Do you know what your teenage girl or boy knows?
In Afrika, a child belongs to the society, well not anymore, the evil is moving like a wind whispering to human beings by turning them into beasts. In today’s rotten society, you cannot trust anyone: your neighbors who kidnap children, drug lords who manipulate our children, slave traders, child traffickers and organ harvesters. Sometimes it feels like good people live on a different planet from this world of sinners. Children are forced to go through evil at the hands of their own blood sisters or brothers notwithstanding, their own parents. Yes, you got me right! Grandfathers raping or sodomizing their grandchildren in the name of ‘my wife’ or ‘my name sake’. We have buried our heads in the sand for way too long; it is time to face things. And this here is the ugly truth that you would not want to hear.
Nowadays, children are exposed and prone to grave danger through the internet by predators who track what they watch on YouTube. They also use the trick of suggesting a game to a child, and once they click on it; bingo! they are in. These online predators begin communicating to your children, suggesting more sites, and before they know it they have been initiated into pornographic content. With their twisted mind games, your child is instructed to close the doors when they are not alone in the house, and before they know it, they are hooked. I once overheard a parent talking about how their neighbor’s child was taken to the hospital unconscious, only to discover that the teen had used some Viagra, turning him into a porn addict.
The said predators are prevalent on social media platform targeting school-going children by in-boxing them and telling them how pretty and handsome they look. They go ahead telling these vulnerable children that they want to meet them in person and change their lives. Eventually, they exchange contacts and commence calling your children when their parents are away so that as a parent would not sense any suspicious activities. Interestingly, these predators send them airtime and ask them to delete their conversations, still in attempts to avoid being discovered by their parents. What the children do not know is that they have been recruited and have specific instructions on where to meet these predators. Either they pick them up in private cars, or ask them to use local motorbike transport, assuring them that they will pay on arrival. In regard to private cars, they use women to pick them up, to avoid raising the alarm. A child falling victim to this would be likened to a sheep going to a slaughter house where she or he can be sex trafficked or taken through other worse ordeals.
Parents please take 10 minutes of your time every day to talk to your teenager. Remind them that you love them and they are very important to you. Engage them about your work and what you go through to just keep them comfortable. During the weekend, take them for a treat and talk. Children are willing to open up on a myriad of things. Talk to them about growth and puberty, how they feel about the challenges they face and how to overcome them. Our young boys are often exploited by house helps, uncles, and close family members, because if you do not talk to your child, the world will exploit them and teach them all the wrong things they can. This is the 21st century and you have to say it as it is.
I am sure you have heard cases where young boys rape girls at the age of 9 to 15 years old, as a result of actions that they thought were right, as they learned them from those laptops, phones and the wireless internet on which you frequently load airtime and data. It does not mean that your intention was bad, these things are crucial in the hustle and bustle of our lives. You do not need to call people to come to your house to check on your children, because again we trust no one so to speak and to keep them indoors means that multimedia devices become a gateway to harmful content. Online predators are all over. Police will do their job but you can prevent a negative outcome by constantly talking to your child and getting to know your child further.
How I wish you could give your children healthy tasks and activities such as learning how to code and develop applications, recording videos for YouTube, marketing products, making door mats, Do It Yourself (DIY) of seats and clothes repairs. These types of information are online, choose a few, for they will be gaining more skills and experience. Let them learn the theoretical part on the internet, rather than eventually using more money on rehab facilities.
When will you have a wakeup call? Does it have to wait until you go through emotional stress from society, rejection, regret, pain, depression, and not saying you are a bad parent? Please stop being too busy for your child, because if not, you will be made to be present on their burial day. As hard as it sounds, I am sure it would be inevitable to forget and forgive yourself for your absenteeism in your child’s growth. You can lose and recover money but not a son or daughter.
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Robert Macharia is a mentor, trainer and writer bearing adequate experiences in business development and brand management success.