyone can read it.
    I do think that this petition is kind of a waste of time though. I think that a more effective petition would ask for the ip address of the account holder to be banned from IG. Or have the default settings on instagram automatically be set to private. I think there are a lot of naive people out there who just don’t know that random strangers can look at their images.

    • avatar UsedInternetSwimsuit

      It’s really hard to block people. IP can be faked, so that method isn’t fool-proof. I’ve seen this happen to parents and it scares me to pieces. Wtf is wrong with some people?

  6. avatar CantCantCant

    I still don’t get it. And, every time I think I get it, I think, “Wait, no, that can’t be what people are doing, because that’s weird and doesn’t sound like any fun, even for perverts.”

    I just don’t get it.

    • I don’t get it either. I guess there are all kinds of weirdos in the world.

      • avatar CantCantCant

        I just spent a few more minutes here trying to figure it out WTF these people are doing.

        And, I just… I just can’t. These are the people we have to share this planet with? Really?

        • avatar carriefadshaw

          I’m reading the comments on that site and I am even more confused. They all read like they’ve been written by ten-year-olds. Do I even want to know what “reborns” are?

          I get sick of people’s kid pictures easily but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

          • avatar Rowena T.

            Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking after looking at a few links–that the ones who do the “harmless” role-playing are primarily weirdly baby-obsessed adolescent girls. It’s like playing with dolls, except . . . they’re pictures . . . and it’s comments rather than actual . . . playing. Hell, I don’t know.

          • avatar snarltooth

            If you don’t know about reborns, you HAVE to watch this. It’s amazing and creepy (not sexually creepy).

            • avatar carriefadshaw

              I am so grateful to you for sharing this but I am also irreversibly scarred.

            • avatar Zesty

              Whhhhyyyyyyy did I watch this?

            • avatar Rachel

              It reminds me of a documentary my husband & I watched about life-sized female dolls & the men who love them…When it was over, we were really creeped out but felt very sad for the men who were featured.

        • avatar Brianna

          This is the WORSE ROLE PLAYING EVER.


          • avatar Brianna

            THE WORST.


          • avatar Mockingbird


            Seriously, though. Word. What happened to Dungeons & Dragons?

    • avatar Rowena T.

      Yeah, I find this incomprehensible. I feel like I have a whole bunch of questions, but I also feel like I can barely articulate them.

      Ok, one question: Leaving aside the disgusting sexual role-playing (since apparently these “adoption centers” don’t condone that?), this baby picture role-playing/”adopting” thing apparently involves “describing normal situations like playing with or feeding” some stranger’s baby in the comments under a photo. So, um . . . what?

    • avatar Archangelina_Jolie



  7. avatar ingenuous wench

    Welp, now that I’ve deleted all the pictures of my kid from twitter, it’s time to go vomit for a few hours. The fuck is wrong with people?

  8. avatar RUFF

    What the actual fuck.

  9. avatar Hug Wolf

    I just don’t understand!

  10. avatar cramps

    Don’t put photos of your kids online.
    Problem solved.

    • avatar AQNR

      That’s certainly one solution, but I prefer the solution where people stop being such creepy goddamned fucks.

      I’m a dreamer, I know.

    • avatar Wait...What???

      See….here is another thought. I’m in MN with my husband and youngest…her husband, and their baby. Oldest daughter, her husband, and the new granddaughter are in Toronto. My niece, her husband, and their two boys are in Alaska. We rely on fb, Instagram, and tumblr for updates.

      • avatar hockeygirl

        I know. I’m in Switzerland, my brother and his family in the US midwest; I wouldn’t want to do without fb. I keep it locked down pretty tight and whenever I see things like this I go and double check my privacy settings. Still, I’m starting to wonder if sending them a link to a password protected dropbox photo account isn’t the way to go for sharing pictures of the kids.

        Every time I think I’ve come to terms with how creepy some people can be, somebody ups the creep ante on me.

        • avatar cursincatlady

          That’s what we have switched to with my inlaws-Dropbox. It works pretty well as long as we don’t run out of room!

