News headlines about heinous criminal acts against children such as
kidnapping, abuse, assault, murder and rape are more than just disturbing. They
are shocking. It is right that we condemn these despicable acts. While our
hearts go out to the aggrieved parents who
may never see their children again, we must realize that we live in a time and
age where it is no longer safe for children to roam about freely. Protecting
children from harm and violence is not just the duty of parents and the
authorities concerned. Society has to play its part as well.
action needs to begin with parents and the family. Parents must be vigilant and
know the whereabouts of their children all the time. They nee to watch out for
their children especially when they are outside, be it in the playground or
while shopping. Moreover, they need to chaperone
their children constantly, even if the distance traveled is short. Leaving a
child unsupervised and assuming that a child will ultimately return home safely
is unwise. Parents should set boundaries about places that children may go,
people they may see and things they may do. Children should also be taught to
say 'no' to strangers offering lifts and gifts.
The authorities, including the
police, can ensure better protection for children by implementing several
measures, for example increasing patrols in high-risk areas such as shopping
malls and playgrounds. They can also carryout awareness campaigns on child
safety. Installing CCTVs in areas frequented by children ill also go a long way
towards ensuring child safety.
Schools should place special emphasis on child
safety education. As young children are the most vulnerable, child safety
education should start in primary schools so that children can learn how to be
safe from strangers. Children should also be taught to trust their instincts and
seek help whenever they feel threatened.
It is a harsh but true fact that the
world is no longer a safe place for innocent children as sexual predators lurk
in every nook and cranny. A safe environment
for children to live and grow can only be realized when all parties, including
parents, schools, communities and the authorities work together.