The news of the Obama visit to Kenya for the GES Summit have been over-shadowed by what the mainstream media in Kenya has chosen to focus on in the last 2 weeks, the marriage proposal from some two Kenyan gentlemen to the First family’s first born daughter Malia who is only 16 years old.
This folks coming out claiming that they wanna marry Malia are looking for attention while the media airing this is looking for content
— MissWriter (@corriemwende) June 11, 2015
There was a time when we had a definition for any grown up man who confessed his
love lust for under age girls. The term was ‘Paedophile‘.
Can we take a minute to remember than Malia is still a child? These men are disgusting!! — Jang’o Unchained (@viru5detected) June 11, 2015
Somehow, this is a term that is no longer in Kenya’s media dictionary as they continue to give us blow by blow coverage of the life and journey of the two suitors who are asking for Malia’s hand in marriage. It has therefore become quite o.k for the two men to let the world know that they have been harboring thoughts towards Malia. For the lawyer, it goes as far back as when she was thirteen years old.
But yes the dude came off as a paedophile. You just don’t propose to under 18s like that.
— Simply Oki. (@okinawacircus) June 11, 2015
You’re idiots giving airtime to a Paedophile. Shame on you! https://t.co/sEybjzANkI
— The Makodingo® (@makodingo) June 11, 2015
I shudder to think how these men thirsting after Malia behave towards pretty, underage girls who are more accessible to them.
— Gatwiri (@RookieKE) June 11, 2015
The internet and more so social media has made it quite O.K for men to share their sexual fantasies of young girls as well as share images and hold discussions on children who are still in their teens. in a sexual manner. Perhaps the worst perversion of the internet as a tool for exchange of information has been pornography and child pornography has become much worse in recent times due to ease in access to devices such as web cameras and the lack of parental understanding of how sexual perversion thrives online thus failing to control the use internet among children.
Pornography is a big part of the problem, according to some, such as the Réseau québécois d’action pour la santé des femmes. Soft porn images now abound and seem normal in pop culture aimed at teens and teens.
In Africa, child marriage has been fighting for survival following efforts through NGOs to end the practice. The use of the internet and social media by sexual offenders involving minors is still not common practice in African countries due to barriers such as lack of low cost internet, the devices and technical know how by paedophiles. However, with the changing trend in access to internet across Africa, Social networking paedophile might no longer be just a problem for the developed world.
Seeing all these cows offered for Malia Obama makes me wonder how many underage girls are forced into marriage in the name of tradition. — Shamit Patel (@just_sham_it) June 11, 2015
“This is another example of how the internet is, for all its many, many benefits which we’re always keen to point out, is allowing types of child abuse to take place that would never have taken place before.” said Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre in an interview with the telegraph.
Children “knowing more” than adults about technology is “often one of the mental barriers for parents”, he added.
“But it’s possible for a parent who perhaps doesn’t know much about the internet still to have a sensible conversation with their kid about how to stay safe and certainly make sure that they’re doing what they can to exercise control over the way the device can be used and also make sure their kids are aware of the risks.”
Although Malia’s is the first full blown case in which the Kenyan media have been co-opted into treating paedophiles as celebrities, there have been other subtle instances in which men have openly share and discussed photos of young girls in a sexual manner. Its only a matter of time before we have Face book or whats app groups created for similar purposes as more and more parents in Africa allow their children to own and use electronic devices such as smart phones with little control.
There is a need for increased awareness among parents on the ills of not having control of what their teenage daughters do on social media networks especially in regards to what information and images they share and with whom. There is also a need for the media to behave more responsibly especially in promotion of news stories that seem to glorify the practice of paedophilia regardless of whether it is involving the daughter of a sitting U.S president or not.