Why are Nigerian kids so curious about sex? The idea of sex education has no place in a setting where the mention of genitals is considered a sin or a taboo.
During the recent Chrisland pupils’ sexual misconduct saga, one question a lot of people kept asking bothered on how we got to this point, despite Nigeria’s conservative cultures and the influence of religion on almost every Nigerian home.
An average Nigerian home is strictly built on cultural and religious dictates that tend to shut out sex-related conversations and education in a bid to bring up responsible and morally upright kids.
Frankly, the idea of sex education has no place in a setting where the mention of genitals is considered a sin or a taboo. This is where we are coming from as a sex-shy people, and for those asking how we got here, this piece is out to take you through that journey.
The sexual misconduct involving Chrisland pupils did not happen by accident. Children learn by imitation and what you saw was definitely a reenactment of what the kids have repeatedly been exposed to.
Naturally, kids can be very inquisitive but the level of curiosity of today’s children is very much higher than expected. When it comes to learning new things, they are highly independent and this makes them smarter and more informed way beyond the imagination of their parents and teachers.
While kids are naturally curious as products of the internet, a lot of them are moreso driven by sexual curiosity because their parents are so guarded around the topic of something so human. A lot of them can’t even properly explain it with euphemisms, when their children ask, ‘Mummy, how was I born?’
They simply shut those children out, with excuses of morality, and tell them that only bad people engage in sex. Of course, when the child grows older and starts getting excited in puberty, he seeks to explore and satisfy his curiosity.
The Chrisland kids caught in the act at best can be described as victims of their environment. When the home, the school, the media, and the society lose their grip on children, the resultant social problem is there for everyone to deal with.
Even though Nigerian homes are ruled by religious and cultural guidelines, kids from some of these homes have unhindered access to overwhelming amounts of explicit content. Forget the R-rated disclaimers on movies and shows like the Big Brother Naija that are loaded with nudity and sexual innuendos, there are alternatives channels for everyone including kids to view sex-laden content.
For instance, kids are not allowed to watch the Big Brother Naija show, at least that’s the purpose of R-rating the show, but the truth is, many kids follow this show through their smartphones. They know the housemates and follow conversations about them on social media.
Even though children under the age of 18 are not allowed to watch the BBNaija show, kids who have smartphones watch the show’s sexual highlights, and maybe discuss it among themselves the same way adults revel in the conversation on housemates’ sexual activities in the house.
Basically, the explicit content the conventional media restricts teenagers from, the new media hand it to them unfiltered and thus predispose them to sexual imaginations and inclinations.
These days, a 13-year-old can have a social media account. While there are filters for people of that age, social media still has a lot of possibilities, especially for Gen Z and Gen Alpha products of the internet. They understand VPNs, and how to disable parental control on their devices. This opens them up to the unfiltered realities of social media, due to curiosity.
On social media, there are unfiltered conversations, explicit content and even short-form pornography. People also glorify sex, and impressionable minds of young children will be easily swayed by these realities. These kids also have access to YouTube and streaming services, where they can watch X-Rated content.
By the time a kid, who sees sex as an outlawed concept sees someone twerking in a Lil Baby music video, which is laced with explicit lyrical content and gets excited, the next time his more ‘exposed’ friends talk about sex in school, he will ask them further questions, and either seek fun in pornography or try to have sex.
But pornography is damaging. Due to the creative license they have, a lot of porn platforms still have content that glorifies rape, forceful sex with crying women and incest. These kids are already driven by sex, then they are getting the wrong idea of the pleasure that comes with sex. Pornography even gives them the wrong perception of expectations in bed.
Of course, teenagers’ fascination with sex can’t wholly be blamed on their consumption of social media content. There are a whole lot of other factors that endear children to sexual activities.
Many Nigerians in the business of hospitality are part of the problem. Hotels have become safe havens for underage persons to reproduce the explicit content they have consumed in skits, shows, and music.
It is not uncommon to see youngins around one-star hotels in cities like Lagos, catching fun and organizing parties. They celebrate their birthdays in such hotels, and since the goal of such hotel owners is to make money however it comes, the ethics of the business is jettisoned.
For example, amid the Chrisland saga, a video of some teenagers, three boys, and two girls who went to a hotel surfaced on social media. One of the boys said he’s 15, and they were all seen on the hotel premises to book a room.
Comments under the video suggested there are hotels in Lagos commonly patronised by teenagers.
Ideally, it should be impossible for anyone under 18 to rent a hotel room. Because legally, people under 18 are minors, but here in Nigeria, children leave their parents homes to have fun at hotels and no one asks questions.