Listen Live

When WhatsApp messages go viral: Kidnapping voice note fuels panic

When you receive a 'viral' WhatsApp message telling you that there is a strike or expected chaos on the roads, do you stop to ask yourself if this is true or do you fuel the panic?

Black woman texting
Cute mixed girl in train chatting via smartphone/ iStock/ Photographer: skyNext

Listen as Thora Mansfield, Founder of the Open Door Crisis Centre talks about the voice note that went viral on Whatsapp, or read the details under the podcast. 

On Wednesday, my phone was bombarded on WhatsApp with a voice note that was doing the rounds. The voice note is terrifying and speaks of children being stolen, and even went on to say that there were three gangs operating in KZN. The person also went on to state the areas these alleged syndicates operate in.  

Read: SA Kidnappings: How to keep your children safe

Listen to the voice note below:

In light of the recent kidnappings and missing children cases doing the rounds, it is no wonder that someone created this message. Maybe they were doing this as a genuine act or they wanted some attention, no one can really say. However, parents are becoming even more panic-stricken and want to do everything possible to protect their children from any violence. 

It's frightening to know that we have to always be watching over our shoulders and have to begin instilling this form of thinking in the minds of young children, to always be alert and attentive of their surroundings. I was just thinking, maybe we are going to have to start sending our children to self-defense classes so that they know how to protect themselves. Wow, even writing this makes me sad. 

According to Missing Children South Africa, the alarming reality is that one child goes missing every five hours in our country.  

Read: Captured: The Reality of SA’s Kidnapping Crisis

I am not taking away the severity of this mind-numbing action, and while this triggered another conversation with my kids around safety and our family safe word, I had to wonder about the authenticity.

In the past, we have been scared by daily flood warnings, protests, and fear of running out of fuel, not to mention highjacking and all sorts of crime-related voice notes.

I get that these are sent on from phone to phone with the best intention, but we seriously need to check if they are true before sending on, as this mass panic causes more chaos than is necessary.

Read: Police appeal for witnesses in missing Maritzburg teen's case

I was sent this particular message more than 10 times, and even from someone in Cape Town and a lawyer.

It's great that we look out for each other but fake news causes stressful hysteria.

In addition to the WhatsApp voice note, here’s another message doing the rounds. See the picture below:

Whatsapp group
Screenshot/ WhatsApp Message

Show's Stories