A RECENT report by SunStar Cebu shared on Facebook brought fear and worry to the netizens not only in Cebu but also in other parts of the country. The post even went viral. It was about the recent data of Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas on human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV-Aids) with afflicted victims as young as 11 years old.
Although the individual stories of these victims and the reason they were afflicted were not stated, prostitution for money was one of the reasons looked at. Many took to Facebook their anger and concern of these little kids.
In Davao City, there was also a recent report that states prostitution has also gone online.
The internet is but a magical place. Even if we say there are sites intended only for adults and that parents are ensuring that their kids are only watching child-friendly videos, it is not always a 100 percent assurance that they would never come across something vulgar and dangerous to their well-being. Ads can always pop-up.
Even YouTube kids or Netflix kids which are already filtered to cater only to the safe watching of kids, may not be 100 percent safe.
It is indeed alarming that the data of HIV-Aids victims have included the children. Perhaps if we trace back to the general situation of children of today’s generation, we might observe the excessive freedom they were given in navigating online and in watching videos.
An 11-year-old kid should of course still be under the custody and care of parents or guardian. Whatever behavior and personality they will have as adults are still developing and being formed around this age. It is crucial that they are guided with people older than them so they don’t stray away from the right path.
Last month, the National Council for Children’s Television also called on parents to always practice co-viewing with their children as this would guide them through shows that might affect their behavior. This is despite the restrictions for children for certain TV contents.
Children as young as 11 years old do not have the capacity to make sound decisions for themselves yet. It is of utmost importance that they are guided by adults.
Cases of 11 year old kids having HIV-Aids are indeed alarming and should be a wakeup call for adults to take responsibility for the children in our community.
After all, the situation of the young members of the community says a lot about the kind of society we are in.