Using new technology, some children have mastered ways of enrolling into social media sites by pretending to be adults.
It is the same sites they use to vent their anger whenever they feel aggrieved instead of seeking guidance from teachers, religious leaders or parents.
This was evident few days ago when a boy posted on social media two videos to vent his anger after he was allegedly bullied in school. The unprintable words he used in the video clip have shocked parents.
The issue has now raised questions on parenting and security measures when joining social media platforms.
However, the boy is not alone. Some parents are crying in silence over the manner in which their children have become unruly.
In one of the cases concluded by the High Court in September 20 last year, Justice Joel Ngugi sent a boy to Shikusa Borstal Institution for three years after he was found guilty of killing his cousin and injuring another one in Nakuru.
Killing his cousin
The judge further ruled that the body be should be transferred to an adult prison to serve two more years after completing his term at the juvenile institution.
“According to our laws, the subject can only be held in custody in a Borstal institution for a maximum of three years. In the present case, my view is that this period is not enough to fully rehabilitate the subject and to ensure public and family safety and security,” the judge said.
PMK was charged with killing his cousin identified by the court as WNN and found guilty of manslaughter on May 7, 2018, but his family requested the court not to release him, saying they were worried that he could attack another person.
The boy is said to have harmed WNN and left him in the farm and later on attacked the deceased’s sister without provocation.
However, in mitigation, the boy told the court he was remorseful of his actions and asked family members for forgiveness, adding that he had already spent one year in remand and had reformed.
A probation report tabled in court by Probation and After Care Services Department told a story of a deeply troubled young man involved in drug abuse and other vices. It also told the story of a family not willing to welcome him back.
His biological mother said if the non-custodial sentence was imposed, the rest of the family might retaliate in the same fashion.
And standing in the dock to testify against her son last week, memories of how he started becoming unruly overwhelmed the mother.
She shed tears as she asked the government to assist her to guide the minor who has been on the wrong side of the law from time to time.
But staring at the court’s ceiling, the son listened to the prosecution read out the charges against him.
He had been charged with assaulting the mother, an offence that under the Penal Code attracts a jail term of five years without an option of a fine.
He pleaded not guilty before Makadara Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Rwito Angelo Kithinji but the mother asked that he should not be released on bail, for fear of being attacked again.
The woman told the court how the boy returns home drunk and beats her whenever she tries talking to him. She said the boy had resorted to stealing her money and phones to sustain his drinking habit.
Cases of children becoming unruly are on the rise with the society blaming technology and television.
Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit said there is need for parents and guardians to find their children before they are “swallowed” by the world.
“Train the child the good way when still a child and when he grows, he will not depart from the teachings. We have lost our culture, religion and now our children,” he said.
With some schools using phones or emails to give assignments to pupils, most parents are not in control of what websites their children browse and Sapit said this has also contributed to the bad behavior exhibited by some children.
“You allow your child to listen to music such as Wamlambez Wamyonyez? We need to find our children before they are lost because of these celebrities singing hip hop,” he said.
Most working parents leave their children under the care of house helps who might not instill the right values in them.
Sapit said parents lost it when they stopped teaching their children what is morally acceptable and how to behave well.
Psychologist Gladys Mwiti said in Africa, one does not parent alone but with the help of close relatives who in most cases come in handy when the child starts showing bad behavior.
“Parents are neglecting their children by focusing on providing to them instead of teaching and allowing them to fetch on their own,” she said.
In Taita Taveta County, parents and relatives took an 11-year-old girl to a police station for she became unruly and a ‘nuisance’.
According to the sub-county police commander of Mwatate Police Station, the girl had dropped out of school and she had taken to prostitution and drugs.
“The girl had become a nuisance and a security threat to the community and herself and she has to be separated from the rest,’’ said Monica Kimani, sub-county police commander.
The police said they had to arraign the girl first to obtain court orders for her rehabilitation. “The parents of the girl said they can’t protect her anymore and the children department has taken up the matter to ensure the girl goes for rehabilitation,” said the police commander.
According to Makadara Law Courts, prosecutor the family cases are causing a backlog in courts as parents fail to seek alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
“ I handle 20 to 30 cases a month, though we encourage parents to try mediation before the matter can proceed in court,” said the prosecutor, adding that in such cases, the child has to be charged as one in need of care and protection.
If the environment at home is not conducive the court orders them to be taken to approved schools.
Most of the cases are later withdrawn and the accused person is discharged according to section 87A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“It provides that in a trial before a subordinate court a public prosecutor may, with the consent of the court or on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecution, at any time before judgment is pronounced, withdraw from the prosecution of any person.”
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