Children have been a tool of war for time immemorial. In India, Islamic invaders used to abduct and emasculate the boys of defeated local rulers. Later in life, they were given arms training, and due to not having any family, they became obedient servants. They used to fight wars and protect harems with 24*7 availability.
Can you foresee something similar in modern society? You know, people, being kids, are being brainwashed into believing that consumption is the only ultimate goal and not their own family. The traumas of earlier ages are rendering them useless for society and most useful for multinational companies.
ADD, ADHD, OCD, narcissism—too much knee-jerk reaction on the minutest aspect; kids are getting rampaged left, right, and centre. Turns out, predators do not come only in the form of Bollywood villains. In the digital age, big companies are hunting them like mad.
A 15-year-old girl started chatting with a person named Thakur on Instagram. The chat developed into a fling, and later both got sexually involved.
Before the girl could realise it, she became pregnant. When questioned about the baby bump, she used to tell her mother that she was having some health issues. On YouTube, she started to look for the self-delivery of the baby and managed to pull off the stunt after 9 months.
Incidentally, her mother was not present. It was a baby girl. The teenage mother strangled her baby with a belt. She packed it in a bag and put it on the terrace. Later, when her mother enquired about her, the teenage girl could not hide her pain and told everything to her mother. A case has been registered under IPC and POCSO.
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Lots of questions
But more than the legal aspect, it is the social aspect that is more concerning. Just look at the chronological sequence. Firstly, the teenage girl used a social media site to chat with a stranger. The stranger was able to win her over without divulging his basic details like his full name, address, and phone number. Then she got pregnant. She possibly had no idea about the abortion procedure. And ultimately, the murder of the child. Each and every step culminating in the loss of innocent life is illegal, immoral, and reprehensible.
The question is, “How did it get here? How on Earth did a ninth-grade girl belonging to the generation that found it tough to concentrate be able to execute it and no one could sniff it? What were her parents doing? What about the school? Lastly, where is the society?
The answer to all of this lies in the fact that today’s children are no longer children of society. Instead, these children are being used for nefarious purposes by the evilest bunch in the world. We may sound bad, but let’s talk about what business advantage these people see in getting children to follow their agenda.
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Kids are commodities now
Firstly, children are gullible. You just need to show them something more glittery than their immediate surroundings, and they will force their parents to buy that specific stuff. Gullibility is also the reason why political parties like the Aam Aadmi Party use children for political purposes. It knows that when the party is attacked by rival parties, they will declare it an attack on children.
This is the main reason why you see relatively young kids like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and Licpriya Kangujam being used for activism. In their primitive years, they are filled with compassion for the world. It is easy to use them to score big brownie points. You can’t attack these kids back.
Moreover, by setting a foundation in their childhood, corporations generate excessive returns after years. When kids grow up into adults, they have disposable income due to less care for family and friends. It’s a huge return on investment in the initial years.
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Mechanism of milking money from kids
The process kicks off right from the formative years. The tech industry capitalises on these years by getting these kids hooked on screens. The ultimate purpose is to get as much of their raw attention as they can. According to a Forbes report, in 2018, the tech industry poured $4.2 billion into marketing strategies targeted at children. To generate economic value, children and their parents are being lured with loads of incentives.
Parents are being asked to make their children participate in online beauty and fashion competitions. Parents of winning kids are offered heavy cash prizes. Parents’ identities are getting attached to kids from an early age. The bombardment is so much that they have even forgotten to care about kids’ mental health.
There are YouTube channels like Riddhi Sehwag that present a rosy picture of teenage love stories. All those studies showcasing the effects of teenage relationships have gone for a toss. The teenage couple now has a kid, and no one bats an eye.
Not the government, not the police, nor their kin, and neither the NCPCR. It is as if their married life exists for the sake of making money. The couple has gone from rags to riches on YouTube money. And this couple is not the only one in town.
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Child labour in its new form and its impact on them
It is nothing other than child labor. These kids generate revenue for the company, and in return, companies share a fixed percentage of ad revenue. The biggest advantage is that there is almost an unlimited supply of labour. In case one country’s demography goes down, others’ spike and cycle go on and on.
Greta Thunberg is a classic example of child labour in these companies. That kid never had a conscience of her own and is only playing the role written for her by her parents and companies. Everyone can see the debilitating effect on her mental health.
She is not alone, though. The research done outside India is crystal clear on that. After the advent of social media, self-harm by young girls doubled in four years. 42 percent of kids with financial problems reported that they started to feel it only on Instagram.
For 41 percent of kids, the same platform instigates feelings of not being attractive. 10 percent said that their depression started on Instagram; 9% said their desire to self-harm started there; and 6% said their desire to kill themselves started there.
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The Internet has replaced social structures
Add to that the diminishing clout of the existing social structure. Kids do not have the support they so desperately require to grow. In the pre-Internet era, there were multiple levels of social security available to them. Family, immediate family, immediate neighbours, neighbours, friends, schools, and non-judicial local bodies. Seven layers of protection and services used to be there for a kid.
Few of them, like neighbours or immediate neighbors, have evaporated, while others, like schools and families, are not that close to kids. Schools are busy making money while most of the family finds it easier to hand over their phones to kids and get themselves engaged in their respective jobs. That includes parents too—a really dark and horrid reality. These kids don’t feel loved.
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The Internet is a den of child abusers
No wonder kids return to the Internet to remove their insecurity. Insecurity is the den of predators. Molesters keep looking for their victims on the Internet. These kids looking for a source of love have no idea of their intentions. What happens is that these predators slip in to fill the vacant space. Sometimes they become guides, sometimes friends, and sometimes they pose as Gyani. But ultimately, they just want to nab their target.
These kids, who did not get any proper education to protect themselves, became easy prey for these predators. No one tells them how to talk to strangers, what their techniques are, or what kind of emotional manipulation they use. It is just that the burden is on the young mind to figure all that out. No dad, no grand-dad are there to guide.
The guiding force, Big Tech, has been doing the exact opposite. They have slowly swept the term paedophilia with minor attracted persons. In 2010, Amazon was found selling a guide for child molesters. It even went on to defend this grotesque act. Its encrypted chat application, WickrMe, is filled with such materials.
Then there is Jack Dorsey’s Twitter. In 2019, the company changed its policy to allow discussion on the topic. It unleashed the demons on site. And they had the gall to do it despite the fact that 49 percent of the child abuse material found on the Internet between 2017 and 2019 originated on Twitter.
In 2019, Twitter quietly changed its terms of service to permit discussion about "attraction towards minors" with the proviso that "they don’t promote or glorify child sexual exploitation in any way". https://t.co/XYz9QQrLiI
— Michael Salter (@mike_salter) January 3, 2020
It is manifestly unsafe to platform unmonitored public conversations between large groups of paedophiles. The sexual desires and social inclusion of paedophiles have been prioritized by Twitter over the safety of children on the platform or in the community.
— Michael Salter (@mike_salter) January 3, 2020
Ultimately, society is losing kids. It is losing its future. It is losing the structure that binds society together. If kids are not secure, the future will be chaotic. And that’s why it is time for society to pitch in. A cumulative effort is the need of the hour. Parents will have to join hands for digital detoxification. Peer pressure is a big thing with kids. If a neighbouring kid is not doing something, the chances of your kid doing it are extremely low.
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