In the last one month, Kenya has been treated to a flurry of episodes where young teens (aged 14 – 18years) have been busted by the police engaging in highly immoral behavior. It all began with the 7 girls who disappeared into the thin air without their parents’ consent only to re-appear after their photos and appeals went viral on social media. The girls were reported to have been linked to gang like groups who thrive on underage cult-like practices as well as engaging in group sexual activities. Even though the girls claimed that they had taken a break away from the “suffocation” occasioned by routine stay at home, it was never the less clear that these teens may have been involved with possible exposure to unqualified online pornography and criminal groups.

The seven girls’ story above seemed to have demonstrated the rot perpetuated by the digital age technology and the lack of control alongside weak guidelines towards access for the same by teenagers. Within the same week of the above incident, another group of 44 underage teens (aged between 14 – 18 years) was arrested while holed up in a house at another suburb in Nairobi. The house where the group was found had plenty of alcoholic drinks and drugs (cannabis sativa/bang) besides dozens of used and unused condom packets………an indication that illicit sexual activities could have been taking place. Unlike the first group, this group of teenagers were reported to have been recruited from a wide geographical area covering Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos Counties, according to the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

The final episode within the same week was reported to have involved another group of 21 underage teenagers who were busted and arrested by police while partying in celebration of a birthday for one of them. The teens, as reported by the AHTCPU had forged their ages to beat the underage cut off age for drinking alcohol.

What is the bottom line here?

Online digital technology has extensively been exploited by human traffickers and child abusers to achieve their desired goals. Yet, all this happens within the confines of our living and bed rooms where most teenagers spend hours on end chatting and meeting new acquaintances online. It is high time that the subject of online digital technology gets revisited to provide a more robust guideline on usage and the overall content access by different age groups.

Global perspective on Pornography

In a Global Summit in July this year entitled “End Sexual Exploitation 2020” presented a heart rending film involving survivors of child pornography addiction. According to the video, children do best when watching as they have photographic minds. According to research findings within the film, curiosity and access to child porn develops further interest and anxiety amongst young persons. Many parents do not understand what porn is all about yet 7 year olds bump onto porn and creates curiosity and anxiety and drives further interest.

Thirty years ago, porn was pretty difficult to find or come by. Adolescents hardly knew what porn was about.  Beginning 2007, all porn became available through videos that were even offered for free through iPhone and other smartphone devices. Smartphones and the emergence of internet connection created engine searches such as google and others through which pornography became an easy to find phenomenon.

The research for example discovered that Technology however is not the enemy; but rather the usage and understanding of the content that devices offer to users. Content generates curiosity and young people search for more information and answers in discrete ways without the notice of adults. Even though parents may bring up children with the correct values, it does not guarantee upright behavior as children are able to access porn content online. According to the researchers, children are normally more interested with nudity as they seek to learn how adults are ‘wired’

In Sweden alone, out of the 800,000 school going age children, 300,000 had already interacted with pornography by the age of 10 years and below. It all begins as video games before children bump onto free porn sites and they begin to share among themselves.  According to the research, porn addiction affects adult life as exemplified by some of the survivors who testified that they were unable to live a sexually active life after 18 years. Most porn addicts report that porn radiates sexual desire at a young age which leads to masturbation and eventually creates an escapism attitude and loss of confidence. At an extreme situation, the addiction leads to induced erectile dysfunction amongst addicts.

How does Porn Work

Among most youngsters, porn begins with exchange of naked selfies with an urge to experiment on sexual escapades which then lead to violent sexuality behavior.  According to Russ Tuttle, one of the researchers, “we are about to lose an entire generation to pornography”. How can device manufacturers be incorporated into this discussion to produce gadgets with specifications for children only? At another study involving 6,000 kids below the age of 10 years, 26% confirmed to have interacted with pornographic materials. The effects of porn addiction can be exhibited through unconventional dressing by young girls, listening to sexy music, diminished respect for social ethics and in other extreme cases, boys are reported to abuse their girlfriends by exposing them to their genitals. Other recorded effects of porn addiction include physical and emotional damage for boys aged between 14 – 18 years having premature ejaculations and splashing ensuing fluids onto their girlfriends. It is almost becoming a norm that online porn has normalized the negative culture that adults cannot accept as part of social ethics and it increases the level of youth violence and abuse.

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