Better Parenting- Enhancing Child Security

Thursday, 02 February 2017 1476 Views 1 Comments

The worst nightmare of any sane parent is when their child becomes a victim of abduction or any form of abuse. According to an attorney working with the Cradle Children Foundation in Kenya, Kenya hosts one of the biggest child trafficking markets in East Africa. This can be credited to poverty and lack of knowledge.

The good news is that this research by USA TODAY, was conducted before the launch of a Police Unit dedicated to fighting child sexual exploitation and abuse in Kenya. The unit will hopefully, change the way we protect our children from sex offenders in Kenya because it has put the best interest of the child at the forefront.

This was also before the launch of Missing Child Kenya. Their goal as per their site is to boost search efforts for missing children by sharing photo posters to as broad an audience and in the fastest of time as possible.

Prevention is always better than cure. These magnificent works mostly come in after the damage is done, or the child is already missing. I believe it is better to enhance the security of your child from the onset, than taking action after damage has been done.

Child abuse does not go away, but 90 percent of child abuse is preventable.

Karen Adams

Here are some of the ways parents can try protect their children , or just help ‘mitigate’ the circumstances when lightning decides to strike.

First, educate your child or children on measures to take when they find themselves in an undesired situation. Teach them to run away from anyone invading their personal space and making them uncomfortable. Teach your child to identify at least three safe people they can talk to if someone makes them uncomfortable and you are unavailable.

Take time and talk to them about body safety rules and refer to private parts by their correct names. Let them understand from an early age, that no one is allowed to touch, show them or take a picture of their private parts. Shying away from such topics will not do your child any good and it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Will sex education reduce or end AIDS, adolescent pregnancy, prostitution, sexual exploitation? Frankly, we do not know. But silence on sexual matters does not appear to be an option either ideologically or practically. Ideologically, ignorance is no advantage when others have knowledge, especially knowledge misused, and people who know nothing of sex can take risks unknowingly and be taken advantage of.

Martha Cornog

So, sit with your young ones and teach them what you feel is appropriate, according to their age and surrounding.

Secondly, consciously reflect on what you post on the internet, about your child. There can be no harm in sharing photos of your child, but proceed with moderation. The disadvantage of the internet is that once something is put online, people never forget. This is the era where screenshots are taken even before you think of removing a post or a photo online and is circulated aimlessly on WhatsApp. It is thus prudent, to always assess of the amount of content you share on social media, for the sake of your child’s security. For example, it can be a huge risk to share the school details of your child, by frequently recording snapchats, when you are picking or dropping them.  On the same breath, discuss with them what can and what cannot be posted on social media, for the sake of their privacy and security.

Social media sites have become hunting grounds for terror gangs. An article published by Mahugu on Standard media, tells us that in August 2015, six schools were placed on security watch when a number of students dropped out to join terrorists in Syria and Somalia. They were lured through the internet to join the extremist groups, and some were arrested as they tried to sneak into Somalia.

Depending on their age, you can invest in parental control software, which will help control what your child is exposed to online. Galit Breen, in Kindness Wins, advises that checking in on what our kids are doing online isn’t helicoptering, it’s parenting.

Thirdly, take time to learn about cyber bullying and how you can protect your child from it. Bullying has definitely changed over the years and found its way into social media. This has become a concern, seeing that electronic gadgets are always within reach for our children. According to bullying victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider  suicide than non-victims It further stated that bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying cyberbullying and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

It is also good to find out if your child is a bully, and take appropriate measures, before it gets out of hand.

Let’s raise children who don’t have to recover from their childhoods.

Pam Leo

Fourthly, make a deliberate and determined effort to bond with your child and be active in their growth. As a parent, you need to have constant connection with your child so that they feel comfortable enough to tell you anything, no matter how bad it is. It has been said, your children will not remember how great of an employee you are or how cushioned the bank account was, but they will remember if you were there or not.

The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day


Lastly, invest in nanny cams for the safety of your child and for your peace of mind while you are away. When you come back home, make a deliberate effort to bond with your child and be active in their life. The nanny cam should not replace you as a parent, but help you monitor what is happening inside your house while you are away at work or at school.

At the end of the day, most of us are just figuring the art of parenting and only want what is best for our children. We need to upgrade our ‘parenting software’, to be able to cope up with emerging insecurities around our children. Let us be observant and more involved in our children’s lives, as therein, lies the future leaders and heroes. Remember the easiest child to victimize is the one with an absent or distracted parent.


Ochollah Judy

Kenya Judy is a Lawyer by profession passionate about protecting the rights of the child. She founded and runs an organisation called Sauti ya Mtoto which aims at creating a world in which children particularly, vulnerable children, can grown into adulthood and reach their maximum potential

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