PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

I see a lot of parents even famous ones create social media accounts for their children, but do they take the dangers of social media into account? Several years ago I came across a video posted by Bark, a tech company, who decided to show parents what can happen to kids as young as 12 on social media. These kids are easy meat to pedophiles, who will work hard to coerce, abuse, collect photos and videos of these kids and use that to get more.

Once this 37 year old mom transformed into a 11 year old girl, they immediately received inappropriate questions. In the video, they mentioned a lot of these lurkers go unreported, which I think contributes to this problem’s perpetuation, but also due to lack of understanding and awareness. The authorities cannot build a relationship with your children for you, you have to build trust, honesty, and teach them about the dark side of using social media, considering that a statistic collected by Guard Child states that 67% of teens said they know how to hide their online activities from their parents.

According to Statista, 35% of Romanian women experienced sexual harassment since 15 years old, compared to 55% of British women with 29% of sexual crime relationships were initiated on a social media platform. Even if you are millennial, a YouGov 2017 survey discovered that 29% of women received unwanted body pictures(I’m being classy for the sake of this post) from strangers.  

Photo by Sora Shimazaki for Pexels.com

It’s not just Instagram and Snapchat which were mentioned by Bark’s video, but also Twitter, where porn also doesn’t get removed, despite reports from users, even if you report photo manipulations (celebrity faces pasted on porn pics for example – I tried it). Your minor boys aren’t safe either. ‘’Influencer’’ James Charles flirted many times with minor boys on TikTok, and defended himself saying he will ask for ID next time he will have a conversation with a guy, among other things, and had no charges pressed because he’s rich.

Back in February 2022, Pink News reported on a man who created a fake account on a dating app posing as a lesbian and was caught by the Cumbria Constabulary, who worked undercover. The groomer denied accusations, but they had too much evidence, like the times the man asked for explicit photos and s*x acts, all of which led to his 27 month sentencing, but now looking at what he did, clearly is not enough, even if he has to sign sex offenders register and abide by sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Virtual kidnappings are also an increasing trend and the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI)’s special agent Siobhan Johnson issued a warning to the public about it in March 2022. The definition of virtual kidnapping is ‘’An extortion scheme wherein people receive phone calls telling them their loved one has been kidnapped and will be killed or harmed if they do not immediately go to the bank and wire money’’. One of the ways to identify a virtual kidnapping is asking how the victim looks like, which they were seen to struggle answering. The special agent gives parents tips to prevent the scam, like having a password if one of your kids is indeed in trouble, and to never share travel details(location, dates) online, because scammers search for victims that way.

This is why I think the internet needs to be policed more, for safety reasons. I wonder what Elon Musk will do now, after he made an offer to buy Twitter for $41.39 billion and got blocked. After news that he became the platform’s biggest shareholder, Vanguard upped their stake in the platform, so clearly someone was upset not being number 1. That put aside, this post is just a reminder to have fun with social media responsibly.

FRANCE BANNED PLASTIC WRAP FOR FRUITS AND VEG – AND SO SHOULD WE

Back in 2019, I saw this story and thought just how beautiful this Asian supermarket looked, with all fruits and veg wrapped up in banana leaves, and the difference it makes! Our global stories are chocked by plastic containers and wraps, and this is one of the solutions which worked for them, so I wonder why our European stores can’t switch to beeswax food wraps which are natural and reusable, and they are easy to find on Amazon for example.

Photo credit: Perfect Homes Chiangmai

It would make a tremendous difference in the pocket of plastic manufacturers, I’m sure of that, but since we’re phasing out plastic might as well switch to manufacturing beeswax wrappings, if they would actually do market research and listen to the results(give them a hand Kantar). France is ahead of the sustainability game, as the country banned plastic wrap for fruits and veg to eventually go plastic free by 2026, and so should we! This ban took effect on Jan 1st, 2022, according to GMO Free USA’s Facebook page. Spain is also set to follow suit in 2023.

Free the cucumbers! Now if you happen to shop in France, you won’t see around 30 types of fruits and veg in plastic packaging, like peppers, cucumbers, leeks, which are my pantry favorites. The Guardian reported that producers are allowed to take their time to find alternatives to plastic packaging for chopped and processed fruits, which is disappointing, do we really need chopped fruit? Moïra Tourneur advocacy manager at Zero Waste France(NGO) had the same feelings saying ‘’ Giving more time for certain fruit and vegetables is a bit of a shame.’’ You really can’t buy whole fruit and chop it at home? Let’s tackle all aspects of consumerism not just the convenient side.

Soon to be historical photograph of strawberries in plastic cups, by
Julia Filirovska for Pexels.com

Last December, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers that ‘’State’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and ‘packing peanuts’ begins Jan. 1, 2022’’, and learned from Commissioner Seggos that ‘’Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers already live in communities that are ‘foam free’’ and I think we can learn from how they do it. Plastic wraps and packaging are mostly unnecessary, and don’t prevent waste, but the contrary, Wrap UK found.

So what do organisations do with all this plastic swimming around? Two friends were on holiday in Julie’s hometown of Marseille noticing that the sea looked different than the postcards, and decided to collect plastic found in the sea and turn into magical sneakers, under the name Corail. Corail is a brand that employs fishermen to pluck out plastic waste which then is processed and turned into sneakers by an artisanal workshop in Portugal. What’s even more beautiful is that once the sneakers are at the end of their life, worn out, they can be recycled and processed again by the brand. It lights up my soul that there are people out there working on making the world a better place for us all, a shoe and a cup at a time.