Kenya: Allow Teens to Use Mobile Phones, but Monitor Them

Teenagers have been complaining about their parents curtailing their freedom and denying them access to mobile phones.

Parents on the other hand say their teenage children don't pay attention to what they say.

The difference in opinion and ideas creates misunderstanding between the two groups.

Teenagers say they are not allowed to use phones during the school holidays or even mingle with their friends. They only stay indoors because their parents feel insecure when they are out.

Although this may be due to the rise in insecurity in our society, they defend themselves saying this is not right because they are being denied freedom to interact with others and build social relationships which are healthy.

They also say phones are the most accessible devices which boost online learning.

Parents however counter that if they give their children a chance to use phones, they won't help out in domestic work.

They also don't come home early when left out with friends and this also leads to their children learning social vices and indulging in immorality; which has been largely fuelled by social media.

Good example

The clash in opinions has sparked arguments in families. Teenagers are not willing to listen to their parents' point of view and parents aren't ready to listen to their children's perspective.

The best thing to do is for parents to set a good example for their children by educating them on how to use phones. Although it is too much to ask, they should also try to listen to their perspective, maybe then, we might have some understanding between parents and their children.

It's important to resolve this conflict because mobile phones are an important tool for children -- for example, by facilitating online learning.

But they can also be abused or become dangerous for children especially if they are to chat with the wrong people. The middle ground would be for parents to be vigilant to ensure children don't abuse the gadgets.

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