How I wish our kids would return to the good old age of innocence as a society. I really do. Wish they could go back in time when television watching was restricted to He-Man and Disney Hour for kids and when playing did not mean gaming but actually running on open grounds…
If we reminisce into sweet memories of our childhood we will remember that cricket with children of our age in the garden were the best hours of the day and the only fear we ever had was of the ogre in the fairy tale book because every other bad guy could be tackled by Sabu and Chacha Choudhury, Tintin, the kings in Amar Chitra Katha. We helped our parents run errands all by ourselves to the local grocery store and went to buy eggs, breads and what not.But today times are sad, bad and ugly.
Kids have to be told about bad touch and good touch at the tender age of 3 when they should actually be only trying to remember their family names and have first friends in school. They can no longer run errands as it is unsafe for children to venture out alone.
I get tensed even if I can’t see my child for five minutes in my apartment. I trust teachers no more. I find myself discussing with other parents as to how we can keep our kids safe from other the prowling eyes of strangers.
What do we do to prevent sexual crimes against children?
- On the first day of the new academic year, the school must arrange for an Introduction Session when every teacher and staff member of the school should introduce themselves on stage on who they are, what is their role and what are their qualification
- That will help parents have a face to who the people are who are managing their kids
- The school website should have a link to the profile of every staff member of the school with their credentials and should be promptly changed should there be any changes
- A recce must be arranged for parents to visit every nook and corner of the school to know where is the gym, the skating rink, the classrooms for elder kids, younger kids, any extra rooms etc.
- Buses should have GPS facilities. There should be no such rooms called Resource Rooms, Dark Rooms etc. Should the parents come to know of any such room, the matter should be brought to the notice of the principal immediately
- Invite activists like Harish Aiyer and Payal Shah Karwa who have written books on CSA and open up dialogue sessions amongst teachers, parents and elder students
- Have suggestion boxes made available at all accessible places in the school to enable students to report any discrepancy
- Children should be informed and orientated about Child Helpline numbers in their areas
- If possible have a Child Helpline cell in the school premises
- CCTV cameras in every school premises
- Parents should form online communities to be in touch with each other, share best practices by other good schools and insist your school implements those best practices
- Have parents hold workshops and dialogues for kids in schools other than just academicians. Give sound examples that will help kids understand the extent of danger and trust, acceptable and non-acceptable behavior
- Trust you child and let your child have faith in you. Create environments and situations to have the child believe and feel assured that come what may, you as a parent are someone they can always come back to
These are only my thoughts. I am struggling as much to find the right answer and the right guidance on how to communicate all of the above to my toddler. My mother never had to tell me all this in as much detail and yet we understood without the erosion of much faith or innocence.
Let us all contribute and add up to these preventive tips to make our children and society stronger fight crimes against our children unitedly.
Madhavi Mukherjee is an amused mother who still thinks and believes that while she sleeps at night, three year old tot is being trained by someone to learn new words, do new stuff, and to express better each day. She has been a practicing communications professional for over a decade. Madhavi is an aspiring singer, craft teacher, seamstress, painter and writer. Madhavi is getting used to her new designation as a Stay-At-Home-Mum and is enjoying every bit of the way. You can read more of Madhavi on kaarukriti.wordpress.com and ourmoina.wordpress.com