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What’s up? Teenage girl vanishes from home after being denied Whatsapp

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Parents, beware! If you have introduced your teenage children to Whatsapp, you must come up with a diplomatic way of getting them off once they get addicted.

A couple in Nairobi learned the hard way when an attempt to wean their teenage girl off the popular real-time chat application went awry.

Related: Simple ways to beat social media addiction

It is now a week since Sheilla Kagendo left her Valley View estate, Mihang’o in Nairobi. The 13-year-old pupil disappeared on April 24 at mid-day after her mother took her mobile phone to stop her from spending too much time on WhatsApp.

The mother, Lenna Mwaniki says two months ago she had an agreement with her firstborn child that she would delete her WhatsApp application so she could concentrate on class work.

Sheilla is a candidate for this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary School Education Examination (KCPE). The girl initially obeyed but downloaded the application again.

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To ensure she didn’t acess Whatsapp, the mother took away the phone. This appears to have annoyed the who left home till today. “I had told her to delete WhatsApp but she downloaded it again. I punished her and left but when I came back, she was not in the house. We have not found her to-date,” Mrs Mwaniki said.

Sheila is a pupil at Utawala Academy. Though she has acted in rebellion, the mother says the daughter is a disciplined and a calm person.

She left a letter on the table telling her parents not to trouble themselves looking for her. In her letter, Sheilla wrote that she was mature enough to live on her own.

“Thank you mom and dad for raising me well, may Jehova continue to bless you,” she wrote. “But for now, I need to go. I am a big girl and I can take care of myself. Please don’t bother looking for me.”

She also apologised to her other three siblings, saying that she had caused them enough trouble for walking away.

Her half-page letter went on: “I love you very much. I am very sorry for what I have done. Please do not cry because I am making life difficult for you. I am sorry. Please do not look for me, I have gone to start a new life. Bye to my friends and family.”

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The girl was last seen wearing a pair of jeans trousers, a pink top with black stripes, an orange jacket and grey rubbers. The mother realised that the child had also taken Ksh1,000 from the house.

“I told her to finish her homework since they were to resume school this week,” she recalls. The search started around her neighbourhood but she could not be traced. The matter was reported to Mihang’o Police Station.

The parents are desperate and are pleading with the girl to go back home. “We love our daughter and the most important thing is to find her. We only meant well,” says her father, Mr John Mwaniki. “Anyone who knows where she is or has seen her, please call us on 0722 460 842 or 0722 430 402.”


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