EDITORIAL Leaked sex tapes: Time for students to be wise

By Ikenna Emewu

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The most challenging time for cautious living and wisdom is now. Anybody that had groomed in reckless ways should be aware that the party is over.

In 2016, in a training for reporters at the English Online department of the People’s Daily of China, Beijing, I had tasked fellow journalists that this is the most precarious era to practice journalism because the internet never forgets our good and bad reports.

Every content we put up and take down immediately is already stored somewhere even for a minute of being on. The worldwide web (www) using the awesomely fast hyper-text transfer protocols (http) spreads at almost the speed of light and in all directions and to all users. Today, 64% of world population, some 4.8b people, is hooked to the internet. Some of them install automated filters programmed to capture and store any material related to the interest of the consumer. It is so delicate that before you take down what was posted, it had hit such auto sites and get trapped that any piece assigned a universal resource locator (url) or web ID is never removed from the internet. You can only take it down from your site, not from the internet. After you take down a material from your site, search for it on any of the engines, and it still pops up.

In the past five years, there has been rise in internet access that far outstrips world population growth. The rate of rise in internet usage is some 9.2%, while use via mobile gadgets is at 11% growth and they imply higher rate of information access. In like manner, the wrong use of the internet for dissemination of hurtful information is equally alarming. Through the internet, many have met their deaths in false posts and invitations and many committed suicide as a result of embarrassing posts like nudity, sex act, bribe and crimes that expose individuals involved to public odium to the extent that they prefer to take their lives than stand the shame.

Recently, a high profile case of sex tape of a US Congresswoman and her aide allegedly published by her ex-husband shook the world.

The Nigeria Cybercrime Act, 2015 criminalizes what it terms revenge porn, which is post on the internet of sex act or nudity of an individual with intent to hurt.

And the porosity of the web makes it most times difficult to track the source of the post and because of the money, time and expertise and even secrecy hurdles the service providers would bring up, the victim might not be able to go through the rigours to get justice and take to suicide to escape the shame.

In the past two weeks, the Nigeria social media or internet space and the netizens have been treated to two sex tapes all involving students in their school campuses.

While we can argue that they are consenting adults and that consensual sex is no crime, it is strictly the private life of the involved persons. First was that of the Babcock University, which even the school would not condone and later sacked the students involved, another surfaced on November 20 from the Edo Sate Polytechnic, involving two students. All these happened within the school premises and at very inappropriate places. Institutions thrive on good public image and wouldn’t be silent about acts that impugn on their reputation, hence the reaction of sack.

The incidents task the circumspection of adults and students as misdeeds are sticky, and like the internet, the society unfortunately doesn’t forget.

While as adults the students have their rights to their acts, they should watch it as the motives of the partners are becoming unclear and sinister. We don’t know who actually leaks the tapes, but we ask, first, who recorded the tapes and why. If the motive is just the hormone nudge, why does a lady or man record a sex act between him or her with the partner?

It is getting clearer that there is no fun in such recording as they would be used for blackmail or destruction of individuals. Many years ago, a Nigerian actress took out her laptop for repair and the sex tapes in it leaked. There is also the possibility that some of these leaked sex tapes were recorded for some weird fun and the recording got into other hands that put them to disastrous use.

The students need caution these days on who they have sex with and what they do with their gadgets during such acts to stave off some untoward outcomes. Students should also act within their homes and private places regarding sex because if a school faces threat of widespread sexual immorality by students and others, the management might decide to install cameras at some public places to instill deterrence. Such recordings can be relied on to punish erring students.

Summation is that students need wisdom and caution because any expelled victims live with the shame, a frustrated future, possible suicide and ruining of the efforts and investment of the family or parents in such students. The repercussions are quite enormous and should be avoided even for the image of our education system.

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