Recently, Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua warned matatus against exposing passengers to obscene content.
The CEO’s move should be lauded and adopted immediately. Most matatus have big TV screens and the kind of music they play is at most times inappropriate. They don’t care who boards the matatus; whether old or young.
Matatus should heed the CEO’s caution to bring sanity in the transport sector. The crackdown comes in the wake of concerns by parents, clerics and the civil society over loud, lewd music and pornographic content in videos being shown in matatus.
Research shows children often imitate what they see, read or hear, therefore, exposure to inappropriate content it can create devastating effects on their mental, moral and spiritual health in the long term.
These include increased rate of depression, anxiety, acting out and violent behaviour, engaging in sexual activities at a young age, increased risk of teenage pregnancy, and a distorted view of relationships between men and women.
Images imprinted on the mind of a child at an early age often reflect on his/her actions. Screening of unrated content in matatus and exposure of children to obscenity goes against the law.
According to the Films and Stage Plays Act, screening of content in the vehicles is considered as a public exhibition
For teenagers and youth, pornography teaches a false narrative regarding human sexuality and how men and women form healthy sexual relationships.
This makes it more difficult for young men and women to form authentic, stable relationships.
Apart from pornography, research has long established that teenagers who watch movies or listen to music that glamorises drinking, drug use or violence tend to engage in those behaviours themselves.
A 2012 study shows that movies influence teenagers’ sexual attitudes and behaviours.
The study, published in Psychological Science journal, found that the more teenagers were exposed to sexual content in movies, the earlier they started having sex and the likelier they were to have casual, unprotected sex.
According to Unicef report, The State Of The World’s Children 2017, children in a digital world may create new divides that prevent them from fulfilling their potential. And if we don’t act now to keep pace with rapid change, online risks may make vulnerable children more susceptible to exploitation, abuse and even trafficking.
It is the duty of parents to monitor what their children watch and prevent their exposure to obscene content.
If parents take all these precautions and guide their children in a sensible way, then the Internet will be an invaluable resource for the learning.