I watched the bilingual movie Asha Black and was struck on how Internet can be such a dangerous place for people, especially teen girls who are deprived of familial love, attention and tender, nurturing care.
Asha Black is a true story filmed. The story is about a teen girl Asha who found the treasure trove called the Internet and soon found herself adrift with the cyber communication world. Learning that guys won’t chat if she tells her actual age, she began to lie about her age, telling guys that she is older than she really is. Thinking all of the guys who praised her beauty are genuine and when they asked explicit photos of herself, she readily gave them. She also made video calls to guys just so that they would not leave her. Unknown even to Asha, her behaviour was not due to raging pubescent hormones, it was a yearn for love, any type of love that her family failed to shower on her. After that, she was subjected to blackmail by a guy, that he would release her photos to porn sites if she doesn’t pander to his and his friends’ sexual wants.
As a result of such pressure, Asha commits suicide and her friend from India who also got to know her through the Internet and has fallen in love with her comes to meet Asha in Malaysia, learns about Asha’s suicide, hacks into her Internet contacts on Facebook and Gmail, gets to know the persons behind Asha’s suicide and takes revenge by going on a killing spree in downtown Kuala Lumpur, including Asha’s primary school security guard who takes advantage of Asha’s familial love deprivation and repeatedly rapes her when she was 9 years old. When Asha’s mother discovers Asha bleeding from down there, she was taken to a clinic and the doctor confirms rape. But, Asha’s father refrains from lodging a police complaint against the security guard for status and honour reasons.
Asha Black is a movie every teen and parent should watch. Forget Shankar’s I.
Internet and its dangers to gullible teen girls
We are living in an increasingly globalised world where free flowing information from the Internet is the order of the day and privacy is becoming a word many people nowadays don’t really adhere to especially in Internet chat rooms and social medias like Facebook and Whatsapp. Everything, from what your last meal was to the fact you developed a zit on your face is posted and then discussed very seriously. UN maanadu kude thoturum.
Young girls are the most vulnerable to Internet sexual abuse. Ever heard the term revenge porn? Like selfie, ROFL, LMAO and other Internet connected terms, revenge porn is a new term that is exclusive to the Internet world to humiliate young girls who broke up with their boyfriends, refuse to pander to sexual advances or any other motive that ultimately boils down to vengeance and they turn to the global network called Internet to extend their agenda.
And do yo know why revenge porn is gaining popularity and demand for it rising? It is because of the nature of revenge porn – it is circulated without the consent of the person and that fact makes it more sexually exciting which is twisted but not new. That’s the base rape operate on. Blackmailing the afflicted girl to come on web cam, send more nude pictures of herself, calling her bitch, slut, whore, etc as well as harassment for sexual favours can traumatise the girl, resulting in her taking wrong decisions to avert humiliation like ending her life.
Moral policing Facebook pages also provide a platform for revenge porn to take place. The admins of the pages constantly shame such girls with demeaning captions and Indians who are controversy hungry and having the affinity to comment on the personal lives of others especially of young Indian girls besiege such posts.
And, it is not only young girls are vulnerable, young boys are too. Even adults. So no one is really immune to this new form of harassment and avenging that use the advent of Internet. Yet, the most vulnerable ones are teen girls especially those girls who’s parents don’t show much affection to, have their own room and gadgets like laptop or smartphones parents give to kids with Internet connection in replacement for love and attention that can be experienced and felt.
Teens nowadays are so much ‘smarter’ and ‘mature’ and Internet is not a threat
I wrote about swag culture (spelled as swaq) that is taking teens, particularly Indian teens who have Internet connection and social media accounts by storm. The post went viral and garnered more comments then I could reply to. Most of the commentators subjected me to great flak that I was being too judgmental, caustic and even curtailing their freedom. Many told me that this is a non issue and said that this fad is a century old. Some used the logic that in order to be old and wise, you first have to be young and wise. Well, what if the teens die before they get to be old and wise? Die as in unnatural death, at their own hands. But, the most disturbing thing I noticed in the comments for my article was that I should cut some slack for the teens of today because they are much ‘smarter’ and ‘mature’ than my generation.
If maturity and smartness are defined by sending nude photos to guys they barely know and later suffer due to blackmail and other abuses online, uploading ‘intellectual’ statuses like the below and have a huge number of Internet contacts and Facebook followers who in time, screw the lives of the smart and mature teen girls and them, in due course, making ill thought decisions then sure, godspeed.
