Monitor Your Children’s Texting: MCWD’s Reader On “Raising Happy Children And Providing Safe Childhoods”

Monitor Your Children’s Texting: MCWD’s Reader On “Raising Happy Children And Providing Safe Childhoods”

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has developed a reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods”,  providing advisory guidelines for parents, teachers and the community at large, to protect children from being involved in delinquent behavior through early detection, counselling and positive engagement. The reader draws upon basic principles laid down in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

“Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents, teachers, peers and other caregivers.  Therefore, there is a need to create a warm, loving and nurturing environment where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are recognized and honored by their family, school and community so as to allow them to reach their full potential,” a press-release issued by the Ministry stated.

The Reader is divided into three parts. Part-I functions as an advisory for parents, giving out guidelines to prevent violence and crimes by children. Part-II and III enlists guidelines for teachers and community members respectively. Each part briefly discusses a few major problems that can push children on the wrong side of law, the early signs of this, and the steps that can be taken to strengthen protection or intervene to reduce risks.

Part-I and Part-II contains specific guidelines for tackling substance abuse and “problem sexual behavior or sexually abusive behavior”. Part-III also provides pointers for preventing sexual violence. For instance, for parents to tackle their children’s problematic sexual behavior or sexually abusive behavior, they have been, at the outset encouraged to initiate dialogue, and also set down clear rules and monitor their texting.

“Children and adolescents need not be allowed 100 per cent privacy for what they do, say and hear online and with their phones, for their own sake. While parents pay for their phone bills, or even if they do not – while children are under age – as parents, tell them that parents must have some level of knowledge of what they are texting. This does not mean parents will check every text. But it does mean that occasional checking may happen. It means that phones are not allowed in bedrooms with closed doors at night. It means that teens cannot put lock on their phones that parents may not know about. As teens get older (16 and 17 for example) it may be that more privacy could be negotiated,” the reader states.

It thereafter draws upon global best practices which have proven to be successful in keeping children safe from delinquent behavior. It thereafter goes on to suggest a broad framework for imbibing in them, positive skills such as conflict resolution and violence prevention.

The Reader further ensures that detention or institutionalization is a measure of last resort, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and prioritizes the best interests of the child, including positive measures and principles of diversion.

Read the Reader for parents, teachers and community here.