Let's all do more to keep teenagers out of danger

Girls at a rescue centre after fleeing FGM in Kuria East sub-county, April 14, 2022. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard] 

National examinations kicked off on Monday amid growing concerns of waywardness among some of the candidates.

Kirinyaga Central Sub-County Education officer has lamented that 12,000 students had tested positive for sexually transmitted infections.

In the South Rift counties of Baringo, Bomet, and Narok, 292 pregnant girls are sitting the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams while Nakuru has 25 expectant girls. A KCPE candidate was reported to have given birth at the Marimanti Hospital in Tharaka County even as 21 boys and seven girls were arrested in different bars in Runyenjes, Embu, following a police raid. This situation pervades the whole country and is worrying.

Such decadence is proof that society has lost its moral compass. In a rapidly changing world, children have lost their innocence even as parents and guardians abdicate their responsibilities to them. Most parents are too preoccupied chasing career goals or battling poverty to give guidance to their children.

In part, the moral decadence can also be blamed on exposure to foreign cultures, peer pressure and social media influence that exposes girls to manipulation by randy men who end up ruining their lives.

While these teenagers are not innocent, society is clearly not doing enough to stop them from drifting further onto the wrong paths. Cases of students engaging in drugs and crime are on the rise and the need to end such vices cannot be overemphasised. Children are currently on a long holiday, and that demands that parents remain vigilant to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Parents should always know the whereabouts of their children and keep track of the company they keep to stop them from going astray. Importantly, with increased crime and kidnappings being reported in many places, parents must constantly keep an eye on their children.

Keeping the youngsters safe is a collective responsibility that requires the input of not just parents, but teachers, society and religious leaders.