As United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Kaduna office continues to partner relevant stakeholders in curbing HIV/AIDS prevalence among adolescents and young persons (AYP) in Kaduna state, a former Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC), Mrs Tamani Yusuf, has called on parents not to pretend when they need to discuss life planning with their children.
The development media expert, who stated this while delivering a paper titled, ‘Role of the Media as Advocates Addressing Adolescents and Young Persons to make the right choices’ at a one-day media review meeting at a hotel in Zaria, Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria at the weekend added that, sensitising parents to know and discharge their responsibility as custodians of AYP would go a long way in addressing most of the issues that expose this age group (10-24 years old) to HIV/AIDS.
The meeting, which was facilitated by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with UNICEF had in attendance scores of media executives, reporters and producers across print, electronics and new media platforms.
According to Tamani, media must sensitise parents to tell their children to say no to drug abuse, abstain from sex until they get married and where they can’t, they should go for any of family planning methods for safe sex.
“It is time for the media to sensitise parents to teach their children those moral that have helped them to remain HIV negative. Media need to include this in their contents.
“Parents should tell their children to say no to drug because anybody under the influence of drug can do anything including using unsterilised sharp objects on themselves or indulge in unsafe sexual activities and then contact the virus.
“AYP should be told to abstain from sex until they get married and safe sex if not. They should be taught to stand for truth and honesty instead of lies and dishonesty, no to bad friends and peer pressure, no to corruption, no to indecent dressing, no to immortality and no to any kind of vice whatsoever which is detrimental to their character and to overall good of the country.
“As parents, we need to share our experiences with AYP. We should not pretend to be saints when we need to share those experiences that can help the AYP to remain focus and plan their life well”, she said.
Earlier, a Child Protection and Adolescence Specialist, Faruk Chiromari lamented that, 1.3 million adolescents died globally in 2015 alone, majority of who had preventable diseases.
According to him, adolescence is the age of change. It is vulnerable period for individuals when children can develop unhealthy habits if not checkmated in good time.
It is a stage where a child beginning to experience changes associated with that age which include but not limited to physical changes, emotional changes, behavioural changes, health problem, social problem, substance use and abuse among others, he said.
The best way to help teenager get through the stage according to Faruk, is to make them aware of these changes, “explain to them that it is normal for the body to change as every teenager goes through it, help them adapt to these changes.
“If your child is not seeing you as role model, there is a problem. The way you talk, the way you dress, the way you act should put your child on good pedestal in life or someone else outside will teach what you fail to teach as parent and that may be disastrous.”
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