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CHILDLINE organizes an Internet Safety Session at Green Lawns High School

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CHILDLINE organizes an Internet Safety Session at Green Lawns High School

CHILDLINE India Foundation » CIF News » CHILDLINE organizes an Internet Safety Session at Green Lawns High School

The Internet has always been an innovation of utmost interest among children. We would hardly come across a school going child who does not use the World Wide Web on a daily basis, be it on a computer or a mobile phone. However, the emergence of this contemporary technology has brought with it tons of negative ways through which children can be exploited: bullying, planting viruses, hacking, slander and many more. All these harmful aspects have become a significant worry when it comes to children and what they are viewing online.

CHILDLINE feels there is a pressing need to talk about the grievous effects the wrong use of the internet can have on young minds and recently organized an internet safety session at Green Lawns High School in Mumbai. To help us enlighten the students on this important topic, CHILDLINE invited Ms. Shilpi Kapoor, Founder Director of Barrier Break, to carry out this session. Ms. Kapoor graciously conducted three different sessions for children from the 2nd to the 6th standard. A total of 270 children had attended the sessions. Ms. Kapoor discussed matters like social media, applications, sending and accepting friend requests from strangers, how to set up a SAFE password and many other things. The session was vital not only to create awareness about predators and scammers present across the web but also to establish a digital boundary for children and empower them to protect themselves online. One considerable aspect which she covered was to make them understand what it means when someone shares an unsafe picture or comment with them and what should be done if such an incident occurs. Ms. Kapoor stressed that if any child feels suspicious about the person they are interacting with online, then they should immediately report it to their parents or a trusted adult.

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Ms. Shilpi Kapoor interacts with the children during the session

The children were highly interactive throughout the session as this was one subject that they were extremely familiar with: the Internet. In the course of the discussions it was found that some of the children had 6 to 7 Facebook accounts and almost 95% of them had access to the internet whenever they wanted, anytime of the day without any adult supervision or safety techniques. However, many of them believed that safety measures are important in order to avoid a robbery, blackmail, kidnap or any other serious crime.

This session was conducted in the presence of the school teachers and it was an eye-opener for most of them as only a handful of the teachers were aware of the kind of information being circulated through the internet or even the various media that is used by and available to children at their fingertips. On seeing this, Ms. Kapoor requested for an extensive workshop for parents and teachers to educate them about how they can keep their children safe while using the internet. The authorities at Green Lawns High School are keen on taking this up in their school and have vowed to take better steps so as to be more informed on the issue of internet safety.

As more and more schools are granting access to the internet, potential danger is still imminent. This is also true in homes today where parents are handing down greater levels of freedom to their children and thus children can easily access the internet. Supervision by a parent, teacher or a concerned adult is crucial when it comes to exposure of children to the internet content which may be harmful to them. Ensuring protection to children while they use the internet is the need of the hour and will be considered necessary for a long time.

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