Youth Month: How to keep our youngsters safe and secureSubmitted by Jacqui
Youth Month: How to keep our youngsters safe and secure As the country celebrates Youth Day on 16 June, a tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto, it is an opportune time to consider the safety of our own youth in 2019 - particularly in light of the recent stabbing at Forest High School in Gauteng.
“Safety is a priority and must be top of mind for everyone, particularly teenagers and young adults who are especially vulnerable to crime,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing & Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.
The events which unfolded this month at Forest High are sadly not new and point to the fact that schools in South Africa are becoming more violent and dangerous for both teachers and learners.
Last year the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, admitted that the 2018 spate of stabbings and attacks at learning institutions across South Africa was cause for major concern.
Hattingh says Fidelity ADT regularly conducts routine educational sessions or searches at schools to empower students to say no to drugs and violence. “Parents and educators all play a vital role in encouraging communication and clamping down on both substance abuse as well as the carrying of dangerous weapons by students at schools,” she says.
She applauded the most recent initiative by the Sandton SAPS who this month will be launching a Youth Desk aimed at improving communication between young people and the police.
The Youth Desk will identify safety challenges and develop and implement relevant projects to address these challenges. Key programmes will focus on education and skills development, alcohol and drug abuse, peer pressure and gangsterism amongst others.
“These are all very relevant issues and we need to see similar initiatives in other regions across the country,” says Hattingh. She provides the following advice for Youth Month:
- Monitor your child or teenager’s social media feeds to protect them from predators and bullies.
- Educate your children about the dangers and risks associated with taking drugs.
- Stamp out the carrying of any type of weapon which could cause harm.
- Instil an ethos of zero tolerance to violence and drugs.
- Encourage fee and open communication amongst your teenagers so they feel empowered to talk out on issues and report abuse.
-- ENDS --