How Do We Protect Our youths during the pandemic season?
In the months following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been disturbing reports from within the estate and immediate neighbouring estates of cases of children, mostly young teens, going missing from homes. When most of these cases are investigated, it is either a case of kidnapping or men eloping with our girls. Whether its case 1 or 2 is very disturbing for parents.
We also have rising cases of rape and teenage pregnancies and as you would guess abortions and other related ills in our society.
It is easy to attribute some of these issues to the ongoing Covid-19 situation that has necessitated prolonged homestay for our children. Children are also getting tired sitting at home, and are scheming how to get out of our homes, to go out there where the risks await.
Extensive use of phones and availability of internet, which inevitably is a basic need for e-learning now, has not helped matters.
Most of our children and especially the teenagers are completely addicted to the social media platforms available and the enabler is you, the parent.
You buy internet and provide the gadget for access. This is not a crime but are you ready to take responsibility for how the Internet is consumed by your child?
Today the world has gone digital. Almost every home is connected to the internet.
Most of us parents have also become slaves to these social media platforms. How much time do you spend on your phone?
Parents have no option but to control the use of these media platforms for our children and even for ourselves. The internet is not a safe space for our young people. This is where many girls are meeting their predators. Those in ICT, please let’s help parents to keep children safe.
Many of our youth have also been exposed to alcohol and drugs. The vulnerable group is those already in colleges or waiting to join colleges. Even some high school students have become a big challenge to parents.
This is why we have to make a deliberate effort to minimise if not ensure that we do not have so many wines and spirits shops sprouting every day in our estate. So far we are losing this battle especially because many such setups belong to residents.
For most parents, we try to parent the way we saw our parents do it. The big challenge here is to parents. Are you ready for tough love? In some instances, it’s too late to correct some bad habits already formed. What happens then?
As a community, we need to take immediate action to safeguard our children within our estate, create children-safe environments within our courts, understand their distress around this period and help them cope positively and offer support to those affected in one way or the other.
These issues require a multi-dimensional approach, and any ideas that can offer solutions are welcome. Any resource persons in our midst should help us on these matters.
None of us is fireproof on these issues. It can hit any of our families. Let’s talk about these issues.