The Topic

 I am a mother of 2 children aged 14 and 16 both girls and I am worried about my children more so their exposure to sexuality. Everywhere I look on the streets, in the media there is a lot of nudity and sex related content and only recently I realised that they are visiting adult sites on their computer and I suspect also on their phones. I feel that I should do something to protect them but I don’t know what. They already have boyfriends but only God knows what goes on behind closed doors or when I am not around. I need some help on how to approach these girls and protect them from our society which is filled with immoral sex pests



What the readers say


Dorothy I feel your pain and I am worried that your girls are at risk of early pregnancy or risky sexual activity. It is therefore important that you intervene early by listening to them, being close to them. Educate them on sex and teach them to be safe and to take precautions in any relationship. Try to discuss their problems freely. Try to monitor the kind of friends they mingle or interact with and tell them the likely impacts of sexual acts and they will always listen to you.


{Onyango Outha}


Talk to your daughters and tell them all that there is to be known about sex. Make it a routine to always share with them. It is very normal for teenagers to be curious at some point along the line but the main issue is how these matters are handled.


{Tasma Saka}


It is true that children are being exposed to sex too early in their lives. Kids should be allowed to be kids but these days they are growing up too fast and getting to know much more than they should at very tender ages. Young girls are already wearing short skirts and revealing tops even before they get to their teen years. I think children will always want to be more like grownups but we should be careful how much of adults we allow them to become.


{Rachael Mbote}


You need to schedule a meeting with them and share your feelings. Don’t disclose about the web history search so that you remain on her tracks. Find out why they would want to watch those sorts of things at their age. You need to do something about it but a useful strategy is not to let them stay up too late. Those girls sound like they really need some help.


{Nelly Agina}


Simon says


Children grow up very fast; one day they are young and innocent boys and girls then the other they are these independent, curious and highly secretive individuals often as thick as thieves. Unlike in previous years, children are becoming more and more sexualised earlier on in their lives. This is with the loads of explicit and sexualised material that is generally easy to access and potentially harmful to them especially early on in their lives.


Due to the robust and widespread nature of the sexualised content and the dynamic trends it takes in modern day business, it is difficult if not impossible to prevent them from accessing this kind of material. Unfortunately access to this content has enormous potential to significantly affect their minds and subsequently have various undesirable effects. Access to this kind of content more often than not leads to an increase in experimental curiosity which often leads to early and high risk sexual activity and in some instances addictions. Indeed children that are exposed to sexual content are likely to have early sexual encounters most of which are unprotected and sometimes with multiple partners. This also puts them at high risk from and exposes them to sexual violence. Sexuality related habits such as masturbation and homosexuality are also known to emanate from long-term exposure to such content.


But the situation is as is and there is very little one can do about the availability and nature of such content. However, there is a lot you can do to protect your children and requires deliberate and focused effort on your part. The first step is to accept that these materials are available and that they are more often than not likely to indulge. It is essential that you get to understand what content they are watching and look for informal opportunities to casually discuss this with them. Help them understand the impact such content can have on them, their values, attitudes and actions. During such talks, be an inspiration to them for healthy and respectful relationships and their self worth. This will take care of the software part i.e. their minds and perceptions about such content.

For the hardware part, you may want to talk to them about putting preventive measures for such content and this is possible through parental filters. This should not be through use of your upper hand but by making them understand why it is important that you do this but encourage them to always request for permission if they want to enquire or venture into such content. This would effectively build the levels of trust and they would increasingly shy away from them. Encourage them to learn as much as possible from you but also give back by being as candid and honest as possible to them.

Your children are now in their teens and this is a challenging period for not just the parents but also the teens themselves. So much is happening around and within them. This includes peer pressure, sexual awakening, the need to be accepted and belong, among others.  This requires a delicate balance of support from the parents to help them navigate through this stormy period.

Unlike when the child is born and lots of preparations are put in place to receive the child, noone prepares both the parent and the teen for this transitional phase of life. No wonder there's unending conflicts between the two during this period.

I agree with you that the current teenager is hypersensual. This is because of the excessively sensual images and content that is readily available. This is where you come in.

You cannot afford to shy away from the topic of sexuality while the world is tirelessly churning out skewed information on the same. Cultivate a friendly environment that will enable you hold open and honest discussions. At 14 and 16 this should have started a while ago, but it is never too late.

Discuss the pros (I doubt if there are any) and cons of premature and pre marital sex. While at it, always know that you have the authority and right to input your values and morals on sex on your children. Do not be intimidated by the outside world's view though loud, yours will remain the unsilenced.

Help them to see the negative effects visiting adults' site has on them. Let them know how far  this goes into negatively desensitising them. Teens respond better when they are engaged in a corrective measure as opposed to you reacting. Make them aware of the relevant measures you're taking to help them out of the negative habit. There are a number of software and apps that can help block these sites. Make use of them. Remain friendly but firm in this.

It is important to also talk about peer pressure and empower them to overcome it. Also seek to understand their social circle and friends. Talk about them openly in light of their safety. Their self esteem is key in all this. Work towards raising their esteem.  Research has shown that teens with a high self esteem are able to handle peer pressure and their sexuality more responsibly.


Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of love and marriage.