Of course it’s completely normal to have crushes due to raging hormones when one is in his/her teen age (it’s abnormal if a teen doesn’t develop feelings for the opposite sex/same sex in the case of homo and bisexuality) but to send nude pics to wolves under sheep fleece in the Internet chat rooms/social media who are constantly on the lookout for young girls who upload/pictures that convey the message that they lack attention and love at home thus finding them online and would cling onto whomever showers all of that they are deprived of and do anything they say so that they won’t leave them are foolish and self detrimental acts.
Yes, chatting on the Internet is fun and praises like, “You are beautiful.” or “Your hair is amazing.” are flattering but Internet cannot synthesize what’s lurking behind the minds of such people. Nowadays, not only one cannot trust Internet contacts, even your best friend might break the trust you have in him or her, so what more strangers you knew only for several days/weeks/months. Don’t trust anybody. The only people in this world who want you to live well are your parents. Only trust them fully, not Internet contacts who ask for your nude/semi nude pics. They ask for such pics not to detect whether you have an elevated risk for breast cancer or skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis; they ask such pics for them to wank off at and to show off to their friends the ‘acquisition’ you trusted them with. I have seen so many cases, some of which who are my friends.
Just see the comments on the pic of Indian actresses like Anushka and Katrina Kaif on Facebook. Most of em are depraved and the guys ask the girls who comment on the pics of actresses to add them, going, “Add me dear.”
And, indeed impressionable teen girls melt at such endearing words like, dear, darling, peaches, sweetheart, honey, princess, cherry blossom etc. Surprised? Don’t be. I get such chats all the time and I am cold and rude to such people. Of course they say that I am supercilious but I am not on Facebook to flirt with unknown, potentially salaciously predatory guys.
And, everyone does stupid things when they were teens. I did too, within the means available, including the Internet when I was a teen but I had my mom and dad to ground and guide me throughout my teen years, something those girls and boys on Internet apparently don’t have.
Parents, scrutinize your kids’ Internet activities, make them know the value of work and money and teach your kids good values
Almost everyone tends to keep their parents at a distance when they are in their teen years and in this gadget imbued world the more familial ties got stretched.
The problem is, many parents these days trust their kids too much, too early. This is not to say that parents should not trust their kids at all. Together with trust, supervision is required. You trust your baby that he/she won’t fall down when he/she take his/her first steps but you do keep an eye on he/she in case your baby falls down right? Same system. Your teen daughter might think she doesn’t need you but she does, very much. It’s just that she doesn’t know it.
Internet is a precarious, specious place for teen girls so it is crucial that parents ensure that their teen daughters are doing stuff their age warrant. Nowadays girls as young as 12 are giving blowjob/making out with their boyfriends, it being recorded on web cam, then circulated in Internet. Kaalam maari pochi.
Make sure your teen children keep you as their Internet contacts and be their Facebook friend list along with your other kids and extended family. Many kids block their parents and relatives on Facebook later on and if you find out that they did so, coerce them to deactivate their Facebook account on the grounds, “If you have nothing to hide from me, why can’t I be your Facebook friend?” They will protest that it’s not cool, say stop interfering in my life, you are such an embarrassment, I hate you, throw all kinds of tantrums and this is where it is important to tell your kids that life is not a bed of roses.
My niece, once she got 7As in UPSR, her mother, who’s my sister and my other siblings thought it is akin to her completing PhD. The girl got much money as prize money as an encouraging award for her to emulate her feat in upcoming exams. She blatantly refused to give the money to her mother or use it to buy books and got herself a smartphone instead. Then she became increasingly domineering and irreverent towards her mother and father but I dare not say anything because parents these days don’t like others giving bad reviews on their kids. I monitored her Facebook activities though and found that she was not spared from the swaq trend. She even had many boyfriends and posted photos of her with her boyfriends on Facebook like it is a matter of pride. All the attention she got from Internet contacts made her feel that she’s pretty and wanted. The last status I saw my niece uploaded before blocking me, and of course her every family member was, “That irritating moment when your mother scold you for bathing late. Just put on headphones and listen to music larh. Those who agree, hit like.” See how she is completely oblivious that without her mother, taking care of her, sending and fetching her to and fro from school and tuition, making sure she is fed, etc she wouldn’t have got 7As in UPSR. These type of kids are the ones who abandon their aged parents in old folks home once they are working adults. Partly, parents are to blame. They conceal their hardships from their children resulting in the kids not knowing the travails they go through to see their kids through university and later, employment.
Many parents nowadays don’t tell their kids about how hard it is to make money that they use to buy stuff including gadgets for their kids. Keataka, pullinggelukku kashtam teriyakudathu ah ma. In many rich households, maids or grandparents who don’t know the difference between Internet and Facebook or even know what are those in the first place replace parents.
In my family, my brother once told his wife not to tell their 5 year old son to switch off electrical appliances once he’s done using them or when not using them because telling so will make the kid feel deprived. My brother failed to get the difference between deprivation and prudence and many parents nowadays are in his league material wise. They fail to see what are the necessities for their kids and what will make them spoilt brats.
My niece is in Form 3 now and she has only grown more unappreciative of her parents. Her mother had fallen so ill that she couldn’t go to work for months. Her only daughter doesn’t even care that her mother isn’t well and unable to work and it reflected in her actions. The barely 15 year old girl did rebonding on her long hair and when she was down at my place, I saw her manicured, long fingernails when she asked me Wifi password. Are those the attributes of a 14+ year old daughter worrying about her stiffly sick mother? Obviously my niece only cares about her happiness. And, why does a school going girl has to care so much about her looks? Is rebonding necessary for a school going girl? In actuality, I look younger than my niece. When I visited my sister’s house recently to pass something along with my brother, sister-in-law and mother, it was 9 pm and my niece was still in her school uniform and haven’t showered yet. When her father mildly rebuked her on why she hasn’t showered yet and that she has school tomorrow, she snapped at him, “It is not you who hasn’t showered and it isn’t you who will go to school tomorrow so mind your business,” and her dad grew quiet. All of us were stumped and lapsed into silence. It angers and saddens me at the same time because I am powerless to do anything about it. I am just an aunt. If she can talk like that to her parents, what more to an aunt. I am the youngest of my siblings as well and I’m only vociferous when writing and debating with strangers not at my family because words will break family ties.
My youngest uncle, conversely, would take both his teen sons to the plantation site owned by their grandma and make the kids work until their tees get drenched in sweat, every weekend. The eldest boy is now a 3rd year medical student and the second boy is pursuing chemical engineering at University Petronas. Both boys are humble, hardworking and wherever their parents go, be it funeral or wedding or Thaipusam the boys tag along, never going astray with friends. Now, that’s effective children upbringing.
Many parents nowadays, in the name of being friends with their teenage children are afraid of them. The scenario of my niece is true in many families. Children nowadays don’t appreciate their parents because they don’t know what their parents go through in order to bring food to the table, gadgets on their palms and Internet connection to their smartphone. You are a parent first, friend second. Your kids are your responsibility.
Teach your kids values Internet can’t teach like thankfulness, kindness and most importantly show love towards them by hugging them and putting your arm around their shoulders at random. Stuff like laptop, smartphone, tab, iPod, Internet, etc are just stuff, they cannot impart love and they don’t account as parental love. Giving each of your kid a gadget with Internet connection and you not watching their online activities might end up resulting like the story of the short film below:
For those well off parents whose teen kids have everything they can ever ask for, instead of celebrating their birthdays grandly in hotels, celebrate their birthdays at orphanages. Every morning, before going to school, give your kids a fistful of raw rice and tell them to feed the birds. Take your children to pet shelters and make them give cat and dog food to the animals there with their own hands. If there are no pet shelters where you live, accompany your children to feed stray dogs and cats or your neighbours’ pet dogs and cats or better still, entrust a pet under your teen kid’s care. Teach them to plant plants and tell them the importance of keeping the environment clean. Make them help you with household chores. Tell them to save some of their pocket money in piggy banks and instill in them the attitude of helping less fortunate people. Teach your kids to share. Ensure that they experience life outside the Internet amply enough so that your kids don’t get adrift in the virtual world that has many menaces.
There are many things in life that you can’t just Google to know and understand.
We are increasingly becoming ‘unfeeling’; we are becoming robots whose neural schema (brain) has become tenuous. Kids nowadays would have had 8 relationships and 25 or so simultaneous love relationships on the Internet by the time they are 18 and the cosmos is on the palm of their hands in the form of gadgets. But all that does not make kids smart and mature and they need parental guidance. Why have children when you won’t even spend time for them, introduce facts of life to them, tell them how hard you work to provide for them and teach them good values? You expect laptops, smartphones and other gadgets that require Internet connection and school teachers to teach your kids all about life? What’s your role then?
Everything has a good and bad side. The one you feed will grow. This adage cannot be more true when applied to Internet and its usage by teen girls.