Police officers and lawyers are warning French parents to think twice before posting pictures of their children on social media. They say that publishing intimate photos of their kids could result in fines or even jail time due to breaching their sons' and daughters' privacy.
French officials say that grown-up children may be able to sue their parents for allowing their security or privacy to be compromised by putting their images on Facebook or other sites, writes Jess Staufenberg for the UK's Independent.
There is a chance that pedophiles could see the photos, but there is also the embarrassment certain pictures could cause for young people that may eventually drive them to consider taking their parents to court.
According to French privacy laws, the damages for this type of breach could reach as much as £35,000, or up to one year in prison.
Internet and ethics attorney Eric Delcroix shared that parents' behavior online is getting to be almost as bad as their progeny's actions. The French police, following in the footsteps of the German police, placed a warning on their Facebook page.
"Posting photos of your children on Facebook is not without dangerâ¦ Protect your children!," it said.
Vice president of Facebook Jay Parikh said his company was considering a notification system to alert parents against putting photos of their kids online.
"If I was putting online a photo of my kids playing in the park, and I accidentally shared it with everyone, the system could say: âHey, wait a minute, this is a picture of your children'," he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
In the past, there have been cases where photographs of children from Facebook were discovered on pedophiles' websites.
England's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) released a statement which said, in part, that if a parent does post an image of their children online, they should be careful to ensure that their privacy settings are configured correctly, reports Thomas Tamblyn for The Huffington Post UK.
The University of Michigan conducted a survey concerning social media awareness in 2015. The researchers found that over 74% of participants said they were troubled about putting baby pictures online, but they went along with the crowd and published them in spite of their reticence to do so.
Fifty-one percent of the respondents also posted personal information along with the picture that would make identifying the child's location fairly easy.
Over half of the mothers and one-third of the fathers said they had discussed their children's health and parenting procedures on social media. Roughly three-quarters of moms and dads stated that participating with others on social media made them feel less alone.
Bethany Hardy, reporting for PBS, writes that a 2010 study by the Internet security firm AVG found that 92% of US children have a presence online before they reach the age of two.
Thieves could put together enough different information about a child online to impersonate him or her and open bank accounts or take out loans. Parents are cautioned to protect their children from identity theft.