First and most importantly, we hope all of you are well and that those you love are healthy and safe. Many things are impacting our lives and our children’s lives right now and there are many day-to-day worries on our minds.
During this time, we ask you to keep prevention a priority through these unprecedented times. While more families are “stuck” at home, it gives us the opportunity to strengthen our safety planning for children.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST STRATEGY!
PROTECTING CHILDREN DURING A CRISIS
We often develop strategies that help to prevent child sexual abuse under our existing circumstances. but what happens if those circumstances change? We need to be prepared to continue protecting kids to the best of our ability under any circumstances.
Our partners at Darkness to Light have created a new 30 minute online training, designed to help you navigate through the unusual circumstances you might face during times of crisis. This change is any situation where you need to modify the steps you take to protect your children because of a situation that is out of your control. This training will help you consider your current strategies, help you identify the new situation, and help you change your strategy.
Please click on the following link to take the FREE training – Protecting Children During a Crisis
All of us – including children – are turning to the internet now more than ever for news, comfort, education and distraction. The internet is an unmatched tool for children, but there are innumerable risks that come with unfettered access to this world. From pornography to adults with unsafe intentions, from scammers to same-aged bullies, there is just so much online that is age-inappropriate or harmful to children’s development.
Here are 6 quick tips you can put into use today to keep children safe online from Stop it Now
- Model healthy technology use.Children mimic the behavior they see around them. Be mindful of how and when you’re using your devices, especially now, when stress levels are running high. Try enacting some “screen-free time” consistently in a way that makes sense for your family, such as during dinner, two hours before bed, or for the first three hours every morning.
- Find out more about the parental controls built in to the computers, gaming systems, phones and tablets in your home. You can use these to limit screen time, block inappropriate material and enforce guidelines around internet and technology use. Know the controls’ limits, too. They’re not fail-safe, but they are a good tool in your toolbox.
- Supplement controls with conversations. Talk about privacy, respect and appropriate online behavior. Let children know that bullying is not allowed, and that if they’re being targeted online they should come to you. Teach them that what they put out on the internet or in a text can’t be taken back, so always take a minute (or five) to consider whether they’d be okay with their classmates, parents, and grandparents all reading or looking at what they’re about to post. (If not, a good rule is to keep it to themselves.) Make sure they understand that they can never truly know someone online, so they should never share their last name, school’s name, birth date or address, and they shouldn’t use any email that uses their last name or school’s name either. Some parents find it helpful to have a set of rules specific for internet and technology use that address things like amount of time spent online, allowable content and encourages conversations if their child finds concerning material.
- Consider their developmental stage and how this affects the way the go online. If they’re 6 or under, likely they’re using the internet passively: watching a show or movie, or playing an educational game with a parent. Normalize technology use out in the open, keep devices in a common area, and periodically look at what your child is doing. However, older children have access to the internet, tablet or gaming systems in ways that are more independent, so they require additional discussions about how to navigate the complex world they encounter. Consider how a child’s strengths and limitations also may affect how they interact online: for example, children with low self-esteem may be more susceptible to people who are manipulative, so use what you know about the children in your life to talk about “what-if” situations.
- Check-in with the children in your life. What’s their favorite thing to do on their gaming system, tablet or laptop? Have them show you what they enjoy doing, and be curious about their online interests. If you have a free hour, ask them how to play their favorite game and spend some time learning it with them – and making mistakes. Make sure they know that you’ll periodically look at their internet and want to know about any new friends they make online. Ask them if they’ve seen anything confusing or inappropriate they want to check-in with you about, and don’t shame them for sharing something that made them feel uncomfortable.
- Finally, make sure that all the caregivers who are looking after the children in your life know what the technology rules are, along with the family safety planning rules. Continuity for children and youth right now can create a sense of safety and ease. When expectations are clear and consistent across the board, that can make transitions easier for children as well.
For more information for online safety please visit CYBERTIPS.BM
MANY children questioned admit chatting to strangers while online.
Coronavirus: Thousands of paedophiles preying on children online during lockdown
From SKY NEWS – CLICK HERE
the “What If” Game!
Spending a lot of time at home with your kids? Looking for a fun and healthy activities to do together?
The “What If?” Game is a great way to pose possible situations to kids that they may face in life and would need to solve. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to let your kids know you are always there for them and they can tell you anything. But you can’t always be there, at least not physically.
By playing the “What If?” Game, you are empowering your children to develop positive decision-making skills and giving them the confidence they need to problem-solve on their own. It helps build resilience, which is crucial for overcoming obstacles.
The Monique Burr Foundation provides parents with resources and information, including how to discuss sensitive topics with your child. The MBF website also provides four professional development courses on human trafficking, sexual abuse, cyberbullying and digital safety, and recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.
Research shows 95% of abuse is preventable with education.have created the following lesson plans for educators to use in the classroom.
Safe online learning for teachers from Darkness to Light
Preventing Child Abuse During School Breaks
Schools out! Whether it’s for a hurricane, or the more recent COVID-19 virus, when schools shut down it can be an unnerving and difficult time – for parents and for kids. Children and teens are more likely to be in unsafe situations when school is not in session because parents have to work and childcare can pose a challenge. Or children may be left to be cared for by unfamiliar relatives, neighbors, or babysitters.
During times and situations like these, we often see an increase in abuse. Unfamiliar caregivers may put children at a higher risk of sexual abuse, exploitation, or physical abuse.
Entrusting someone to care for your children is often a difficult but necessary task. However, there are things you can do to help prevent the abuse or exploitation of your child in these situations:
Safety in COVID-19 Times
Safety in COVID-19 Times,” aimed to help parents recognizing vulnerable signs in their children or in other adults in the home,
and to also commemorate National Child Abuse Prevention Month from Stop It Now