By Suelv, 14, Albania
Being a child or a teenager can be pretty rough sometimes. Especially if you’re living in Albania, where children and teenagers are vulnerable, facing violence, abuse and bullying. As a group of children and teens from a small village near the coastal city of Vlora, we decided do some child protection activities and to dedicate our awareness campaigns to some of the most disturbing themes in our area: violence against children and cyber bullying.
The first thing we did was to participate in different trainings about violence and cyberbullying, so we could have a better understanding of these problems. The hardest part was to decide how we were going to share this information with our peers and our communities. After brainstorming for a while, we decided to give trainings in schools for both children and parents and of course teachers. We planned to give enough information so parents would know how to protect their children online. Teachers would know how to peacefully end conflict between children. We conducted different sessions, informing and sharing points of views between participants, giving some important recommendations especially on the most disturbing matter, cyberbullying.
In our work with our peers, we thought of some recommendations to address these issues, some of them are:
•Putting the PC/laptop in the centre of the living room so parents can see if there is being shown anything inappropriate on the PC screen.
•Installing filters in the PC so children can open only secure and approved pages.
•Never open messages from strangers, for they may be viruses and in case something like that happens, always contact parents or teachers or another adult who can deal with the situation.
•Parents must always check history log, so they will be identify the source of the problem if something disturbs their children
•Never send anyone your photos or personal information, especially if you don’t know them.
•Teachers to give continuing counselling and discussion with their students about the importance of being kind and supportive with their friends and classmates.
•For the Ministry of Education to support an hour week where children learn about the risks of cyberbullying in their schools showing them ways to keep them secure while surfing on the Internet.
Of course there is more to do, but as we say here in Albania a good beginning is half of the work done. Hopefully along the way we’ll see improvements.