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Fame And Innocence, A Dangerous Collision

The dazzling facade of child fame on social media conceals a sinister reality. Far from relishing their youth and shaping a positive future for society, this experience strips away their innocence, a precious quality we rarely see in today's children. Deeply impressionable and vulnerable, they are taken away from the ‘child’ role and relentless pressures swirling on social media leave lasting scars on their physical and mental health, which impacts their well-being and development.

Children's obsession with seeing their photos shine on social media often creates unpleasant situations later on. Their preoccupation with their appearance makes them think only about waiting for people's reactions to them, as if it were a game they want to excel in. This leads them to neglect their studies, which should be their primary goal for reaching the top. 

Consequently, they become prone to Attention Deficit Disorder, poor academic achievement, and lack of culture. Children and youth are the foundation of society, they are the ones who build it. If they refrain from doing so, ignorance can limit an individual's chances of gaining good standing and improving economic conditions. Ignorance can also lead to a lack of awareness of legal and social rights and responsibilities, which affects the sustainable development of society. 

Al Jazeera did an Interview with Dr. Human Yahya, Psychiatrist, Dr. Yahya discussed the impact of fame on child influencers on social media. He highlighted that exposing children to early fame and public scrutiny is a complex issue, the image presented by parents is often idealised and may not reflect the child's lived reality.

This can become a burden for the child as they go through different stages of mental, cognitive, emotional, and mood development. If they are able to read comments and understand what is being said about them and people's reactions, they may not be able to handle negative comments. This is because children often see themselves as the centre of attention, even if it is in a positive way. Excessive praise can lead to arrogance, boasting, and a sense of superiority over their peers.

Dr. Yahya emphasises that praising children should also have limits, and that doing the right thing should be done without exaggeration.

There is a growing concern about the presence of content on online platforms that lacks any educational or beneficial purpose and instead serves to negatively influence the morals and behaviours of both the child influencer and their young audience.

The innocence of childhood in our current era is under attack from various challenges, including exposure to such inappropriate content. This exposure can potentially lead to the development of distorted generations lacking a clear sense of identity or purpose in life.

The rise of certain YouTube channels aimed at children raises concerns about the impact of inappropriate content on young viewers' behaviour and understanding of important life aspects. Some channels feature acting scenes that normalise or even romanticise unrealistic scenarios, potentially influencing children's perception of real-world situations.

One example is the channel of Shifa, a young girl. She started appearing on social media in 2015, she is currently 12 years old. Shifa rose to fame by filming scripted, "diary entries." In one video, Shifa pressures her mother into a pretend marriage with a wooden toy, ultimately portraying married life as restrictive and negative. This not only presents an unrealistic and potentially harmful view of marriage but also reinforces negative stereotypes about husbands being controlling and domineering.

The impact of such content is evident in the story of Amina Muhammad, whose five-year-old daughter, after watching Shifa's video, expressed a desire to get married and abandon school. This highlights the critical need for responsible content creation and parental guidance to navigate the potential pitfalls of online influence on young minds.

There are many famous accounts on TikTok for children and teenagers whose content revolves around dancing without any purpose. Amani, a mother of a middle school girl, says that her daughter stopped studying and her grades have been declining day by day. She eventually revealed that her daughter was posting videos on TikTok dancing and singing, neglecting her studies and distancing herself from her family.

Parental supervision is essential, even if parents trust their children. Supervision does not harm.

Every child deserves a safe and nurturing environment to grow, play, and learn. Sadly, this fundamental right is denied to those who are thrust into the spotlight by ambitious parents obsessed with fame and fortune. These parents prioritise financial gain over their children's well-being, subjecting them to immense pressure and robbing them of a normal childhood. The constant scrutiny, social media exposure, and unrealistic expectations take a devastating toll on these young minds, leading to depression, anxiety, and stunted emotional development.

A recent case involving an Egyptian mother exploiting her children on social media serves as a stark reminder of this disturbing trend. Accused of fabricating a shocking story about her children for views and profit, she faces charges of human trafficking. This is not an isolated incident. Countless children worldwide experience similar abuse, forced to participate in questionable content for their parents.

Non-purposeful practices that kill the innocence of children and put them in fluctuating emotions and inappropriate behaviours will increase their destruction and ruin their lives. Exploiting children by their parents and the dangers they may face when participating in such activities will result in a generation without purpose.

Edited by Chloe Mansola


Moment of Fame by spurekar is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED

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