Editorial News Tue, 25 Feb 2020

The Chronicle: Posting children online could endanger their lives

It is now becoming the norm for most parents to start their children’s early lives from the womb till they are born online. This phenomenon is not peculiar to any particular group of persons or sub-culture.

Over the weekend, photos of actress Nana Ama McBrown’s daughter, Maxin, flooded the various social media platforms after hiding her identity for almost a year.

Meaning on a daily basis, parents are posting videos and photographs of their wards on the various social media platforms, and sometimes with little regards to their privacy or security.

Some of the images are so worrying that the children are posted without clothes or indulge in things that can affect their future somehow.

Agreeably, some of the videos are just funny and interesting, however, the fear is, would these children appreciate them when they grow up?

Of course, the likes of Jeremiah Addo, a two-year old, who is yet to be enrolled in school but shows extraordinary ability of retentive memory to memorise countries of the world and their capitals, and to the effect of stating the scientific names of plants, vegetables and animals, is quite an impressive video to watch online.

There are other equal videos showing impressive talents of children, which, otherwise, without online media they would never have got that global exposure.

The Chronicle is the dangers of posting children online because there is a turning point in life where things can change, and those things that parents otherwise thought they were doing it in the best interests of their wards, may not reflect the child’s interest in later life.

The worse postings, which may not necessarily be done by parents, are the ones that ridicule children, especially showing their impoverished situation or affiliated by a disease, and the poster calls on individuals to like the picture if they so care.

The Chronicle is so concerned because children, in their developmental process, are bound to commit errors and mistakes. And, since what is relevant today may not be the same tomorrow, some of these photos and videos may affect the children’s self-esteem, because they might not be proud of them, meanwhile they had been shown to the world already.

Children’s innocence must not be exploited in that manner, but protected. In recent times, we have news of children committing suicide, and even though there is no evidence linking to this fact, it is worth noting that anything is possible to cause people to take their lives.

Our modern day threats include kidnappings and defilement cases, and as a result, children with such an exposure could be become targets. For instance, there was video on Facebook showing a girl of about five years at a party trying to display a type of dancing that was quite unfortunate. If parental guidance on this child gets weakened, any pedophilia might take advantage of her innocence, although it was not her fault for the video that went viral online.

The Chronicle wants to call on parents, guardians, teachers and schools to take the protection of children seriously.

Religious bodies, especially, charismatic churches, must be circumspect in showing images of children during their so-called “deliverance and anointing service” on what they say about them, or compelled them to “confess”.

Even before the advent of the computer and the internet, past secrets of people occupying public positions have mysteriously been brought out, and some of them were forced to resign as a result.

It is, therefore, important to note that since the internet does not forget, it would be very easy for anyone with malicious intents to use those photos to blackmail or defame a child who has managed to become successful adult.

There are children who might never heal from the damage these videos and photographs may cause them.

The Ministry in charge of child protection and the police must up their game and punish individuals who fall foul to child abuse online. The media also has a responsibility no to pick such pictures and use them without considering their injurious effects.
Source: The Chronicle