For better or worse, the AI world is upon us. With it has come the howl of many good kids screaming: “Oh my soul, that’s me – but it’s not actually me!” Just last week, a group of boys iat a high school in New Jersey generated no less than 34 fake nude images of girls in their class. All it really took was them downloading a few pics off their open, unprotected social media platforms and AI did the rest. The punchline is a simple one: Although the images are fake, the images never go away and the emotional damage that accompanies the images most definitely is not fake!
More and more, our kids are waking up to discover that even if they have played it safe, even if they had given their hard ‘no’ to sending a nude, they can still get to school and discover that naked images of them have been created, with AI. Yup our kids have found a way to use AI to generate really risky pics of each other that may not be real but boy do they look real! This has given parents and kids alike a real new worry – you can be ‘good’ as gold and still have nude images of you roaming the internet. Any of our children at any age can be a victim of a deepfake image or video scheme
In the realm of technology, this is known as the creation of deepfakes.
- What are deepfakes? Deepfakes are manipulated media, typically videos or images, in which a person’s face or voice is replaced with that of someone else, often using AI. Mostly this is done in t/ween world to create nude images.
- How are deepfakes created? Deepfakes are created using a technique called “deep learning,” which involves training AI algorithms on large amounts of data, such as images or videos of a particular person. The AI then learns to mimic the person’s facial expressions, voice, and mannerisms, allowing it to create realistic-looking fakes, voices and expressions.
- Why are deepfakes concerning? While the images are fake, they never go away! Deepfakes can be and is being used to create pornography of our kids. It can be uploaded and sold, it can be shared friends, it can be held to extort money from our kids…the list of the ways in which harm can be done is endless. And the biggest concern of all…the reputational damage and very real emotional distress caused.
What are the five main clues that you are looking at deepfake image or video
Detecting deepfakes can be challenging because they are created to appear highly realistic. However, there are some signs you can look for to help identify them:
1. Inconsistent Facial Expressions: Watch for unnatural or inconsistent facial expressions in relation to the context the picture is being shown.
2. Uncanny Valley Effect: Deepfakes often create a feeling of something being “off” or uncanny. The person’s face might appear almost real but not quite, causing an unsettling feeling.
3. Strange Blinking or Eye Movements: If it is a video, look for unusual blinking patterns or odd eye movements. Deepfake algorithms don’t always replicate natural eye behaviour accurately.
4. Blurriness or Artifacts: Look for blurriness or visual artifacts around the edges of the person’s face, especially in areas like hair or clothing, which might show signs of manipulation.
5. Unnatural Lighting: Deepfakes often have lighting that doesn’t match the surroundings or cast unnatural shadows on the person’s face.
How do I stop this happening to my child?
- There are no complete and sure ways to create walls around your child when it comes to deepfakes. But it is crucial to help them know how it happens so that they, themselves will actually want to ringfence their own digital privacy.
- Don’t spare them the truth just because they are young. Although you may not want your eight your old to hear sexualised language, you will still need to talk to them about what can happen to their images in the AI world. Use age-appropriate language and be real. This means you will have to explain that a profile pic on a soccer whatsapp group can be used and placed on a naked body to look like it is his body! It means sharing that sometimes people do this to humiliate and shame, sometimes they do it to make money. If we don’t tell them, others will and of course when we share the knowledge, we are able to answer the questions that come with it.
- In the end, we need to bring home only one message: We don’t own anything online – not our content, not our posts, not our pics. It all belongs to Meta! This means that our children have to adjust their privacy settings to limit who can see their photos, profile pics, videos etc.
1. Deepfake or Not? Feign a bit of ignorance, ask your t/ween for help: “I saw this video online, and I’m not sure if it’s real or a deepfake. Can you help me analyse it and see if we can spot any clues that give it away?” Affirm them for being so knowledgeable!
2. Your Digital Alter Ego: “Imagine having a digital twin who can say or do anything you want, but it’s not really you! What would you use him/her for? What are the pros and cons of having a digital fake twin? Imagine someone else made a digital twin of you – what do you think they could use that fake twin for?”
3. Deepfake Dilemma: If you found a deepfake video of a friend saying something they didn’t, what would you do? How would you handle it, and who would you talk to about it?”
Sarah and Pam