In a very worrying development, video clips that can be categorized as child pornography are being shared among Bhutanese on social media.
While the footage may elicit a laugh or be deemed harmless by some observers, the fact of the matter is that the children are being depicted in scenes that resemble sexual acts. To the ordinary person, the scene may be innocent. But to the child predator, the scene may be arousing.
That the police have categorized the clips as child pornography is correct. There can be no grey area when it comes to keeping our children safe.
What this latest development, once again raises, is the need for the necessary legislation in place. The information, communications and media bill, which could introduce stronger penalties for making, possessing and sharing pornography, is yet to even be deliberated by parliament despite being ready for several years.
Stronger penalties, to a certain extent will discourage such material from being shared.
Awareness of what constitutes child pornography and how certain images that are innocent to the ordinary person, but appealing to others, is urgently needed.
We’re still a somewhat innocent society. We seem to have no qualms about dressing up our little ones, in skimpy outfits, covered in heavy make up, and swaying their hips to pop music on stage, mimicking what someone many years older would do. Such scenes are then broadcast mainstream by the local cable companies.
Perhaps, there may be nothing wrong for parents to be doing this to their children. But what about for those child predators who may be watching? Such scenes could affect them in some way, perhaps, even drive them towards criminal acts.
Parents welcome when they children are precocious, or are able to behave in a way years beyond their age, but we need to ask ourselves, which activities we should encourage and which we should be wary of. We also need to know if we’re allowing our children to develop naturally. Obviously, it is a debatable topic and we need discourse on this.
We are increasingly reading about rapes, and with disturbingly frequency, the ages of the victims seem to be getting younger. Bhutan is undergoing change. People change. It’s imperative that we, as adults and parents, have to be one step ahead by educating ourselves first, and then protecting our children by making them aware of what to look out for, the warning signs, the dangers.
That the police have issued a warning to the public should be welcomed. But the police need to be backed up with tough legislation and for that the government must move faster. A clear line has to be drawn, identifying black and white, on what kind of footage constitutes child pornography.
The police should also receive the necessary equipment and training to beef up their cyber security team. Technology moves fast, but by having the right people in place, with the right mindsets, usually such shortcomings can be overcome.
We are changing and we need to be armed with the knowledge to identify the cons that come along with development. It’s everyone’s responsibility.