      • avatar WeeWillyWinkie

        Can’t you guys email each other pictures, or Skype?

      • avatar Toppin's Galore

        There is always email, which is more private than Instagram or tumblr (unless you can lock those with a password-only invite).

        • You can set your instagram posts to private so that you have to approve any followers. I think this prevents people who aren’t your approved followers from seeing your photos?

      • avatar New Colorways!

        Exactly. Same here, with different cities. So we have a private family blog on Blogger. Only the log-ins accepted (our family members) can get on the site.

        Maybe start a private blog so that you can keep in touch and exchange photos. There is lots of lovely comments and personal essays, too.

    • avatar Toppin's Galore

      Seriously. I don’t know why people do this. I use an online photo processing site for my pictures, and I email pictures to my relatives who live far away, but a password is required to access my account. I can’t imagine publicly posting photos for any perv or weirdo to access.

  11. avatar Pineapple Head

    Sometimes I want to punch the internet in it’s throat repeatedly forever.

    • Good morning. GOMI has even given me a ‘wtf???’ headache this week. And it’s only Thursday. And I posted all this shit and I just…yeah wtf internets. I need some coffee.

      • avatar Pineapple Head

        Yep Just came back to read comments and my thoughts were “I just cannot without a giant mug of coffee.” Although without it the gears in my brain are much to slow to truly comprehend.
        I want to go back to my childhood when the biggest threat was lcd laced tattoos and a guy that drove a white van.

      • avatar maude lebowski

        GOMI has made me so much more aware of the serious side of blogging and the internet. So thank you for that! And thanks to all you hams whose commentary take the sting out of all the wtf moments!

      • avatar ImNotHealthy

        New domain name purchase for you……

    • avatar nosebleed

      i want this on a cross stitch hanging above my desk.

  12. avatar babycham

    I have an extremely small-scale mommy blog … it’s on tumblr (I know) and I follow a handful of other mothers who are funny and laid-back, and I like hanging out with them. Because I’m so incredibly low-stakes and minor, it feels like an intimate atmosphere, but I need to constantly remind myself that it’s really not.

    This isn’t nearly as bad as the stories above, but when I posted an ultrasound photo of my fetus on the blog, some Harry Potter role-players reblogged it and were having a long back and forth about how beautiful their baby was (his name was Jude, I think — not his real name). It was completely harmless and I got the impression they were teenagers, and it was hilarious to see my blurry ultrasound fetus discussed as some gorgeous wizard spawn, but, uh, it also made me feel skeeved out and territorial.

    Ever since then I’ve been more careful. I never, ever tag my photos (with #baby or whatever). And I use reverse image searches sometimes to make sure nothing too weird is happening, and I’ve never found my baby’s photos used elsewhere. But I often wonder if I’m doing something creepy by posting him online and wonder if, even if feels safe and normal and fun because I just follow like twenty other moms, maybe I should … back off.

    • avatar StaceyMcGill

      Same. Now I will have to try this fancypants Nancy Drew crap you speak of.

    • avatar AllyOOp

      You’re not doing anything creepy. It’s not creepy to share pics of your kid. What I hate about shit like this is that it makes otherwise rational people clutch their pearls and start acting like paranoid victims who are SO paranoid, they label themselves as perpetrators.

      People who sexually role play with kid photos are heinous and probably into a lot more disgusting shit IRL. It’s unbearable to think about THAT part of it, that the stuff they SAY is sometimes actually DONE, and so decent people revert to what little control they think they might have over the situation: their own behavior.

      But that’s irrational and takes too much blame off the real perpetrators.

    • avatar TurkeyVulture

      Dibs on “gorgeous wizard spawn” as a new forum name.

  13. avatar Willblogforfood



    • avatar Hater Face

      Watched the whole gif and laughed!

      But yeah..


    • avatar Archangelina_Jolie

      Every time I see this gif I feel like it has sound. It doesn’t, but I swear I can hear him. EVERY TIME.

    • avatar croissants

      That is one of my favorite Office scenes ever. It makes me laugh every time.

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