I recently was going through one of the dailies that exposed some shocking truths concerning teenagers and their demands on the proposed sexual education in school. According to the survey a large number of teenagers agree and confess that they are already sexually active by age 15. Therefore, they want to be taught how to use contraceptives including condoms, injectables and oral pills and where to access these products in order to avoid contracting STIs, HIV and prevent unwanted pregnancies. In a discussion I had this past week with a few friends and classmates, it is not as surprising to hear such expositions because they are indeed true and have been there for a while. Consider events such as concerts, parties, even school music and drama festivals. It is not a surprise teenagers involving themselves in sexual adventures and abuse of drugs. But parents to these teenagers believe they are still good, obedient and innocent children, yet have no idea of the underlying truth.
Delving a bit into some related statistics on these issues: 50% of teenagers in high school are sexually active, 17% are smokers, 35% abuse alcohol, 52.06% of the sexually active are using contraceptives, 32.96% are scared of pregnancy, and 9.36% are practicing abstinence.
Why are we having all these going on in our current generation? Why was this not so rampant during our fathers’ times? I believe that parents have played a role in this in one way or another. As compared to previous generations where parents believed in punishments to instill discipline, parents currently do not think of it as an option in the name of avoiding to offend their children.
Family issues contribute greatly to the way teenagers behave. Take for example the increased rates of divorce in our societies. As a way of crying for help, teenagers become rebellious and involve themselves in crimes, sexual adventures, drug abuse and antisocial behavior even into adulthood. A teenager may look okay but may have a ‘secret activity’ that makes them feel free and independent. At this age they want to be independent in their actions, decisions, thoughts, feelings and attitudes and that is why their parents and teachers often describe them as rebellious and disobedient.
Another high influencer of teenage behavioral patterns and mentalities is the media. If not observed always head bent down on their phones, they’re either on the television or laptops and earphones always plugged in their ears. What they listen to or watch is a few clicks away to satisfying their curiosity on issues their parents shy away from talking about. We cannot disagree that programs, television shows, advertisements, movies, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snap chat, YouTube etc.) and music/music videos teens are exposed to are all sources of the sexual knowledge they have –at least the high percentage. It is less from parents, teachers, the church and significant authorities. We all can agree that the media highly contributes in our teenagers’ lives yet the media rarely depicts sexually responsible models.
Why are teenagers the most vulnerable to sexual content in the media? Why not other age groups? It is because teenagers are at a developmental period when gender roles, sexual behaviors and attitudes are being shaped. Their cognitive skills that help them analyze critically and make decisions are still not fully developed. Therefore you can imagine what happens when the basic and first sex knowledge they’re exposed to is corrupted.
We have lacked enough good role models in our society such that the only people our teenagers look up to are young girls who decide to drop out of school to become socialites, young men who no longer value education but spend money gambling and betting & celebrities who have glorified nudity as a way to gain fame just to mention a few. Virginity is now looked upon as an old-fashioned statement and having sex with most partners viewed as a sign of strength and prowess. We are in a generation that Isaiah described as calling evil good and good evil, putting darkness for light and light for darkness & putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Now I don’t want to seem as much of a pessimist preaching all the negative our teenagers are involved in and exposed to. But the truth is that’s exactly the generation we’re dealing with currently. I’m a preacher of hope too and I believe there’s hope in rescuing these teenagers from the traps the enemy has set for them. Hope that not all is lost. That we can now start making a difference in the lives of these teenagers and molding them into becoming responsible citizens and young people as God desires. God loves teenagers and He does understand all they go through.
It is therefore important for parents to realize and see the crucialness and necessity of teenage mentorship and enrolling them in programs such as Branch Ex-candidates Program & Teen Life Mentorship Program. In fact, experts say teenagers with mentors have been found to be more confident, perform well and have fewer behavioral problems. Therefore, connect these teenagers to adults who have a passion for this generation in order for them to walk with them and give relevant guidance. It could be your daughter/son, niece/nephew, brother/sister or friend. We all have a teenager around us. You can contribute into that teen’s life in a great way that will influence their future.
Teenage Mentorship is the solution.
It is necessary and crucial now!
Author; Juliah Mwiti