My eyes contorted with shock as I read the inane comments of a clearly disturbed individual sexualizing the picture of a girl who can’t be more than five years on social media. I felt nothing but pity for the naïve young girl who looked nothing but happy and innocent in the picture. I was enraged at the parents of the little girl who I believe, have been infected with the “photo glam” drive and proceeded to make up their baby girl like a baby doll for sale at a ‘Toys R Us’ store. I could not think of any English vocabulary that could easily express this sham of parenting on display. Nothing can effectively express how the parents of this young girl has failed her in so many ways.
The 21st century has seen a remarkable leap in the use of sex as the ultimate sales tool, and now at every turn of our lives that interacts with public spaces or media (in all its glorious forms), we are bombarded with sexual innuendos and graphics that seem to depict ‘interact with me if you like what you are seeing’.
This development has created a huge stress on parenting which is hard enough on its own. The onus therefore, falls on parents and guardians of kids to protect them from an early induction into a photo-centric world chaperoned by high demand for sexual content. Only an adult seeking public validation will deem it fit to apply make up on a young girl who is just learning colors or dress up a young boy in jewelries heavier than the boy and post these gory (it isn’t pleasing, if we are being honest) sights on social media. These kids will likely squirm with embarrassment when they see these pictures later when they are all grown.
Parents and guardians need to let kids just be what they are… KIDS, and resist pasting their faces on social media the moment their fingers twitches out of boredom (or emotional instability). The future of our world lies with these kids and subtly passing the message that appearance is the most important thing in life to these young naïve kids, isn’t just shallow but downright destructive. Parents and adults must do better around kids to ensure their kids grow up with the right discipline (not to be confused with physical abuse on kids), and recognize what the right values are.
Most African societies usually recommend marriage classes for couples before they get married, I’ll like to think it will benefit families in the 21st century to add parenting classes for couples starting families or planning to start families. This might help re-establish what is important to a photo-centric couple.
Protect your child from the highly sexualized 21st century, help them to be kids rather than adults playing dress up in kid’s costume. Guard their mental and emotional well-being to avoid the internet raising your kids for you, and lastly, pray to whatever God you believe in that they listen to your guidance and be as great as you would want them to be.