Why You Should Think Twice Before Posting Images of Children Online

By Raisa Okwaras

On May 4, just when Form One students in Kenya were reporting to their respective secondary schools, a photo of a boy joining Kapsabet High School accompanied by his parents or guardians went viral on social media.

In the photo, the parents wore Maasai shuka and akala– shoes made from rubber, commonly worn by the pastoral communities in Kenya. Judging from the photo, the boy comes from a humble background in one of the far-flung areas in Kenya. Besides, it seemed as if the family did all they could to see the boy attend such a prestigious school.

However, in as much as most Kenyans were sharing the photos in good faith, it was uncalled for. First of all, it takes away the right of the child to tell his own story as he knows. Yes, we come to find out that he scored 403 marks out of 500 in KCPE and that moment was a dream come true. However, it still takes away control of his story from him at such a young age. Secondly, it puts him under scrutiny, both in school and out of school. This is against the constitutional rights of every child in Kenya.

We experience so many similar cases where unsuspecting netizens take photos of children and share them online without their guardian’s consent. Sometimes, children may be lured to take photos that taint their reputation online. And since the internet never forgets, we fear that these children are forced to grow up with constant reminders of when they could not have a say over their own images.Advertisementsabout:blankREPORT THIS AD

As a result, children may experience mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and even Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sadly, some even go to the extent of committing suicide since they are attacked, defamed, and ridiculed for information about them on digital platforms.

If you care about our children, please blur their images before sharing such photos online. If you must share, seek consent from their guardians and legal consent where necessary. All in all, remember that children are at the mercy of technology and not the other way round.

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