One family's practical joke is apparently no laughing matter.
A picture of a 3-year-old boy in Bulgaria allegedly snorting crushed white powder was posted online with the caption, "Mum and dad's little junkie," Daily Mail reports.
The photo sparked instant outrage across social media, as users immediately called for the child to be taken into care by authorities.
But the boy's mother, Nadezhda Nuri, claims the whole thing was a joke perpetrated by the boy's 13-year-old sister, Stiliana.
Nadezhda insists the substance that the boy, Mladen, appears to be snorting is merely flour, that there are no illegal drugs of any kind in the home, and that she could not have posted the photo herself because she is illiterate.
"My daughter must have taken the photo and uploaded it online," she said, according to Daily Mail. "I can't do it because I can't even read or write, never mind use a computer."
Stiliana reportedly confirmed to local media outlets that the incident was indeed a joke, and claimed she had staged several such photographs with her little brother in the past.
"I was only joking," the teen said. "I got the idea from Facebook. I have never seen real drugs. I once saw a woman on Facebook making lines with flour and then snorting it."
Local residents have defended Nadezhda, saying she is a good mother who was left to care for her children on her own when her husband went to Germany.
However, the incident has predictably led to a frenzy of social media outrage. Judging by the comments on the Daily Mail's Facebook page, most people feel that the alleged joke was in extremely poor taste.
"Pretty BAD parenting!" one comment read. "This is exactly how the kid will grow up to be an addict."
"Omg that is disgusting even if it was a bloody joke," read another.
Child services in Bulgaria are reportedly preparing a report to determine whether police intervention is necessary in the case.