Hey, y’all want to hear something gross and completely uncalled for?
Well, listen up. I was scrolling through TikTok and stopped at a video of a mother pranking her kids and thought, “Aww, what cuties!” In my natural state, I went to the comments to see what other people thought of the video.
Never in a million years would I have been prepared for what I read. Some comments were pretty normal, ranging from “Haha, that was hilarious! Do it again!” to “As a mother, I would never do that to my kids…” But what horrified me was that there were also comments about the children themselves. And not in the way you would expect.
There were people commenting on their looks and mannerisms in a way that was borderline criminal. “Oh, rupanya jodoh I tak lahir lagi.” (“Oh no wonder, my soulmate wasn’t born yet.”) and “Orang kata jodoh tak ikut umur kan?” (“It’s just like what people have said, love knows no age, right?”)
Can you believe that? To a child.
It’s Not A Joke
Telling a kid they’re cute is normal enough. That’s fine, everyone does that. But that’s as far as you should go. Tell them they’re cute and move on. What you don’t need to be doing is going into why they’re cute and giving a detailed speech on why you find them attractive. First of all, check yourself. These. Are. Children.
At times, when issues like this are brought up and people speak up against it, the guilty would often chuck it aside as a “joke”. “Oh, kita cakap je. Main-main. Jangan la serious sangat,” they would say defensively.
I don’t care for your so-called “jokes”. No matter how many times you say it, joking about children being your future spouse is never funny. It’s disgusting. Find people your own age to hit on.
Imagine being a parent who would just like to commemorate a memory with their kids and post it online for the fun of it. And instead of getting the cute responses they hoped for, they get suggestive comments from Nur Fitri copycats.
No, I won’t apologise for saying that. I said what I said.
Keep Your Children’s Faces To Yourself
Some parents refrain from posting their kids online at all because of this sole reason. Even if they do post some, they’ll most likely put a sticker or blur their kids’ faces to avoid any unwanted comments.
Think about it though, kids this age are being sexualised by grown adults who let their demons get the better of them. Just ignoring behaviour like this is a problem because doesn’t it all start off with a joke at first? Taking it as a joke normalises and accepts this kind of behaviour.
Therefore, it opens up so many other leeways to excuse other issues like grooming and child marriages. I’m not wrong, because according to data furnished by Dutch police based in Malaysia in 2015, our country has the highest number of IP addresses uploading and downloading photographs and visuals of child sexual abuse content in South-East Asia.
What does that tell you? If you’re thinking that I’m overreacting or dramatising an issue, rethink that statement, please.
The amount of child grooming attempts and cases on social media is truly alarming. According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Unicef Malaysia, Noor Aziah, based on data from Bukit Aman’s D11 Sexual/Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Investigation Division, 7,358 cases of crime in January to August 2019 involved children.
Letting It Be A Joke Paves Way To More Serious Issues
Sexualising children has become something so frequent and normal that parents have been advised to not share their children’s pictures online at all for the sake of their children’s safety. After all, you never know where their pictures are going to end up.
You can save anything online nowadays and unfortunately for us, even though we’d like to give online strangers the benefit of the doubt, some of these actions are not done in the name of innocence.
This isn’t to scare anyone, of course. It’s just to remind and allow people to be aware of what’s actually going on on the other side of the screen. Parents were also warned by Malaysians Against Pornography (MAP) chairperson Dr Shamsuriani Md Jamal to not share any information about their children at all on social media, so as to avoid any risky behaviour. That includes their names, nicknames, where they go to school, etc.
Think about it — it would be extremely scary if one of your followers had seen a video of your child and waited for them in front of their school.
Look, I get it. You have a cute kid. You want the whole world to know that your kid’s smart and adorable and all that jazz, but what do you think is more important? Showing off your kids or keeping them safe?
There are so many weird people out there that just don’t know how to set boundaries. Most people see a cute kid and their first instinct isn’t to coo and move on, theirs is very much…different. It’s really sinister when you think about it. It kind of makes you wary of society as a whole.
What you have to understand is that some of these people are just sick, and joking to disguise the fact that they’re attracted to toddlers and children isn’t normal. And you shouldn’t have to defend yourself or feel bad when you call out people for sexualising your kids.
There was a mother who shared pictures and videos of her child online once and the comments were very uncomfortable to read. The mother had expressed her discomfort towards what people are saying about her child and asked them to stop, but she was ignored.
How devastating that had to have been for her — posting pictures of your child to spread positivity but instead, you get weirdos waiting on the other side of the screen.
Don’t Ignore It. Call It Out
It needs to be said that harsher punishments should be given to people who decide to make jokes about being attracted to kids and spread strange words about treating children in such a worrying manner. I don’t think 30 years is enough for the trauma these instances impose on parents and their children.
To avoid these kinds of responses to your children, follow through with not posting pictures of them online. I also urge you to tell your friends and family to also not to post pictures of your children online as well. It’s alright if they’re angry at you or take it to heart. Your child’s safety is more important than that.
It’s not really something to take lightly at all. It’s a serious issue that needs to be talked about more instead of letting people just joke around it.
If it’s taken more seriously, surely there wouldn’t be acts like these anymore. Ignoring a problem like this would only make things worse and opens up opportunities for people to make wildly inappropriate comments and not think that anything was wrong with what they are saying: