Maimane post draws ‘cy­ber­bully’

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - AN­NIE DORASAMY an­[email protected]

IT’S A proud mo­ment for ev­ery par­ent, tak­ing their child to school for the first time and cap­tur­ing the event. But post­ing the photo on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, es­pe­cially when you are a pub­lic fig­ure, might not be a good idea, says dig­i­tal me­dia ex­pert Arthur Gold­stuck from World Wide Worx.

Gold­stuck was re­spond­ing to the Twit­ter storm which erupted af­ter a tweet by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Wed­nes­day in which he cel­e­brated his son Daniel’s first day in Grade 1.

Maimane first posted a photo of the two of them walk­ing in the cor­ri­dor of his son’s school. He then tweeted a photo of Daniel’s school­bag and said: “Wish­ing all

Gr1 par­ents great suc­cess. Our chil­dren start a new chap­ter. Filled with hope for a fu­ture where dreams can be ful­filled. I want to live in an SA where chil­dren can have teach­ers who work hard and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

A tweeter known as @Go­betse re­sponded say­ing: “With a copy­cat fa­ther like you he’ll def­i­nitely be copy­ing every­thing from other kids in class.”

@Go­betse re­ceived a back­lash from Twit­ter, with users con­demn­ing his com­ments about Daniel.

Speak­ing on be­half of Maimane, the DA’S deputy chief of staff

Gra­ham Char­ters said they were not re­ally con­cerned.

“There are lots of trolls on

Twit­ter. We ig­nore them and get on with the job of build­ing one South Africa for all,” said Char­ters.

But while he brushed off the at­tack on Maimane and his son, Gold­stuck la­belled it cy­ber bul­ly­ing. He said par­ents should pro­tect their chil­dren from any fu­ture dam­age that they may suf­fer as a re­sult of so­cial me­dia ex­po­sure. “Pub­lic fig­ures should not post pho­tos of their chil­dren on so­cial me­dia. On the other hand, peo­ple on so­cial me­dia should be more sen­si­tive and re­mem­ber that these are chil­dren and at­tack­ing a child on so­cial me­dia can be deemed as child abuse, es­pe­cially when an adult is go­ing on so­cial me­dia and at­tack­ing a child.

“Peo­ple should un­der­stand that Mmusi is a fa­ther and, like any fa­ther, ex­cited about this ex­cit­ing event in his child’s life,” said Gold­stuck. He said there was no ex­cuse for bul­ly­ing a child and that it was un­ac­cept­able.

The gen­eral prin­ci­ple, ac­cord­ing to Gold­stuck, was that if a child was not old enough to give per­mis­sion to be fea­tured on so­cial me­dia then they should not be placed there at all.

“Once chil­dren are old enough to de­cide whether they want to be ex­posed, you should ask their per­mis­sion. For ex­am­ple, we al­ways ask our teenage chil­dren be­fore we can post them on Face­book if it is okay for us to do so and show them what we are post­ing, in or­der to pre­vent us from post­ing some­thing that they may per­ceive as em­bar­rass­ing,” he said.

Gold­stuck said some­times pub­lic fig­ures wanted to show that they were also hu­man and the pub­lic needed to ap­pre­ci­ate that.

ANC MP Jack­son Mthembu also tweeted a photo of his son, Xolani, be­ing ac­com­pa­nied to school by his wife Thembi on Wed­nes­day.

How­ever, Mthembu got a dif­fer­ence re­ac­tion on Twit­ter when he pointed out that his son was at­tend­ing a pub­lic and not a pri­vate school.


MMUSI Maimane posted this photo of him­self and his son Daniel on Twit­ter on Wed­nes­day.

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