Police in Germany are warning parents not to post photos of their children on Facebook in case they are stolen and used by paedophiles.
Hagen Police made a poster showing a young girl with her face obscured saying: “I have a right to privacy too!”
It was posted on the force’s Facebook page on Tuesday with a plea to parents not to share images publicly on social networks.
“A snapshot on the beach or naked in a paddling pool: Many of you publish pictures of your little ones on Facebook and is not uncommon for them to be visible to everyone, completely lacking appropriate safety precautions in privacy settings,” the post said.
“Now you might find the photos sweet, but your children could be really embarrassed in a few years. Or your child could even be bullied.
“Even worse – paedophiles help themselves to the photos and use them for their own purposes, such as publishing them elsewhere.”
Officers said there was no valid reason to violate children’s privacy on social networks when the internet “forgets nothing”.
The post closed with the following advice: “Show photos of your little ones to grandma, grandpa, auntie, uncle, friends and your loved ones. It is much nicer to talk about them and share a chuckle together.”
It has been shared by more than 200,000 people, with 117,000 “likes” and 3,600 comments in two days.
Hagen Police said they were pleased that the “deliberately provocative” post went viral and that the warning had reached millions of people.
Many parents defended people who wanted to share photos of their families online, although several said they would be checking their privacy settings.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies