Monday, April 22, 2024
Home > Counties > Parents urge to monitor children’s social media activities

Parents urge to monitor children’s social media activities

Parents in Molo sub-county have been urged to utilize parental control measures on the digital devices used by their children so as not to expose them to an array of risks.

Speaking during the day of the African Child Celebrations at Molo Stadium, themed “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment,” Molo Principal Magistrate Rugut Kipyegon noted that in as much as the digital space offers great learning opportunities, parents ought to make sure that they monitor what content their children are consuming online.

“Yes, you have rights as children, but there are little traps on the internet waiting to pounce on you, and your development and best interests as a child can be taken away by a click on the network,” said Rugut.

According to him, sexual exploitation is among the top major challenges the children are facing, and this has greatly derailed the holistic growth of many children.

There are those who have given birth at a tender age and thus drop out of school due to peer influence, drug and substance abuse, consumption of illicit liquor, and getting infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections among other issues affecting the children. Thus, there is a need to keep on guiding the minors in all they do on the internet.

He was optimistic that if the digital space is used well, then it will provide great opportunities, such as jobs and learning experiences, that will help the children compete effectively in all that they engage in.

His sentiments were echoed by the area children’s officer, Henry Bigoro, who observed that such exploitation results to emotional torture, disinterest in school matters, change of behavior, depression, and low self-esteem, and therefore parents ought to give the minors the appropriate digital skills that will enable them to explore the positive gains it gives.

Elsewhere in Kajiado County, Director of Children’s Services Dr. Samuel Masese noted that while the internet has numerous advantages, such as bridging educational gaps and enhancing digital learning for African children, it at the same time presents risks for the infringement of their rights.

Speaking at Engaboli Primary School in Maili Tisa, Kajiado County, during celebrations to mark the International Day of the African Child, Dr. Masese revealed that children are often exposed to cyberbullying, exposure to adult content, online sexual exploitation, child labor, and trafficking.

“The use of digital technology is vital in the modern world, but it also comes with risks as children using digital devices are exposed to pornography, online sexual exploitation and abuse, radicalization, and child trafficking,” he said.

The director called on parents to protect their children from exposure to inappropriate content online by constantly monitoring what they access on the internet through their phones and restricting access to adult sites.

“Parents give their phones to their children but do not check the sites they access, so the children can be easily exposed to cyberbullying and harmful content,” he added.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Rift Valley Branch Secretary General Elly Korinko reiterated that parents must regulate and monitor the online activities of their children.

Korinko further called on the government, through the Ministries of Education and ICT, to regulate the content that pupils access while in school through the use of digital devices.

Oloililai Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Justin Maina, noted that despite laws in place to protect the children, they still continue to face various forms of abuse, such as child labor, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages.

Maina revealed that cases of child labor were rampant in the area, with children being engaged in hawking during market days, herding, and sand harvesting, denying them the right to education.

He warned that all children have a right to education, and those caught exploiting children for monetary gain will face the full force of the law.

From neighbouring Narok, media personalities led by Citizen TV reporter Mary Lolchoki said the lack of access to digital services bars educational advancement for children, thus excluding them from innovations and opportunities to improve their lives within the digital world.

Similarly, Milton Salaon, a Sidai FM radio reporter, said the digital world has contributed a lot to the learning environment for youths and children showcasing their talents.

“Former Olympian Julius Yego used the internet to learn the techniques of throwing the javelin and participated in the Olympics games, and now he is called the YouTube Man. The Internet helps a lot,” said Salaon.

Saloan noted that currently students can use the internet to choose their careers and search for jobs; hence, the new technology is the new era, and people should accept and embrace it.

The Ministry of Education is being called upon to contribute to the digital world through the sensitization of new trends in the digital world and to come up with children’s rights in the digital world.

On his part, David Sankele, Narok Town chief, said the children are vulnerable to the digital world, and parents should give guidance as parents interact mostly with children at home.

This is an annual celebration that commemorates the black schoolchildren of South Africa who went to the street on June 16, 1976, protesting against the poor quality of education they received and thus demanding to be taught in their own language in school.

By KNA Team

Leave a Reply