Alzain Borashed famous child on social media Image Credit: Instagram

Kuwait: Parents and guardians of child celebrities on social media in Kuwait have been given a week's time to end the exploitation of their children for lucrative purposes or face prison for up to seven years.

The juvenile police said that they spotted 30 social media accounts posting clips of children and that after scrutiny they concluded that 18 were not complying with the rules and regulations.

The police summoned the account holders and told them to heed the warning issued as part of protecting children from being used to achieve fame and spin money, Al Qabas daily reported.

"They signed pledges to shut down the accounts or to delete scenes of children and not to repeat their violation of the Children's Law. The police warned them that in case of non-compliance, they would be referred to courts on the charge of commercial exploitation of children," sources told the daily.

Kuwait's public prosecution on Monday issued a set of guidelines to ensure that children aged 13 and less are adequately protected from the potential dangers associated with social media.

The prosecution warned against exploiting children in advertisements and promotion campaigns for financial gains on social media, but allowed "positive" publicity that promotes social services and build positive characters.

Child celebrities

Many celebrities in Kuwait are exploiting their children to get more clicks, one of them is the famous social media influencer called Dr kholod, who posts daily pictures and videos of her daughter under an Arabic handle “Baby Kholod”.

The problem once you search for that handle you get all kinds of advertisements, from beauty and diet products, to services and commercial advertisments. Random people exploiting the child name.

Another account which has more than 87 thousand followers is of a girl not more than 10 years old, called Alzain Borashed. The account is run by her mother and identify her as “Little Fashionista”.

In her bio the mother posts a phone number for advertisers and sponsors to call in case of a business opportunity.

On the other hand Zainah Alsafar, who is also not older than 10 years, has 240 thousand follower.

Her account is managed by a relative and in her bio she is described as a model. Her posts range from dancing videos, to clothes and accessory modelling

Guidelines

The new law bans pictures and videos of children wearing accessories, putting on makeup, dancing or uttering obscene words, the prosecution said, explaining that they violated public morals, principles and values.

The guidelines were drafted by the Kuwait's Supreme National Committee for Child Protection (SNCCP) in cooperation with the juvenile prosecution. No child under 13 is allowed to set up an account on social media or to interact with other accounts. The guidelines prohibit the posting of pictures of children naked, in their underwear or taking baths or showers. News that constitute an invasion of privacy or an intrusion into the personal lives of children are also off limits.

Children may not be subjected to mental abuse of any work or action that undermines their dignity or humiliates them, such as publishing funny, sarcastic and embarrassing pictures, ridiculing or making fun of them or posting pictures or clips that offend them religiously, ethically, morally or socially.

Kuwait has been pushing for programmes and rules to protect children, considered among the most vulnerable and easy to be influenced segments of the society.

Last month, the juvenile prosecution said that 1,880 crimes were committed by 2,071 juveniles last year and that 79 per cent of the perpetrators were aged between 15 and 18.

The rate of crimes by this age group has increased in the past five years by 250 per cent.

The largest increase was in traffic crimes, followed by drugs and liquor cases.

According to the report published by Al Jarida, a local daily, 83 per cent of convicted juveniles came from affluent families, while nine per cent committed their crimes after they were influenced by social media figures

With inputs from Sara Al Shurafa