A child’s innocence is precious, pure and fresh. It is not the lack of guilt with respect to the commission of a crime but the purity and freshness of a child’s mind which ought to be preserved.

This is why there is an obligation on every adult to protect and prevent a child from coming in contact with any object or influence capable of corrupting or harming the child’s innocence.

I noticed a trend, I cannot really say it is new but I noticed it from my recent outings to Bars and Lounges around Ijegun/ Satellite Town and Festac Town.

During these outings in the company of friends, I noticed couples coming to these relaxation centres with their kids, toddlers of about 2-4 years old.

Some of them come to celebrate birthdays, with cakes in their hands, others come just for fun.

This sight gets me wondering…. . Are these relaxation centres the appropriate places for kids?

These are places you find male and female adults smoking and drinking alcohol, while female dancers strut their asses on stage and make all sorts of sultry dance moves.

Sometimes you see a man and a woman kissing and cuddling.

All these images are absorbed by the toddler and stored up in the toddler’s mind which is very much impressionable.

How about the health hazards?

The effect of inhaling cigarette smoke is dangerous both for the smoker and for the 3rd party who is left with no choice.

I, for one would rather look for a corner where the atmosphere is less invaded by cigarette smoke, to sit, and then urge my friends to join me, to avoid being choked by cigarette smoke.

How much more is it environmentally safe for the wellbeing of a toddler.

This is my worry and it is genuine.

How did we get here? When did we become so morally bankrupt? What happened to amusement parks and playgrounds? Are they now outdated and inappropriate for children or have we run short of them.

Maybe we need to invest in more of these in the state.

How about the time of day these Bars and Lounges are open for business.

These relaxation centres start to bubble with activities at about 9-10 p.m. because they are night-grooving centres.

One would think that these kids ought to be asleep at that hour even on a weekend.

YES, the bulk of the responsibility of nurturing and protecting the innocence of these children rest on their parents but these parents are the very ones bringing the kids to the Bars and Lounging Centres.

What right thinking parent would bring his or her children to such an environment?

What happened to their sense of discernment? It beats my imagination.

Thus, how can a situation as this be changed when the main actor saddled with the responsibility of making that change is oblivious of it.

Some might not see anything wrong with this trend but I do and believe others would share my view.

The consequences of this trend are endless.

The impact of these images on these young minds may result in these children seeing nothing wrong in smoking, abusing alcohol, drugs and porn and getting involved in these activities in their youth.

This will also inevitably lead to them doing whatever it takes such as engaging in unimaginable acts to exercise their freedom when restrained.

This is an age where technology and social media is already negatively affecting and distracting the young ones.

What with the prevalent news in the media of under-aged individuals engaging in porn, suicide, drugs, and illicit activities which are on the rise daily.

Dear readers, something needs to be done about this and quickly too lest we have an uncontrollable situation in our hands.

Parents should desist from taking their children to Bars and Lounges but rather to amusement parks and playgrounds rightly meant for these young ones.

Let us nip this in the bud while we can before it explodes in our face.

It is sincerely hoped that it won’t.