Monday, 20 September 2010

Horrors of Kenyan Facebook pornography

Young Kenyan boys and girls, some as young as eight years, are on Facebook, posting and accessing explicit pictures, and no one will do anything about it.

These children are spending hours daily on the laptops of their parents, guardians; mobile phones or even in some cyber cafes on the outskirts of towns to upload or download graphic porn material.

Meaning, thousands of children are evading age restrictions imposed by the social networking site to illicitly access it. And, parents are alarmingly ignorant of the danger posed by Facebook to their kids.

Many of the kids on Facebook are posting pictures of themselves, full name, the school they attend and even cell phone numbers (of their parents). Besides exposing the children to the dangers of pornography, Facebook is now providing child predators with the exact information they need to track down kids.

I picked this from Facebook; profile picture
I have seen many pictures of young girls posting pictures of themselves practically naked (and drinking). In recent days, a contact told me of her 13-year-old daughter who has been running a phoney Facebook account with nude picture of her as the profile picture. Her mom discovered of the pictures in a data stick that the girl forgot in her (mom's) PC. 

After I heard of this, I ran through public profiles on Facebook to see if I could find anything. To no surprise, I came across several profiles with half-naked bodies of young girls and boys on display. Ideally, this should not shock many adults who are already exposed to cases of violence on TV and much worse on the internet, but the shocking bit is, kids are the ones posting these pictures.

Even for those not posting nude pictures of themselves naked, they post sexually provocative pictures of themselves, along with personal details.

Facebook today has just over half a billion active users. That means millions of information is shared.

In the UK, and the USA, parents have largely resigned to fate in seeking to control their children, who after all, are already exposed to more violence on TV and nudity in tabloids. 

But in much of backwater Africa, many parents and guardians do not think that their children are quickly in step with their western counterparts: they are hopelessly wrong.

There are many computer programmes available to parents to monitor emails, instant messages, and the websites that kids visit, but that is half the issue.
With Google, Yahoo search and the like, settings often make it difficult for kids to access pornographic stuff online, but with Facebook, they are bypassing such settings to post and access reams of intensely personal detail about themselves and others.

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