How can we keep our children safe?

Ryan International School murder

Today we came across the heart-wrenching news of the loss of an innocent life within the premises of a school, the Ryan International School. This is the second time in a year that a child has lost his life within school boundaries. It is natural to feel hurt and angry about the injustice of it all. In the need to get justice and answers we all feel overwhelmed and overtaken by a sense of helplessness. But at the core of such incidents is a burning question that remains: Who is responsible for the safety of our children? Is it the school or the parents or at a larger level, the government? Perhaps it is all of them.

As a parent, it is important that we teach our children to be assertive in order to protect themselves against incidents of bullying and emotional exploitation. And most importantly, make our homes a place of trust and support. At school, creating a safe learning environment, identifying pupils who are suffering or at risk of harm and then taking suitable action, are vital to making sure that children are safe. It is for the government to make sure the right information is imparted to parents and children both in private and government sector schools about issues relating to cyber-safety and bullying.

Today’s porous digital boundaries have made our children vulnerable to sometimes damaging content. We, all on various occasions, have been exposed to many offensive and inciting messages that pop up in various chat forums and social media sites. They not only invoke our curiosity but also create a sense of dread, panic and helplessness. This is particularly true for the exploring minds of our children

We, as parents, have an added responsibility to use such forums with utmost care and caution. In today’s time of dwindling family ties internet sometimes takes over the role of pseudo parents and may function as their only emotional support systems. We, as the community, need to provide more robust personal “ live” forums where our children can seek support for all their emotional needs.

Turning off our computers, our phone, logging off Facebook, and just getting rid of social media and actually having face to face conversations with our children is the need of the hour and may actually save this generation. Together we can protect our future generation by teaching them to be smart, strong, and safe.

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