Categorized | National News

Nat’l Child Protection Council Launches NETSMARTZ

The National Child Protection Council  in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Services launched its educational programme NETSMARTZ yesterday which aims to teach children how to navigate the internet  safely while also providing safety tips. 

It’s all a part of Child Protection Month. Noted child psychiatrist, Dr. Novia Carter-Lookie, and her team launched the programme at the St. Francis-Joseph Catholic school  during an interactive session with upper elementary students

Dr. Carter-lookie expressed to the students four key points they should be aware of, including cyber bullying and request for adults to meet them offline.

“Today we’re focusing on NETSMARTZ, which is the National Child Protection Council’s programme designed to instruct children on how to behave on the internet. 

“As you all know many children are challenged on the internet in terms of how to behave on the internet. They’re exposed to inappropriate language, pornography and also a lot of violent behaviour. 

“The purpose of our programme is to inform children of what is inappropriate, how to behave on the internet and also what to be careful of.  So, in the event that a child encounters let’s say pornography, let’s say they encounter violent behaviour, our programme is designed for children to teach them to go to their parents and inform their parents and make sure their parents see what they’ve been exposed to and then how to react to it,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said. 

Other key points that Dr. Carter-Lookie said are extremely important are inappropriate content, and sharing personal information. 

“One of the key things we talk to the children about is the releasing of personal information on the internet and strangely so a lot of the children say, ‘I see my mummy and daddy doing it…’ our whole purpose  is to educate the children in the hope that they go home and talk about it with their parents,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said.

Chairman of the council, Bishop Arnold Josey, reiterated that the initiative is not Nassau centric.

“We want everybody to understand that we are out in the islands, in the communities, speaking to them about how we are going to take care of our children. 

“This is National Child Protection Month and so all of our emphasis is going to be about making sure that everybody gets the message that we have a responsibility to take care of our children,” Bishop Josey said.

The programme has already been launched in one school in Long Island. 

It uses colouring books ‘Say No Then Go’ and ‘Stop and Think’, both written by Dr. Carter-Lookie and illustrated by Stevie Burrows, as tools to help children understand the importance of internet safety.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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