By Manga, 15 years.
Mental health is one of the biggest issues affecting many of my peers, that must be curbed before it blows out of proportion.
Most of mental health illnesses that adolescents go through are depression, anxiety and stress. This is brought about by instances like; too much work load at school and at home-in school there’s a lot of pressure put on students in every endeavor and most especially during this pandemic period where we are expected to catch up with the syllabus. It builds up in the already challenges we are facing and adding up the stress level.
In addition to the above, most teachers are not approachable due to fear that s always inflicted on by students. Sometimes students fear to reach out to teachers as they might make the issue bigger especially if they intend to escalate to other teachers or students when it was mentioned in confidentiality.
I believe the management should intervene to strengthen teacher student relationship so that we can reach out to them in times of needs. Furthermore, they should set aside or strengthen the guiding and counselling session that should be available to all learners.
Lastly, they should moderate the amount of work load given to students at school and at home to ensure that they have time to play and think beyond classroom work as well as develop other skill sets which are important to their growth and development e.g music. sports, drama.
Another course is social media, apps such as Instagram and Facebook; there’s a lot of bullying which is evident and has a huge impact in the lives of children and my peers. There’s high societal expectation based on beauty standards which has led many to fall into that category of pleasing people and eventually running into depression if they don’t meet them. To add salt to the injury, negative feedback from viewers online make it really hard for one to like and accept their natural appearance especially on body size leading to increased stress level and depression.
Sexual harassment online has been on the rise and issues that should clearly be looked into. It leads to unsafe use of the social media platforms where children could be groomed into online sexual exploitation activities like, child pornography. A child can be lured online into physical meeting thus causing child sex trafficking.
The governments should take precaution measures to ensure children are protected either online or offline and work closely with service providers of these platforms to ensure that the rule, policies and guidelines are strengthen for protecting children by also enhancing monitoring tool to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and punished in cases of violation of children rights.
Children who go through different mental health illnesses should be supported and not stigmatized. They should be helped to recover by all means. Thus, there should be regular check ups in schools and at home to support children who are going through tough situations and are in need of help at all cost.
These social interactive apps are supposed to bring about peace and entertainment and not to book children into mental health illness causing stress, anxiety and depressing. When children interact online; it is supposed to be a fun, educative and entertaining.
Children should be allowed into decision making process where guidelines, policies and laws are made to ensure child participation in building child friendly platform. Child should be asked to give recommendations and their opinions included in the ICT.
Government should ensure that all children learn about their rights as well as ensure there are adequate resources for children to learn about the use of online space through creative space as well as a wider reach of internet connectivity to ensure that no child is left behind.
The society should also be trained on this ever changing venture and how to protect its children online as well as give them an opportunity to explore and learn as technology and internet would becoming a basic need for our generation to communicate, learn and socially interact.