I have been seeing youths trooping to town most Sundays to take part in photo shoots. The first time I spotted these seemingly excited teens was last year. As an artist, I was impressed that they were doing something useful with their lives. I was dead wrong.
I was shocked this week when I came across the trending #ifikiewazazi. I could not imagine that these kids, for close to two years, were trooping to town to take semi-nude photos and posting them on social media.
I have written before about runaway parents and I believe these young people were doing it as a protest against their parents. You can tell they’re pampered kids.
I have, in the past, seen videos of children arguing with parents, shouting at them and destroying things in the house.
My late God mother Fransisca Indeche must be turning in her grave. Indeche, a teacher, believed in discipline which is why those who passed through her hands have only good stories to tell.
Back in the day, a child belonged to the community, and caning was part of parenting. Today, however, you will hear parents cursing and fuming whenever a video is posted of somebody disciplining a wayward child.
I am a firm believer in discipline - caning, curfew, withdrawal of privileges and other forms of punishment. And so, when I saw these crazy pictures trending online, I took time to read the comments.
Most parents appeared shocked, yet they are the ones who are against disciplining their children and give them too much freedom. During our days, we had curfews. There was never room for misdemeanour.
How can your child disappear to town every Sunday, for a whole year, without you noticing? And if you find out that your child has these nudes doing rounds, why not take action? Stop paying their school fees, or withdraw some of their privileges?
During our days, girls wore bloomers, not the sexy undergarments I see little girls in school parade today - bought by their parents.
The bloomers were meant to remind girls that it was not stylish to expose your body. Miniskirts were for adults, and no school child was allowed to dress in them.
Our parents had express right to paste you on the wall if you were found holding hands or pretending to be romantic.
Things have changed today. Parents these days don’t seem to mind, and even encourage their kids to twerk in front of adults as they clap. This was unheard of during our days.
Today’s parents allow their children to sag trousers and even laugh about it.
As my friend Kui Koinange puts it, we fail as parents when we don’t “love our children harshly.”
It is not a written law that parents must give children expensive camera phones. Let’s restrict our children and educate them on the dangers of social media and the value of privacy.
They should know that the internet never forgets. One day, those silly pictures will come to haunt them.
Former USA president Barack Obama once said: “In this YouTube generation, one should be careful what they post because these days, people don’t only look at your CV, but they investigate your social media handle when making a decision.”