Parents have been warned against allowing their children to unrestricted access to online sites to avoid exposing them to cyberbullying and exploitation.
Nyeri County Children Officer Kung’u Mwaniki says online sites including social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook and Twitter have become favourite platforms for pedophiles who end up luring minors into a host of vices including getting hooked into weird sexual escapades.
Mwaniki notes that many youths who have been initiated into antisocial practices such as pornography have been lured into the vice through social sites.
He also disclosed that the majority of the culprits normally hook the minors while posing as innocent online friends before recruiting them into the vices.
Once initiated into the practice, the cyberbullies often employ the sites to extort money as ransom from the victim’s parents.
“Online sites have now become the next frontier in child sexual exploitation and abuse often coming in various forms such as twitter, Facebook and tik tok. Criminals are now targeting children through such sites and actually recruiting them into gay pride, gang crimes and identity theft. What begins as a cozy online friendship quickly changes into a blackmail syndicate where criminals extort money from parents while using the minor as the bargaining chip,” he said.
Mwaniki therefore advised parents and guardians to keep vigil over their children while at home especially as schools countrywide prepare to close this week for the first term holiday break.
The officer has also asked parents to block sites they believe are unsafe for their children and also monitor them while accessing the safe ones.
“To deal with this serious issue of protecting our children from cyber bullying and other harmful attacks it is incumbent for parents to keep their eyes on their children. Children should never be left unattended. In addition, parents should ensure they block any unsafe online site and besides ensuring that even the safe ones are only accessed in an open place. To put it more succinctly, let parents watch over their children,” states Mwaniki.