By James Myers
My heart nearly broke when I read that, in the UK, children are suspects in 52% of sexual abuses against other children. This technologically fuelled catastrophe is not what childhood is supposed to be about.
The Guardian quotes the deputy director of the UK’s National Crime Agency: “We are now seeing hyperrealistic images and videos of abuse being created using artificial intelligence, for example, while the rollout of end-to-end encryption by technology platforms makes it a lot more difficult for us to protect children.”
Easy access to violent porn on the mobile phones of children is a significant contributor to physical violence. Phones are also used to make and distribute indecent images, accounting for a quarter of the 107,000 reports of sexual abuse against children in the UK. In one reported case, a four-year-old is alleged to have used a phone to upload a sexual image of a sibling.
How on Earth can we let this happen to children?
For those of us who lived Before The Internet (which arrived in my world in 1996), childhood could be a time for innocence, exploring, imagination, and learning from each other. I was blessed that was the case for me as a child in the 1970s, and as I recall my young self full of hope and ideals, I am more determined than ever to go above and beyond the call of duty to restore a time like that to today’s children. It is, ultimately, the reason why I launched The Quantum Record, because a shared and peaceful philosophy of technology would set the best stage for their future.
We should be setting a much better stage than we are.
It is a tragedy that war, disease, and poverty rob the majority of the world’s children from the benefits of innocence, exploring, imagination, and learning. But it’s the duty of those of us who made it through either the bad or good times of childhood to show our love and cherishing of the world’s children. And if we need a selfish motive for duty, let’s remember that none other than they will be taking care of us in our old age, and they are the only ones who are carrying our hopes and dreams into the future.
I repeat: protection of children is a duty of all of us, even those of us who have no children of our own. We were all once children, and none of us would want to have grown up with adult fears, phobias, and power games infecting our developing minds. I weep for so many children whose minds were poisoned to commit crimes against their peers, and I weep for their victims.
And I am angered that this is happening when it’s our duty to be on guard for the defenceless children.
Do we want the future to repeat and multiply the mistakes of the past? If we allow technology to run rampant in in this way and steal the joy of childhood from the minds of so many, how will they ever be able to find their way to a better future? It’s a future that now looks bleak, and so desperately needs their leadership, because as adults we are failing the test of leadership in the present and our sad legacy will be a poisoned planet and poisoned minds.
For Heaven’s sake, we must protect the children. We are in breach of trust if we fail to carry through on the responsibility that our parents endowed on us.
We are creating a debt for which we will never be forgiven, when we mortgage the future of the children for our selfish enjoyment of the moment.
Time is unforgiving. The moment comes and goes in the blink of an eye, but the future is forever. The present has value only if it leads to a better future, but with no future value there is no present value. We forget this, in our mathematical calculations of present value, and that’s not only to our own peril but at a dreadful cost to those who will carry the sum of our hopes, dreams, and efforts beyond our own limited lives.
Let’s not let the time slip away from us, before we do the right thing for them.