Out of all the things parents could be concerned of regarding their children’s’ safety, falling victim to sexual/pedophile harassers might just top the list. And this never rings as true as it does today, following the recently caught on tape pedophilia incident in Maadi, showing a man enter a building, calling a little girl, and luring her into the basement where he started to sexually assault the child.
A widely circulated harassment incident that was cruel enough to spark fear and disdain across Egyptian households…leaving them with a bunch of baffling thoughts, along with consequential questions to ask. “How can we protect our beloved kids?” They have also been contemplating whether or not showing them the shared video assault would act as a contributor to children’s awareness, and thus safety?
Watching the video (although was necessary to identify the sexual predator) was disturbing to watch for ADULTS to begin with. So imagine how traumatizing this could be for a bunch of 4-5 year-olds? According to Safe Kids, an NGO aiming at delivering psychological services for child protection, exposing your child to the video would only exacerbate the sense of panic and insecurities. They provoked the discussion of “why would someone do that” and a thread of related questions that say that children are better off not having the answers for at this stage.
Instead, setting rules and red-flags for your children to be cautious of, would better deliver the message. For example, asserting kids not to follow a stranger who tries to entice them either through an appealing/threatening appeal, such as offering sweets or scolding them to follow him.
Awareness can also be raised by watching social awareness cartoons/animations, exploring simple steps to prevent child sexual abuse. Another is reading appropriate books made especially for kids regarding the topic, as it will only entail the suitable kind of vocabulary used in explaining the matter.
Remember, the sole purpose behind raising awareness is for our kids to be protected. This protection shouldn’t solely be focused on the physical aspect while overlooking the emotional one..we don’t want to embed a sense of fear or disturbance along the noble process.
The intentions behind several parents showing their kids the assault caught on camera are unquestionably and clearly stemming from a good place, and comes with a willingness to provide all the tools at hand in creating a safer environment for them. However, it is not the adequate method to do so, as there are several healthier alternatives that can achieve the same intended goal, whilst sparing our kids at the same time. It would spare the children emotional scars that can, in some cases, grow with them, lasting for a lifetime.
Raising awareness amongst kids regarding sexual harassment is a “life long process” that shouldn’t be aroused and categorized as a trend, simply because we’re under the influence of the circulated video. We might tend to forget about it several days later. It’s an important area, and a social responsibility that should not be taken lightly, but should also be carried out appropriately.