In Summary
  • I can remember back in the village at a very tender age, I only needed to see my mother’s posture or facial expression to know the consequences of my behaviour.
  • Much of the violence in the first decade of the 21st century could be linked to the pressure of examinations. In the second decade, however, the pattern of violence is linked to some forms of addiction.
  • Solving some of these addiction problems goes back to parents who can set boundaries and spend more time with their children.

At a recent wedding, I watched with amazement as a little two-year-old blackmailed his parents. 

He demanded his father’s smartphone to play some game and his father gently whispered “No”.

Then all hell broke loose. The little brat threw himself to the ground, screaming and kicking his mother with his nimble feet. 

Visibly embarrassed, his parents succumbed to their son’s tantrums and gave him what he wanted. Later, I cornered the father and told him he should not have given in to blackmail from a toddler.

For their own good, and for their parents’ peace of mind, children must know the boundaries of good and bad.  The kid should have known right there and then that it is bad manners to disturb the peace of innocent people for self-aggrandisement. 

How? By age two the parents should have taught their young ones some non-verbal cues to contain such situations.

I can remember, back in the village at a very tender age I only needed to see my mother’s posture or facial expression to know the consequences of my behaviour. 

I learnt the nonverbal language quickly because she was with all of us, her children, throughout. 

I am forever indebted to my late mother for her strictness and for her presence in all of my trials and tribulation during my formative stages of life. I didn’t like it then but it is what made me.

These experiences and views are shared by many who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Even President Uhuru Kenyatta says he is grateful for the strict upbringing he received from his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta. It’s as if the mothers of those days were cut from the same cloth.

SILVER PLATTER

Unfortunately, many of the immigrants to towns, as well as the so-called “born-towns,” have lost the African norms of parenting. The consequences are what we see today in schools from their millennial children.

As Frederick Douglass, an American social reformer once said, “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” 

In virtually every story of success that I have heard of, success came as a result of struggle or hard work. Much of what comes on a silver platter dissipates. 

It comes as a surprise therefore, when parents who have struggled and succeeded say that they do not want their children to suffer as they did.  Yet it is said that strength grows out of struggle and your successes are based on how well you overcome your struggles in life.

Some parents splash cash on digital devices for their children, not knowing that they are preparing their children to become digital addicts.

A US television channel ABC, in its 20/20 program, followed families in what they described as the “depths of their struggle,” exploring the “destructive dependence, extreme change of personality, isolation, and physical signs during withdrawal” victims can experience.” 

BEHIND THE SCREENS

The special program “examines the cases of a 15-year-old girl who went to rehab after a dangerous online relationship; a 14-year-old gamer whose obsession prevented him from attending school.”

The young girl would spend hours on the screens sexting. Experts say that after sometime, such people become psychopaths. 

So when you hear youths saying school is like prison, you can guess what they are doing behind the screens at home. Without gadgets, they become literally paranoid and schizophrenic. 

Without casting any aspersions on what happened at Moi Girls School Nairobi, I can hazard a guess and make a general statement that youth who are digitally addicted will have a problem in confined spaces like schools, and may act irrationally.

A study, “Attention deficit hyperactivity symptoms and Internet addiction conducted by Hee Jeong Yoo, and his colleagues in South Korea, evaluated the relationship between attention deficit-hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms and internet addiction on 752 11-year olds.

Their findings show that those who had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) had a higher internet addiction score.

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