Today my guest blogger is Anindita Mishra of Cybermum

Like any other parent, Anindita wants to make sure that her children are safe wherever they go, in the real or virtual world.

Here is an interesting and thought provoking article about morphed photographs which my kids like to experiment with too.

“How many of us give a second thought to how the pics we so happily post on our social networking sites could be misused? Today’s Internet-savvy youth rampantly put up all possible pics of self and friends or families to declare to the world all that has been happening in their lives. Unfortunately, these very same pics can become the source of humiliation and/or blackmail for some.

When my son attended animation classes, he used to experiment with different tools to seamlessly change one image into another. He showed me how people morphed photographs for fun. Look at the pics below to get an idea. It’s fun to play around with pics, using a freely downloadable morphing tool, and earn some kudos for your fun pics.

Then you can get a bit more adventurous and start using the photos of real people to experiment with. Take the case of the following pic. Termed as the ‘Seven Wonders of India’, it has morphed the faces of famous personalities onto the bodies of some rural kids. Funny!

But what if the joke is on you? What if someone played a prank on you and used one of your pics, and morphed it onto say, a parrot (to indicate you are a copycat or a rote learner) or a donkey (you know what THAT means). It would certainly NOT be funny then, would it?

Things can get murkier. Like this story that I came across where a person was shocked to find a You-Tube video titled, ”The Sexy Girls and Hot Hunks of Pakistan,” composed of pictures he had taken of his college pals, including girls, while on a trip to the beach!

Or take the recent case of John Bernard Campbell who phished the accounts of 19 different girls and posted their own nude pics as their profile pics. OK, this was perverted and the man deserved the punishment meted out, but was it necessary for the girls to post their nude pics on FaceBook?

In India, the camera phones are turning out to be real pains. It is so easy to surreptitiously click the photo of a person and then morph and upload it. As a Mother of a young girl, I was greatly disturbed by the plight of this Chennai girl whose stalkers clicked her pic, morphed it with a nude body, and then uploaded it on a social networking site! Or the two-year old case in Pune where a woman charged a man with posting obscene pics of hers on Orkut after she rejected his advances!

Can you blame me for being paranoid about pics of my kids available online to all and sundry to misuse as they please? I am sure every Mom out there is equally disturbed. Have a good chat with your kids, share this article with them, and tell them to ensure that their pics are not on public display and their friends do not post funny pics of theirs. People can download pics from social networking sites and friendships might turn sour someday. So why leave ammunition lying around to be later used against you?

Be safe on the Internet, Stay happy!