June 20, 2012 – I thought I was done with articles about children and what we expose them to all in the name of trying to be cool parents, parents that know what’s up, that want to show that they have the money to provide everything for their children and also want their kids to go show off in school and among their friends that their parents can afford to buy just about everything for them.
But I have children and I want to make people to understand that there are some things that we are doing wrong. When we say that the younger generation is coming up with all sorts of things and we are worried about what life holds for us because we see them as the future generation and if we do not start to model their minds, their thought processes, the way they think to the right direction, then we have not achieved anything, we haven’t put them in the right state of mind, we haven’t shown them that they have to go through the right path.
I’m a bit worried because everything that is evil, everything that is sinful, everything that is pornographic, everything that is inappropriate is free right now as opposed to the situation in the past where you had to sign up and become a member of something on the internet for you to have access to things or pay to have access to things or state your birth date to prove that you are of age.
Gone are the days when those things where done to ensure that children are not exposed to the wrong things, gone are the days when parents were very strict in their houses, when once it’s 9 o’clock you have to be in bed and get ready for school the next day. On school nights, you can only watch TV for one hour just so that your brain is fresh and there’s a bit of entertainment in it that would boost creativity, you can only watch TV during the weekends. Gone are those days when we monitored everything our children watched, when we took out time to buy the DVDs that were appropriate for our children, watched them first to make sure that the content is good enough. Now, we are too busy to do that.
Gone are the days when we would sit with them and try to find out what their teachers were teaching them and know exactly what it is that they know. Sometimes we come home and our children say things or sing songs and we wonder where they learn those things and those songs from. I know that we can’t be with them every minute of the day but the truth is that we can try to create some time to pay attention to our children who are more important than any other thing.
Gone are the days when parents sat with their children to know what they watched on television so as to know the names of the characters and the things they did because now we find our children’s role models on different children’s channels on cable stations doing some funny things like kissing, dressing very skimpily, and our young children just feel that’s the way to go because they love these people. They are not aware that their role models are growing up and most of the episodes of the shows that they love and they are watching are things that were shot four or five years ago. After all, my role model is a young child like I am but that is not true.
We have to take care of our children and monitor what they do, especially now that most schools give our children the types of homework that even you as a parent cannot understand or you don’t even know. As a parent, I find myself asking my sisters and friends, and having to go to the internet before I can answer some of the questions. And you wonder how the teachers expect the children to answer the questions if not that they expect their parents to spend time doing the school work with them. Most parents that are busy and who have to go to work to be able to pay their children’s school fees might not have the time to sit down and do research in order to be able to assist the children.
Sometimes, we don’t make it easy for ourselves as most parents I know don’t employ nannies that are educated and most of the time it is difficult to even find educated people who want to be nannies. In such a situation, most of the people that you have are not educated and that’s why they are doing the kind of work that they do. Most parents, therefore, take the easy way out by giving their children access to the internet to find answers to their assignment. This, they feel, will give them time to rest when they come back from work come back from work—the women on their part even when they are tired will still have to cook. It’s only a few people who have the strength and are determined to actually sacrifice time and monitor what their children are doing, especially on the net.
I am planning writing another article about this internet thing because I have done researches and something shocked me lately when a friend of mine told me about thing that she saw on her daughter’s laptop and I asked to see it. Now, I’m sure most of you know that you can check the history of all the sites that have been visited on a laptop. When I opened the history on the child’s laptop, I saw three or four different pornography sites, from soft porn to hard core porn. I was shocked and embarrassed, I asked her mother how she got access to these sites. Did she just type sex videos or pornography? What could have come up in her head for her to go into those sites? The woman said: “Look, Stella, you are the one that knows how to handle young girls; why don’t you call her and talk to her? I don’t have to be there, if I’m there she probably wouldn’t want to talk, she will probably relate with you better. Can you help me find out what happened?”
I sat with her, tried to make her comfortable and had a conversation with her. I said to her: “You are not a bad person; the fact that you’ve seen these things doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Truth is that I want to help you so I want to know how these things came in. If you like to see sites like this it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person it just means that you have an issue that we need to deal with and I am willing to help you deal with it but if you didn’t go to those sites intentionally I need to know how they came up on your laptop.”
She said to me: “Aunty, I was just innocently playing a dress up game, most of the time the models come up only in their underwear and you have to dress them up and I realised that when you dress them up and you move on to another model on another page, other sites start to pop up so from dressing games, you see kissing games and dating games, when you click it, there are cartoon people that you have to make kiss when no one is looking” and from her explanation, I gathered that other things are linked to these games that you didn’t plan to do, so all you really have to do is just click.
