Maimane post draws ‘cyberbully’
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.