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updated 11/29/2011 9:15:12 AM ET 2011-11-29T14:15:12

A fast-growing trend among teens on Facebook could warrant them unwanted, harmful attention from pedophiles and seriously hamper their chances at future success, a Facebook watchdog group says.

Called "Sneaky Hat," the recent trend involves teenagers posting pictures of themselves completely naked except for a hat covering their private parts, the website Facecrooks wrote. The trend began with a group of Australian 15-year-olds, but quickly picked up steam, and now there are dozens of Facebook pages, as well as blogs and YouTube videos, devoted to the craze.

The Australian news site Nine News spoke with the founders of the first Sneaky Hat website, sneakyhatboys.com, who said they launched the site "for a laugh," but that it quickly got "out of control." The site is currently offline.

The popularity of these spinoff sites and videos is alarming for several reasons, the least of which is that nude or semi-nude pictures put kids in the crosshairs of pedophiles.

"The mere existence of the page puts the children at risk for sexual grooming," Facecrooks wrote. "Furthermore, the existence of a 'Sneaky Hat' picture would be highly detrimental to the child's chances of getting a decent job in the future. After all, such pictures are never truly deleted once they're uploaded on the Internet."

Nine News said Queensland, Australia police have launched an investigation into the originators of the Sneaky Hat page, and have requested the scandalous images and YouTube videos created by the 15-year-old students.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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