It is difficult to tell a child that when you are doing this no matter what pops up don’t look into it, even as adults when you are going through a website in search of something, other things would pop up that are related to the thing you are searching for and when you look at the related materials, you may just want to know more since you are on the internet already. And just one click of the button can take you to places you never expected to be and the unfortunate thing is that other tings pop up that look more interesting and out of curiosity you just click and at that point you are gone. It is something that pulls your mind inwards, it is something that’s so attractive that you are just in another world especially when you are alone, no supervision and there is nobody to monitor what you are doing.
The internet just has a way of pulling you into different worlds that would shock you. Even when you do not like such things, even when you don’t want to be a part of such things or you don’t want to practise them, the fact still remains that you are exposed to them.
Now, how many children between the ages of nine and 14 who visit the internet have the strong will power to say, no I am not going into this site because I know it is bad. Let’s be honest, how many of our kids can actually say “it doesn’t matter if I am alone; I am not going into this site.” As far as they are concerned, I’m not doing anything bad, I’m not trying it out with anybody, I am just looking, and it’s easy because they are not paying for the internet, their parents made it available, it is free for them, they can look and once a child goes into such sites it arouses them, it makes them so excited that at any opportunity they have that they are alone, they would try to see more. It is research that has been done and science has proven that once the human mind absorbs things that can do things to the body especially at that age that is new to them and they can’t control the feelings that they are getting, the excitement that is derived from those feelings will drive them to do more.
I am just saying that we should take out time to monitor what our kids are exposed to. Especially those of us that have cable that have parental control that would prevent the kids from watching programs that are above their age, not by leaving them to chance and talking but by doing it yourself and make sure that they don’t have access to some particular channels and programs. Same goes for the internet, it is very important that we monitor the kid of things they are exposed to. If you decide to restrict your children from internet access totally, there’s an alternative means of doing research because laptops now can have different educational applications installed on them for different topics like Math’s, Geography, General Knowledge and so many more just so that you are rest assured that the only things your kids have access to are these applications. Even though I don’t know much about technology now, I have been told that they have created a lot of things for children protect them from a lot so that you don’t have to be afraid about what they are exposed to.
I’m just advising that we take time out to find out what recent technology is available now that will help our children and prevent them from being exposed to all these things and I’m sorry to say this knowing that I might offend a lot of people, but I do also do not subscribe to parents giving their children Blackberry Smart phones before they are 15 or 16 because as adults most of us already have issues with the kind of chats we have on BB. It makes people closer to you than necessary, it is so informal and playful that you can send just one emoticon and you are already sending a signal to someone. You can lead someone on and flirt without even realizing what you are doing and it is o fast with Blackberry. If we are going to be honest with ourselves, there are some people on our BB’s that we always press ‘End Chat’ because we don’t want other people to see the kind of conversations we have had with those people even though those conversations are not really bad but the fact that you are allowing someone BB you at certain odd times and use certain words and certain emoticons on you and you find yourself responding because you don’t want to be rude, that in itself as an adult is not that easy to handle on less you are a very strict person , you decide to delete people if you have nothing important to say or you decide not to respond to unimportant messages but our children who are very impressionable and vulnerable at that age, that are ready to explore and have started to come to terms with the changes in their bodies, the feelings that they are getting all of a sudden, the spots in their body that arouse them that they didn’t know before now. Imagine what they would go through if they have Blackberry’s, all it takes is for them to give their pins to anyone that asks and you don’t have to know. It happens in Church, it happens in school, it happens at the mall, it happens in the cinema, anywhere really. All it takes is for someone to pass a paper to a kid and say cram this number, and we know that kids cram things easily and before you know it they cram the pin, they invite you and you start to talk crap and the next thing you are meeting the person somewhere or in school and we don’t even bother to check what our children go to school with, what they come back with. Some of our children take gadgets to school that they have no business taking there, some of them take extra clothes to school, believe me younger girls are doing this now and younger boys are carrying things that show them pictures that are nude everywhere they go. We just don’t care anymore because we believe that with the money that we have we can afford all these things, we can keep them busy, we can buy them everything that they ask for just so that they can get off our backs so we can have more time to work, then you spend most of your time working and little or no time with your children then we wonder why the children that belong to the rich parents are the ones committing all these offences and crimes. They are not committing these crimes because they need money, they are doing it for experiment, they do it most of the time for attention but the wrong kind of attention and sometimes they do it out of habit because they’ve been doing it since they were kids and nobody noticed and they do it for fun.
So please, my advice is let us all be careful with what we expose our children to, let us know what our children are looking for on the internet, let’s not expose them to Blackberry’s before they are old enough to handle whatever is coming with it. Whatever it is that we can do to help our children and work with them as much as we can, let us try and do it. It is left for us to make sure that the future generations are doing what they are supposed to do. It’s up to us to make sure that generation coming after us right the wrongs in our society and fix the things that have been destroyed already.
Quote: If you suspect your teenager is involved in an unhealthy relationship or activity, ask and talk about it. Don’t be afraid to be involved in your child’s life, find out all you can because unwelcome action may prevent unpredictable tragedy.(Stella damasus)