“Even though the kids are measured in ounces and pounds, they are the heaviest thing in our lives” goes a saying. This conviction could probably have been a reason for Maxim Gorky to inscribe it as “The finest are for the children.” Many of us - if not all - are trying to endow the best possible protection for our children. Yet, we routinely see – hear – read and learn about terrific breach of safety of kids at the hands of the very society that we plan to gift our children. Some parents sadly have felt the agony of loss and harm on their kids in reality.
Gone is the period where, if a kid is lost in a crowd or if one spots a lone sick child on the wayside - people came to the rescue - perhaps at the expense of their precious time, effort and funds. The social safety landscape dismally has changed today. Such situations today are prospects for hawkish villains to exploit a child in peril. Good citizens are way too busy to notice neither the child nor the crook. That is why the Tsunami orphaned kids were stolen, toddlers are molested in the school vans by adults, they are abducted from the school gate itself, teens are bamboozled to be captured in porn clips, even pre-teens (of both genders) are raped or physically abused. Some kids eventually are brutally murdered. Depressed school kids commit suicide on horror of exposure and indecent adult pressure. Dreadfully, this is not all - and this is not the end of the cycle of evil expansion.
Exclusivity of Metro Kids
The metro community setting is based on ‘being eventfully busy’. This leads to gaps in the vigilance focus within a family. Firstly, the outreach of the metro kid is greater in contrast to a village kid. Secondly, the metro parents are pressed with chaotic work scheduling - thus the family safety priority is visibly overshadowed. Thirdly, the urban kids have justifiable fusion of education and social outings in the day and late evenings too - mostly on their own - than with someone responsible to watch over them. The companions of the kids too are not entirely known to the parents. The next is - unlike in a village setting, metro ambiances are inconsistently populated. Thus, it presents diverse safety anxieties in the chaos.
Safety at home
Like in many other spheres, the spiritual, emotional and physical safety of kids begins at home. Metro homes mostly are administered by domestics in the absence of the masters. During these times, safety of kids rests in the hands of domestics. We may rely upon random telephone verification – yet an ill motivated shrewd domestic could still trick us – and tell us all’s well – whilst the kid’s virtue is exploited inside the house itself. This is why it is essential that the growing kids are exposed to ‘gender specific personal risk and safety awareness’ – ether by parents or someone knowledgeable in the family circle – in their own language.
One morning, a teen left home with permission to study with his friends in the neigbourhood. Eventually his dead body was returned to shocked and weeping parents by the evening. Skipping the study, the lads had sneaked-out of the home zone for a thrilling sea bath – and all drowned tragically.
Safety of our kids in metro neigbourhood could be enhanced by specifying outing times, setting up behavioural formats (reinforced by consequences of breaching) and by agreeing on staying points. If the child has the luxury of taking permission to visit point A and – without your knowledge – visits point B and stays at point C too, anything dire could happen. All it needs is one minute for a ferocious flicker.
A bunch of metro teens once made fun in the train and opted to travel in the foot-board of the compartment until one of them was killed instantly by colliding on a rail bridge. Whichever is the mode, the children should be made aware of the risks involved in traveling. Sometimes the risk is owing to the method they select traveling. Another time it could be the route they choose. It could also be the time of the travel. It can be the speed, mechanical stability, road condition or the health of the driver. Recently, a school van driver died instantly on top of the road by a heart failure - with a packed load of junior school children in the moving vehicle.
Safety at places
Once at a festivity of teens, a few girls got very drunk without their intention or knowledge. The reason was that the fruit juice served from time to time had been adulterated with alcohol. If the purpose of this subtle mixing-up was malicious, the girls and their parents would have suffered for life. Young kids often befriend with strangers at places and casually share vital family information with such people. A daylight burglary of an affluent residence was carried out by a white collar criminal gang – based on the information disclosed by a child to a polite visitor. In some cases, such revelations could even lead to kidnap and ransom demands.
Technology at naive hands and in sadistic minds can be deadly. Once, a wireless covert CCTV camera with a remote viewing option had secretly been placed in the girls’ washroom in an urban tutoring institute. Children upload their personal details, online camera images and photographs in social media sites, blogs and chat rooms on the web. Little they realize that the visuals could end up in illicit sites – under someone else’s fake profile. Web enabled mobile phones in possession of children aid them with unsupervised and un-filtered surfing access. It is not that we must obscure the assortment from kids. They must know everything at the right age with distinctive consciousness – both on danger in disguise and safety at hand.
It is also necessary that each of us develops a family contingency plan – with a special emphasis on kid’s safety factor. The personal emergency awareness along with response skills ought to be developed with each metro child. For instance, if your child misses the school van in severe rain and is stranded in isolation – the child must have a confident swap plan to set in motion. It is best if the worse case action could be put to test - at least once. As parents it is our compulsion to our children to train them right. As a verse enlightens us “Life does not come with coaching manuals. That’s why kids have parents”. Now it clearly is our turn!!!
(The writer is an enterprise risk management specialist, a performance trainer, a concerned parent and a conscious citizen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via web www.dksolutions.org)