KAMPALA-Young girls living in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb have blamed social media platforms for fuelling teenage pregnancy and early marriages.
Some of about 200 teenage girls and young mothers last week told a community dialogue on ending child marriages and sexual exploitation among young women, that men are taking advantage of them by asking for sex on social media, including facebook, Watsapp and other online platforms.
While airing causes of teenage pregnancies, Annet Nalule, 18, a peer educator said men spend most of their time on facebook looking for innocent young girls and those who prey end up in bed. She said: “I have male friends who send me messages on facebook and Watsapp with intentions of sleeping with me.”
Mr Patrick Mwesigye, the executive director of Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF), said the dialogue was organised to educate young girls living in slums on early marriages following the celebrations of the Day of the African Child last week.
Mr Michael Niyitegeka, an ICT consultant, argues that when an individual spends more time on internet or social media, he or she is likely to be exposed to many vices, including child pornography.
He noted that Uganda has about two million Facebook users of between 18 and 35 years but about 1.5million are active users, in the sense that they check and update their statuses regularly.
Mr Niyitegeka said: “On average, global studies show that active users spend about two hours on Facebook during working hours but it might be higher in Uganda due to unemployment.”
“People spend time befriending each other and chatting on facebook and Watsapp. This is followed by exchanging phone numbers, knowing physical location, and other advances like exchanging money,” he added.