Children and adults alike learn to protect themselves from virtual as well as “real life” threats through games as part of an ongoing activity called “Right for Protection” taking place in ADPs across Lebanon.
Internet, social media and chat rooms have become one of the latest trends for children and youth in Lebanon as well as around the world. They are also, however, one of the greatest threats children face on a daily basis. For this reason, every child and parent must know what precautions to take and how to protect themselves against both immediate, physical threats as well as against virtual threats and cyber crime.
“We should not deprive our children and youth of Internet,” notes Rania Said, World Vision project coordinator at Marjeyoun ADP where the training was held. “It is a source of knowledge and information. Giving up [the] Internet is not an option anymore,” she affirms.
To help parents and children learn about and internalize the importance and methods of mitigating risk, World Vision organized an activity, called “Right for Protection” in which more than 300 children between 3 and 14 took part in educational games and activities together with their parents.
“Today I have learned about dangers and challenges that I may face online and how to deal with them, such as how to ensure my privacy… [I learned it] all though fun games,” says 11-year-old Tia, one of the participants.
World Vision recognizes the importance of involving parents in the monitoring of their children’s use of the Internet. For this reason the activity and educational games were designed with both the child and the parent participation in mind.
For Leila, one of the mothers who attended the event, it was very important and eye opening to understand the risks her children face when using the Internet—especially her children spent much of their summer vacation time online. “Now I know that [the] Internet is inevitable these days, and that protecting my children online while monitoring them and seeking to give them advice is essential,” she says.
As the focus of World Vision is to ensure a safe environment for every child, it is crucial that the work includes protection on the Internet. The organization has been actively promoting the protection of children in this specific arena for more than a year.
But, Internet safety was not the only topic of conversation at the event. Participants also learned how to protect themselves and their children from more well known dangers, such as fires, earthquakes and volcano eruptions, among other potential natural disasters—all while enjoying music, dances and entertainment.
In addition to the information on how to protect himself online, Toni, 13, learned, for the first time, what to do in the event of a fire. “One of the games around fires taught me that if one occurs I should lie down on the ground, because smoke rises toward the ceiling, and this way I can protect myself,” he says.
This activity also aims to educate children about the dangers of disasters that could occur at any time in Lebanon, whether they were natural or man-made. Over the past year, similar activities have been implemented in many of the areas that World Vision works throughout Lebanon.
“We must educate our children [on] how to get prepared for disasters. [This] contributes to the strengthening of the community’s resilience in [the event that] a disaster occurred,” adds Rania.