The online community in Egypt has been outraged by a video posted on YouTube by a blogger named Heba El Sayed. In the video, she claims to have walked in on her children in a compromising position in their bedroom. The blogger, accompanied by her young children, has faced allegations of exploiting her children and violating their dignity in the video.
This incident highlights the growing concern over the exploitation of children for the sake of online content creation. In recent years, the trend of “family vlogging” has gained popularity, with parents documenting their children’s lives and experiences on social media platforms.
The Video and Its Fallout
The incident involving blogger Heba El Sayed and her children has sparked outrage and a heated debate in the online community in Egypt. El Sayed, who is known for her controversial content, posted a video on YouTube claiming to have walked in on her children engaging in sexual activity with each other.
For obvious reasons, we won’t be sharing the video, but it’s worth mentioning that the children look scared, embarrassed, and overall traumatized by what’s happening to them by their mother while she is happily telling the story.
The blogger is facing allegations of exploiting her children and violating their dignity in the video, especially since she stated that she was not concerned about the shame that may be attached to her children’s behavior and emphasized the need to expose it.
Noha El Gendy, a lawyer, filed a complaint with the Egyptian prosecutor general accusing the blogger of exploiting her children and violating their dignity in the video. The lawyer further accused the blogger of seeking to increase her views and profits through the video, which she considered a violation of children’s rights, according to local media reports.
El Gendy argued that the mother’s behavior is unacceptable as it exposes her children to danger and threatens their moral upbringing. The lawyer further added that the video constitutes an attack on the values of the Egyptian family and its principles.
In the video, the content creator claimed that she noticed strange behavior from her children when she entered their bedroom and discovered that one of them was engaging in sexual behavior with their sibling. She also stated that she was not concerned about the shame that may be attached to her children’s behavior and emphasized the need to expose it.
Following the video’s release, Rami El Gebali, the founder of the “Missing Children” page, warned of the social disasters that need to be confronted and urged an end to the obsession with content creation. He criticized the mother’s actions, stating that she filmed her children and asked them about their brother’s behavior in front of the camera for people to see, forgetting that they are children with friends.
El Gebali announced that he had filed a complaint against the mother with the Egyptian public prosecutor’s office, the child protection office, and the child rescue hotline. The incident has sparked a heated debate on social media platforms, with many expressing their concerns about the exploitation of children for the sake of online content creation.
The Legal and Ethical Implications
The National Council for Motherhood and Childhood has announced the expected punishment for blogger Heba El Sayed, following her publication of a video claiming that she caught her child and his sister engaging in sexual activity.
According to a source within the National Council, the penalty for such an offense can range from three to seven years in prison, as determined and ruled by the judicial authorities after reviewing the incident.
The incident was detected through the “Nageh” child protection hotline, which received reports from social media sites. The relevant authorities were promptly notified, and it was revealed that Heba El Sayed, the woman involved in the incident, is from the Khosoos area of the Qalyubia governorate.
According to the law, this incident constitutes the commercial and economic exploitation of children to gain a percentage of views, thereby endangering their safety and morality. It violates the dignity and rights of the child and exposes them to danger, as stipulated in Article 96 of the Child Law No. 12 of 1996, as amended by Law No. 126 of 2008, and is considered a crime of sexual assault under the Egyptian Penal Code provisions.
Furthermore, this incident is a violation of the principles and values of family in Egyptian society, as per Article 25 of Law No. 175 of 2018 on Combating Information Technology Crimes, and contravenes Article 291 of the Penal Code, which prohibits any infringement upon the child’s right to protection from trafficking or sexual or commercial exploitation, as well as Law No. 64 of 2010 on Combating Human Trafficking.
YouTube’s Inadequate Content Moderation in the Middle East: The Need for Greater Protection of Children Online
YouTube and other social media platforms have come under fire for allowing the spread of harmful content, including videos that exploit and fetishize children. This case is only one amongst many, but it has brought renewed attention to the need for better content moderation.
Last year, the YouTube channel “Omnia Stars” was also called out for posting videos that feature the injection of her children, including in private areas, supposedly for educational purposes, but it’s quite apparent it’s for sexual purposes. Some videos even show the use of suppositories.
Such content is not only highly inappropriate but also constitutes clear instances of sexual misconduct and child abuse, which is illegal under Egyptian law.
Despite several reports and personal outreach to Google and YouTube representatives in Egypt, the channel remains active and continues to garner millions of views.
This raises serious questions about YouTube’s content moderation policies, especially regarding Arabic-language content, which has been found to have inadequate moderation. This lack of oversight is particularly concerning given the high incidence of child trafficking in the Middle East and the need for greater vigilance to protect children from exploitation.
As social media platforms continue to grow in popularity and influence, it is imperative that they take responsibility for the content they allow on their platforms. This includes not only implementing more robust moderation policies but also ensuring that they are enforced consistently and equitably across all languages and regions.
Ultimately, the safety and well-being of children must be a top priority for everyone involved in creating and consuming online content. We must hold social media platforms accountable for their role in preventing the spread of harmful content and protecting vulnerable populations, including children.
In Egypt, the issue of child protection has been a longstanding concern. The country has taken steps to address the issue, including passing laws and establishing hotlines for reporting child abuse. However, more needs to be done to ensure that children are protected from all forms of exploitation, abuse, and harm.