Once upon a time we had the good old-fashioned slides and projector. Or the heavy, leather-bound photo albums. Both were used by Mum and Dad to show photos of their beloved children right from the day of birth through to those embarrassing school photographs.

But today’s practice of using social media has been cautioned against by Western German police. In a post earlier this week (ironically on Facebook), the statement urged parents to not post photos of their children on social media websites for everyone to see.

In today’s advanced day and age, it’s common practice on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – whether parents announce the birth of their first child, their child’s first birthday or their child’s first day at school with an accompanying photo.

But the appeal from Hagen Police issued the caution on a number of levels – on a more light hearted note, the message said that while parents may consider the photos to be cute, in the near future, that son or daughter may not see it that way, instead finding them “endlessly embarrassing”. While the traditional photograph ensures that those dated fashions and pudding bowl haircuts are kept for the eyes of close family and friends, unfortunately social media websites don’t allow that luxury quite so easily.

But on a more serious note, Hagen Police warned that such photos were open to use by bullies or paedophiles. The appeal stressed the importance of valuing the child’s privacy. Spokesman Tino Schafer said that at the very least, parents should ensure that their privacy settings should be adjusted to prevent strangers from looking at the pictures.

Since the appeal was uploaded on Tuesday, it’s claimed that it has been shared over 100,000 times and viewed by more than seven million people.