Green Hearts Plettenberg Bay
We read and hear about child abuse almost daily and not in far off places, but on our own doorstep. Are incidences on the increase or is a higher level of awareness being created by social media? Whatever the case may be, parents will have to step in and provide their children with the ability to recognise dangerous situations and also how to deal with it.
Most cases of abuse results at the hands of the adults that are already well known to the children. In many cases children are abused by adults whom they not only trust but also love, resulting in confusion for the children especially when they’re abused by adults who are supposed to be worthy of their trust. Therefore, when they’re
Following are some important tips that parents can follow in order to prevent child abuse.
One of the most important things we can teach our children is
“NO” If they grow up with the world (in a positive way) and they
know that there are boundaries saying “no” when it is necessary will come easy for them.
Communication – As important as the above, but sadly does not exist in most of houses, regardless it being a shack or mansion
- Children must learn to share their ideas, routine, and emotions with parents
- Communication plays a stronger key in understanding your child’s behaviour as well as their daily routine.
- It is vitally important that parents know who their friends are and even more important getting to know their friend’s parents
- Know what your child’s interest are and talk to them about it. Show interest!
- If there is a clear channel of communication between child and parent and something happens to the child he/she will be more willing to talk than where there is no communication.
- Where kids are and what they do must be general knowledge to parents
- can help kids:
- stay connected with friends and family
- enhance their creativity by sharing ideas, music, and art
- meet and interact with others who share similar interests
- communicate with educators and fellow students
What’s bad about social media?
Post photos of themselves online or use their real names on their profiles and photos, videos, and comments made online usually can't be taken back once they're posted. Even when a teen thinks something has been deleted, it can be impossible to completely erase it from the Internet.
- Posting an inappropriate photo can damage a reputation and cause problems years later — such sending a mean-spirited text, even as a joke, can be very hurtful to someone else and even taken as a threat
- Posting their school name and the town where they live
- Reveal their birthdates and interests
- Besides problems like cyberbullying and online predators, kids also can face the possibility of a physical encounter with the wrong person. Many newer apps automatically reveal the poster's location when they're used. This can tell anyone exactly where to find the person using the app.
This can make them easy targets for online predators and others who might mean them harm.
Parents, do you know that most teenagers say that they have :
- been contacted online by someone they didn't know in a way that made them feel scared or uncomfortable
- received online advertising that was inappropriate for their age
- lied about their age to get access to websites
Children have rights, also a right to privacy, but how far do we allow that privacy?
- Young children should not have access to cellophanes should they be provided with a cell phone, nothing more than a basic ‘hello and good buy’ is necessary
- Cell phones should be checked
- Computers use should be monitored
It's important to be aware of what your kids do online. But snooping can alienate them and damage the trust you've built together. The key is to stay involved in a way that makes your kids understand that you respect their privacy but want to make sure they're safe.
Tell your kids that it's important to:
- Be nice. Mean behaviour is not OK. Make it clear that you expect your kids to treat others with respect, and to never post hurtful or embarrassing messages. And ask them to always tell you about any harassing or bullying messages that others post.
- Think twice before hitting "enter." Remind teens that what they post can be used against them. For example, letting the world know that you're off on vacation or posting your home address gives would-be robbers a chance to strike. Teens also should avoid posting specific locations of parties or events, as well as phone numbers.
- Follow the "WWGS?" (What Would Grandma Say?) rule. Teach kids not to share anything on social media that they wouldn't want their teachers, college admissions officers, future bosses — and yes, grandma — to see.
- Use privacy settings. Privacy settings are important. Go through them together to make sure your kids understand each one. Also, explain that passwords are there to protect them against things like identity theft. They should never share them with anyone, even a boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend.
- Don't "friend" strangers. "If you don't know them, don't friend them." This is a plain, simple — and safe — rule of thumb.
Parents also can help keep kids grounded in the real world by putting limits on media use. Keep computers in public areas in the house, avoid laptops and smartphones in bedrooms, and set some rules on the use of technology (such as no devices at the dinner table).
And don't forget: Setting a good example through your own virtual behaviour can go a long way toward helping your kids use social media safely.
This article was posted by THE GREEN HEARTS, an organisation fighting child abuse and assisting parents and children that has been abused.
In the next issues we will talk on issues of
- Protective behaviour
- Obvious signs of sexual abuse and what steps needs to be taken
- Shortcomings of present child abuse laws
- Inadequacies and the Justice system
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