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Shocking revelations on teenagers, sex, contraceptives and pornography

One in every three teenagers in Nairobi and Kiambu believe that engaging in sex once cannot make them pregnant.

This, according to research released this week, is despite the fact that 25 per cent of adolescents admit they have had sex.

The study also found that more than half of secondary school students have watched pornography, with six out of 10 teenage males admitting that they have consumed pornographic materials at some point.

Four in every female teenager said they have accessed pornography.

“The media is the main source of information about sex, with internet films and videos being top of the list,” says the research by Trends and Insights For Africa (Tifa).

On what teenagers do when they are on holiday, 67 per cent of them responded that they go to clubs, drink alcohol and do drugs.

 Sleepovers

Other pass time activities they said, were visiting their girlfriends and boyfriends, attending a concert, travelling, going for sleepovers, while others (17 per cent) revealed they take time to engage in sex.

From the survey, majority of those who had engaged in sex (73 per cent) did it from the age of 13 and above. 17 per cent of them revealed that they first did it when they were below this age, while another 10 per cent said they could not remember at what age they did it.

Girls seem to be more aware about the dynamics of same sex relationships. Psychologists say this could be because of socialisation where boys are brought up knowing that they are not allowed to cosy up with people of the same sex.

The debate on whether female teenagers should be allowed to use contraceptives took a different shift in the survey, with more males showing more knowledge on issues around contraceptives compared to females.

At least 70 per cent of males know about condom use compared to 51 per cent of the females.

Teenage girls reported to know more about using emergency pills than any other form of contraceptive available.

The survey indicted parents and religious leaders for failing to give sex education to teenagers, leaving them at the mercies of seeking more knowledge from the internet.

The poll, conducted among school going teenagers, ranked parents a distant fifth among the teen’s source of information on sex. Religious leaders were seen as among the last source of such information.

On sex education, the teenagers revealed that the media, largely the internet and videos, topped the list of their source of information at 68 per cent, with other ranking sources being their school teachers (63 per cent), books and magazines (60), as is the case with their friends.

Between the parents, the mothers are often source of the information at 35 per cent, while the fathers (24 per cent) rank last - lower than even their siblings (34 per cent) and other family members (27 per cent).

The poll was conducted between January 25 and April, in seven schools in Nairobi and Kiambu. Three girls’ schools and four boys’ schools were sampled with a population of 1141. More boys than girls indicated they had engaged in sex.

Majority of students said they have the best family relationships with their mothers (30 per cent) closely followed by siblings.

The number of teenagers who claim to be close to their fathers was only 7 per cent.

On other key topical issues, the big population of the respondents indicated that they understood what corruption is, and they knew the negative impact it has in their lives.

Of them 92 per cent said they understood what corruption is. Only six per cent said they did not know. 86 per cent said they knew the negative effect of the scourge.

There was however low awareness of Sustainable Development Goals, with only 13 per cent of them being in the know of the same.