The French national police force is warning parents in a not-at-all prickly fashion that they may want to think twice about posting photos of their children on Facebook or other social networks. The warning comes amid growing concern about sexual predators finding victims online, as well as parents violating their kids’ privacy when the latter are powerless to stop them (no more bath photos, people! I mean what are you, idiots?).
Following a national “Facebook motherhood challenge,” inviting mothers to post three photos that made them proud to be a parent, the French “Gendarmerie nationale” posted a warning (appropriately enough on their Facebook page) that read in part: “You can all be proud moms and dads to your magnificent children, but be careful. We remind you that posting photos of your kids to Facebook is not without danger!”
The police noted that sexual predators may target children based on the photos, and also warned of “social or psychological problems that children could face later in life.”
The Gendarmerie also reminded parents that it is a crime in France to post photos of people without consent – even your own children. That means children who later find embarrassing photos of themselves all over the Internet can sue their parents, or at the very least have a good reason to possibly choose the discount nursing home when the time comes.
Even when kids aren’t exposed to sexual predators directly via social media, the creeps can do creepy things with their photos online. Last year I wrote about a report from the Australian government’s Children eSafety Commissioner, which found that up to half of the images of children shared on sites frequented by pedophiles originally came from social media.
While they obviously weren’t sexual in nature to begin with, the pictures shared on pedo sites can be sexualized with the addition of captions, comments or photo editing. The numbers of stolen photos uncovered run into the tens of millions, with most coming from sites and apps including Facebook, Kik and Instagram.