image of ana kriegel

 

The Ana Kriégel murder: What it taught us about bullying, porn and boys article by Jennifer O Connell, in last week’s Sunday Irish Times, evokes more questions than there are answers for at present. However, it’s a must read for every parent and any individual who engages with children. It offers us a perspective on the darker and sinister influences of the online world, and the potential these have for a devastating impact on children. It truely is an incredible read.

 

Protecting children from online harm

A common theme will often emerges in articles like this. The suggestion that educating a child from an early age regarding the more harmful elements the online world has to offer, in some way protects them. It may inform a child, but it certainly not protect them. Why? Because that’s our job as parents. Unless we acknowledge this responsibility, children will face in to many years of exposure to cyberbullying, pornography, and other harmful online content. Children and pornography access are not a good combination ever.

 

As parents, it is up to us to do everything possible within our power to protect our children. To ensure they can develop and grow up safely, in a world free from harmful online interaction with others. Free from platforms or technologies specifically engineered to be manipulative or encourage addictive patterns of behaviour. Free from exposure to content that isn’t suitable for adults, let alone children. Waiting for legislation to assist us in this battle, or expecting the major platforms to develop a conscience any time soon, is aspirational thinking at best, and has no basis in reality.

 

A child is simply a child

A child, is simply a child. Currently there are very little effective measures in place to prevent children accessing pornography. Children shouldn’t ever have to carry the burden of attempting to rationalise pornography, or any other harmful online content. We see countless parents and educators all pushing children over an edge, believing they must have access the online world. There’s a this misguided dystopian belief, a child will be left behind or miss out, if they dont have access to technology. That assumption and belief is best known as propaganda. While we have yet to see the huge harvest of technologically advanced children appear, we have witnessed many a child disapear due to an exposure to harmful online content.

 

Tomorrow is today

Never before has society been force fed the promise of a better tomorrow on such a scale, while simultaneously removing it from so many. Yet we continue to march forward, disregarding all the fallen victims of online abuse and cyberbullying. Ignoring all those who are visibly suffering both psychologically and emotionally. Oblivious to the ever expanding distancing between us, the demise of real world in communication and social skills. All while constantly reaffirming our belief with the mantra of, “our children need this”.

 

Have we even paused for a just moment, to consider that perhaps they don’t? Perhaps our children may not be ready yet. Or perhaps the online world in its current form, is actually not ready or anywhere near safe for them yet. Perhaps the mantra that “our children need this”, is not entirely correct. How can this be true? Everyone can see the high level of harm being caused to children online. Maybe, we should all just slow things down for a little while, until this medium is safe for children.

 

Full Article

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/ana-kri%C3%A9gel-murder-what-it-taught-us-about-bullying-porn-and-boys-1.4075774?mode=amp

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