Parents are proud - but should be careful what they post online.Picture: Twitter

Data protection and privacy lawyer, Philipa Jane Farley, has warned parents not to make pictures of their children freely and publicly available, especially on social media platforms. 

This was after one parent complained in a WhatsApp group that her daughter’s photos were being posted on social media by a man claiming to be his daughter’s father, when he wasn’t. The woman, who can’t be named to protect her daughter, was complaining about one of their group who took pictures of her daughter during a Longrich presentation. 

“Good morning Leaders, this guy (name withheld), he is also here in this group is (sic) been posting my daughter’s photos on his social media claiming she’s his daughter, he took these photos when we were at presentation.

“As a parent I can do anything to protect my daughter, I find this so creepy, kids are kidnapped and raped in this country. As parents we now avoid posting them on social media because we want to protect them. 

“Please people, don’t allow strangers to take pictures with your children as you won’t know their intentions.
“I tried talking to him, instead he is threatening me. I guess this is a clear notification that he won’t stop. 

“This is a lesson learnt. Please be careful out there, protect your children,” the post said.
Commenting on the matter, Farley said the impostor could be someone suffering from trauma which has resulted in him being delusional or psychotic.

“Not being aware of the entire context makes it quite difficult to state categorically that there is malicious intent. However, let this story serve as a fair warning to parents, that they should not be making pictures of their children freely and publicly available.

“The behaviour of a predator or paedophile is usually more secretive.
“This is overt and obvious. There may, but not certainly, be a possibility of kidnapping if the boundary between indication and reality became blurred,” she warned.

Farley said parents should not post pictures of their children.
“Educate yourself about every social media platform you’re on. And never, make your address public. 

“Are there landmarks that can be recognised, road names, school, and symbols, anything that can trace back to the whereabouts of your child? If there are, you are freely providing the roadmap to disaster.” All efforts to speak to the man were unsuccessful.

The Sunday Independent