Kenneka Jenkins: Is Social Media Killing Our Babies? (Opinion)
Sunday, September 10, 2017 – in a hotel in Rosemont, Illinois – 19 year old Kenneka Jenkins’ body was found in a freezer. The young woman had gone out with some friends to attend a party the night before. In a bizarre chain of events that has yet to completely unfold, Kenneka wound up inside a freezer, dead, while her so-called friends had possession of her purse, cell phone, and mother’s car after the party. They claimed that could not find her. Obviously, Kenneka’s mother is devastated by the loss, but seems equally as devastated by the lack of information surrounding the death of her daughter. As any parent would be. Should be.
The hardest part of parenthood is the realization of one’s inability to completely protect their child from the secular world.
There are plenty of sadistic aspects of the story outside of Kenneka’s demise: a purported rape, kidnapping, assault, but one that is being overlooked is the involvement of her “friends.” Some details may never be truly exposed while others will most definitely haunt the memories of the family for a lifetime, but a conversation needs to take place with our children about what predators look like. It’s not just the funny looking old man in the van anymore. Those perspectives and ideologies are archaic. Our children’s own comrades are out to do them in these days. And that’s a terrifying thought.
It’s so easy to get laxed and nonchalant about our children as they become older and more independent. Once it seems like they don’t need us anymore, we lean on that somewhat because we are also [re]gaining our independence as they get older. We don’t see the same need to hover and double check their decisions as when they were little, defenseless pups. Once we see our hard work and action, we tend to back off. Perhaps, in today’s world, that’s not the best strategy.
One of the people suspected of taking part in this crime started a Facebook Live broadcast as the event began to take place. The clip has been used by internet detectives to ask important questions about the crime. This internet-celebrity-fueled callousness is nothing new, especially in a society driven by narcissists and sociopaths. There’s a social disconnect taking place before our eyes and many lay blame upon Social Media’s blood-soaked doorstep. Clearly, Kenneka thought that these people were her friends. That girl was a predator, along with the others involved.
Oftentimes, the friends of our children have far more influence and power and say so over their actions than we do. Not only should we talk to our kids about what predators look like but we should also be taking a more active role in knowing who our children associate with. Though it may seem unnecessary, meeting a couple of your kid’s buddies will tell you about those kids as well as your own. Something as simple as a handshake or direct eye contact can raise red flags, in most instances. Beyond that, it’s up to us, the parents, as early as possible, to instill the ability to see things for what they are. And this isn’t to say that Kenneka’s mom did not attempt to do this, but to say that a story like this should shine more light on the situation at hand. It’s almost as if social media is turning our kids into heartless gladiators. Really though.
Kenneka’s case will eventually come to an end and America will move on to its next public scandal. In the meantime, talk to your sons and daughters. Give them a fighting chance in the real world. Listen; I want to meet the person that said, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you…” so I can punch him in the throat.