Leaders want stricter rules on media content to protect children from exposure to indecent films and videos that contribute to premature sex.
They said some media content seen predisposes learners to premarital sex, leading to teenage pregnancies and high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The leaders — Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga and the Kenya Film and Classification Board Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua — spoke during the seventh summit of a girl-child empowerment programme in Homa Bay County.
Other leaders present included Kasipul MP Ong’ondo Were, his Kabondo Kasipul counterpart Eve Obara and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.
The programme dubbed 'Mama County Says' was organised by Ms Wanga’s office. Ms Ngilu challenged parents to avoid exposing their children to early pregnancies and STIs.
“Schoolchildren need to stay away from pornographic videos and other indecent musical content that may encourage them to try what they see on media. Parents and teachers can help by preventing children from watching obscene films at home,” the Kitui governor said.
More than 4,000 students from different schools in the county attended the function at Eng. Peter Owidi Nyahera Girls Secondary School in Kasipul constituency.
Ms Wanga warned parents against introducing their daughters to family planning. This, she said, could encourage them to engage in premature sex. She advised young girls to abstain from sex and thus keep safe from pregnancies and STIs.
The latest survey by the National Council on Population and Development cast Homa Bay as an area with high cases of teen pregnancies, which it put at 33 per cent.
Ms Wanga said her programme seeks to reduce teen pregnancies and protect girls from sex predators.
Such pregnancies, she said, were being fuelled by rape, defilement, poverty, early marriages, peer influence, and drug abuse.
“We’ve mentored students who will impart the knowledge to others who did not get a chance to be here,” she said.
Dr Mutua warned film and music producers of stern action if they produce media content that are not suitable for the general public.
“Our goal is to ensure that youths nurture their talents through music and videos. But that does not mean that you should produce unsuitable content. We cannot allow circulation of a film or music that has bad content,” Dr Mutua said.
Mr Were warned men against engaging in sex with schoolgirls. The legislator said suspected defilers should be arrested and charged in court.
“It’s shameful that some men engage in sex with school girls who are their daughters’ age mates. It’s a shameful act that should be dealt with accordingly,” the MP said.
Dr Obara challenged leaders to join hands in mentoring girls for a brighter future.
“We need a society that is morally upright. It’s good this programme brought together boys and girls, because they are all affected by the vices,” Dr Obara said.
Kakamega Woman Rep Elsie Muhanda, Ms Elachi and Homa Bay County Commissioner Yatich Kipkemei said those who sexually abuse young girls should be punished.
Mr Kipkemei said security officers have in the past two months taken at least 20 people to court on sex-related offences.
“We’ve decided to follow up on all defilement cases to make sure that victims get justice. Whoever tries to interfere with evidence will be arrested and charged,” he warned.