With the incidence of child abuse on the rise, conversations about personal safety are imperative, but many parents and adults do not find the topic easy to approach. To address the issue, Surakshith - a mobile application by UNICEF and Enfold Proactive Health Trust (an NGO working towards life skills, gender empowerment and personal safety since 2001) - enables you to access child safety information and provides age-appropriate ways to talk about it to your children as well.
The app has information and guides about personal body safety, cyber-safety and even personal safety stories for children aged 6 to 18 years. With colourful illustrations and use of simple language, Surakshith makes it easy to explain personal safety issues to children.
Surakshith defines personal body safety rules and who âSafe Adultsâ are for children.
âMost people care for children and follow Personal Body Safety Rules for themselves and others. These are Safe Adults. Think of your Safe Adults. Trace your hand on a piece of paper. Along each finger, write the name of one âSafe Adultâ. In the palm write âMy Safe Adultsâ. Pin this or keep the paper with you,â it explains.
The app also differentiates between safe and unsafe touch and encourages children to inform their âsafe adultsâ about untoward incidents. âYou can keep telling until someone listens and takes steps to stop the rule breaker,â says the app.
Children often tend to blame themselves for abuse they are subjected to. Surakshith tells children that they shouldnât be the ones feeling guilty.
The app also cautions that the internet is not only an avenue for accessing entertainment and information but a place where children could fall prey to abusers. It emphasizes on age-appropriate usage.
The internet safety section also has useful information for parents and adults on protecting identity and personal details of children, checking for trustworthy sites, cyber-bullying and the tricks abusers use to hoodwink children on the internet.
Here is an example of a personal safety story for children between 8-10 years of age.
The commendable thing about the app is that it provides information about the laws governing abuse and reporting mechanisms as well. Enfold Trust co-founder Sangeeta Saksena told The Hindu that that the aim of the app is not merely to recognize abuse but also to encourage its reportage.
The app is available in 11 languages including Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.
Images: Screenshots from the app