Alcohol: Who’s to blame for children ordering it online?

There was a heated conversation on Twitter last Sunday. This is after one of the users tweeted his frustration for Kenyan-based Spanish Online shopping mall, Glovo. According to David Mugo, Glovo is to blame for his children’s alcohol purchase. This is what he tweeted: “So today I had a bunch of teenagers, under 18 who had come to hang out with my 16-year-old daughter for her birthday. I found out that some of the kids ordered Vodka from @GlovoKenya and the delivery guy just wanted to just be paid and he was ready to hand the alcohol to the kids.”

Whether the delivery guy was already at the door to hand over or waiting for a successful transaction in order to deliver the ordered Vodka, is what I don’t know, but one thing that I do is the kids had an easy process ordering the commodities. Who is to blame then for this mess? Lawyer Donald Kipkorir was quick to put blame on the company, saying, “Glovo Kenya were on the way to deliver alcohol to teenagers … Instead of Kenyans calling out Glovo for breaking the law, they berate my a parent for bad parenting … There is no equivalence btw criminality by Glovo & lapses of a parent… It’s like excusing pedophiles.” 

My opinion and that of many others who replied to Mugo’s tweet is that this has got nothing to do with the company but clear evidence of failed parenting. Who bought the smartphone? Who downloaded and created Glovo account? Who gave the phone to the kids? Who allowed their children to use the phone and the internet without regulating and monitoring their activities? Whose money was to pay for the alcohol being delivered? The answer to these entire questions is obviously the parent. What does Glovo have to do with your failed parenting?

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While there are policies, terms and conditions that require online shops to uphold the Under 18 alcohol rule, it is important for parents to note that kids have an easy time purchasing these items online rather than physical purchase at the shop. The online shops should, however, be held responsible at the delivery point. If the agent bringing the commodities doesn’t ask or observes the recipient’s age and goes ahead to hand over the age-limiting commodities to the minor, then that should be reported to the authorities for appropriate legal action.

I have been online and accessing several websites for quite some time now, and I have noted that most sites have no mechanism of verifying age before allowing the user to proceed. Facebook is an example. The Social media site which is one of the biggest online platforms that should supposedly have tech experts with better knowledge of how to do things sets membership minimum age requirement of 13, but there is completely no way of authenticating this. How many users have lied about their age on Facebook? Many of course, I recently came across a notification asking me to wish a happy birthday to a Facebook friend, when I clicked on the timeline to start typing my wish, I realized that she was turning 105 years which is not true.

Yesterday when I browsed through the East African Breweries Company website, There was a pop-up blocking me from proceeding until I provide my age, I made up my birthday to see if they would ask me to provide proof. Alas! Just a simple click and I was fine to go.

Yes, June 10, 1930, click ENTER and you’re good to go.

The Internet can be wonderful for the kids as it can help them research their school or academic work, play games, or interact with other children which in turn helps them to communicate properly. It also comes with risks. Children may end up accessing inappropriate content with just a click, cyber-bullying, and may not know how to guard their privacy well.

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In conclusion, parents should be aware of the activities their children do online. They should limit their access or teach them appropriate online behavior since it might not be possible to totally keep them off the internet in this digital age. Parents should also monitor their MPESA, credit or internet bundles for unfamiliar charges, balance, and history of transactions. Retailers too, offering home delivery services of such commodities need to be tougher to ensure children and young people are prevented from accessing alcohol through their channels. They should improve their procedures to ensure their deliveries only get to adults.

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Enock Bett
Digital Media Enthusiast|Tech, Business, Corporate Affairs, Politics, and Governance. [No Modes]
EMAIL: [email protected]
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Enock Bett

Digital Media Enthusiast|Tech, Business, Corporate Affairs, Politics, and Governance. [No Modes] EMAIL: [email protected]

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