Social media irresponsibility

A teen star’s death and another teen star’s alleged sex video. These girls are social media’s flavor of the week, but in a very negative way.

The first, the daughter of known actors, is said to have committed suicide. Her death came as a shock to many in show business. Her family, in their statement made very clear requests for the public to respect their privacy as they grieve for their loss.

Coming from the media industry, I suppose they knew very well that there would be those who would capitalize on this distressing event to make a quick buck, and in social media, to increase traffic on blog sites. Thus, the request for authorities to no longer conduct an investigation because they are convinced that their daughter took her own life.

True enough, social media was, and still is abuzz with postings on the girl’s death. As if the family’s request for respect for their privacy fell on deaf ears. Many of the posts are outright insensitive and irresponsible. People are uncaring about the family’s feelings

While the family tries to come to terms with losing a loved one, many netizens suddenly became experts on suicide, depression and the like. Speculations and assumptions on the cause of the tragedy abound. Many of the discussions on Facebook border on “chismis”.

Some bloggers lost no time in looking for angles that would surely bring more traffic to their sites. One particular blogger scrutinized the girl’s Instagram account and came up with her posted artworks and a cosplay picture, and labelled these as creepy.

The blog strongly insinuated that the girl was suffering from depression which could have caused the suicide. After saying all these, the blogger had the nerve to condole with the girl’s family. To me, this is hypocrisy.

Of course the distasteful, insensitive blog got read by thousands of people and repeatedly reposted by netizens without any regard for how the grieving family would feel.

How hard is it for people to respect the family’s wishes during this very trying time? How have many of us become so insensitive to the suffering of others? Bakit natin pinagpipiyestahan ang mag ganitong bagay na wala namang kinalaman sa atin?

If we truly and sincerely want to condole with the family, all we have to do is to respect their wishes. We should not be adding to the tremendous grief that they have to bear. All we need to do is keep our mouths shut.

The “sex video scandal” of the second teen star is as, if not more infuriating. The girl is twelve (12) years old. Any which way you look at this, she is a child, a minor. And people have the gall to terrorize and victimize her (and her family) by circulating online alleged sex videos of her. These videos, mind you, have not even been authenticated yet people are quick to conclude that the girl in the videos is indeed the child star.

Again, netizens immediately grabbed the opportunity to feast on the controversy, and of course, the girl. As of this writing, there is an ongoing “war” in social media between those who irresponsibly repost, comment, and blog about the child star and those who try to protect her from the disrespect and abuse.

First off, what people do in the privacy of their homes is none of other people’s business for as long as what they do is not a crime. So, instead of maligning and questioning the girl, people should go after the person/s who took the videos and/or uploaded the same on the worldwide web.

Being a minor, the girl is protected by various laws.

For one, R.A. 7610 or the law on “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination” has strong provisions that may be applied in this case. Under this law, a child refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age.

Section 9 of the law says: “Any person who shall hire, employ, USE, persuade, induce or coerce a child to perform in obscene exhibitions and indecent shows, whether live or in VIDEO, or model in obscene publications or PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS, or to sell or DISTRIBUTE the said materials shall suffer...”

Moreover, Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty, or Exploitation and Other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child’s Development clearly states, “(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or   EXPLOITATION or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including ... shall suffer the penalty...”

Section 22. Protection of Girl-Children under the The Magna Carta of Women, R.A. 9710 also says that, “(b) Girl-Children shall be protected from ALL forms of ABUSE and EXPLOITATION”.

Finally, R.A. 9995 or the law “Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Photo and Video Voyeurism...” is also applicable. Section 4. Prohibited Acts have these provisions:

To take photo or VIDEO COVERAGE of a person ... performing sexual act or ANY SIMILAR ACTIVITY or to capture an image of THE PRIVATE AREA OF A PERSON/S ...”

(d) To publish or broadcast or cause to be published or broadcast .... of such sexual act or any similar activity through VCD/DVD, INTERNET OR CELLULAR PHONES and other similar means or device.” (emphasis supplied).

Very clearly, therefore, those who took, uploaded and reposted the girl’s video have gone overboard and may be criminally liable. Should the girl’s family decide to take legal action, they have the law on their side.

Social media is a great platform to share information, educate, and communicate. However, netizens must learn to use this responsibly. Enough of making people’s lives more miserable and perpetuating abuse and exploitation through social media.

Think before posting or reposting things. If what you are going to put in the Internet will harm or malign anyone, DON’T.


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