About The Program
In recent years, technology-driven bullying and sexual harassment through computers, cell phones, and other electronic equipment, have become more prevalent than face-to-face bullying and other forms of sexual harassment. Photo images, visual and text messages and short film clips are conveyed at all hours of the day and night, reaching a very wide audience. Examples include hurtful text messages sent via the cell phone or internet, sexually-oriented rumours spread via electronic mail or social networks and embarrassing or humiliating video clips distributed through web-based networks. These and other forms of sexually charged materials can have destructive implications for their recipients. Among children and youth, they can reduce the desire to attend school, decrease their self-confidence, lower academic achievement, and even provoke suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Moreover, children are increasingly exposed to frequent incidences of violence, especially harsh sexual violence, through multiple and easily accessible technology and communication modes.
There is a growing need to create a protected and safe environment for young children. Studies indicate that ages 9 and 10 (third and fourth grades) are an especially impressionable time period to teach children to properly use the internet.
Voice of Child offers a comprehensive program, aimed at children ages 9 and 10, to protect themselves from the inherent dangers of the internet. It includes increased awareness, the setting of clear boundaries about what is permissible and what is forbidden, and formal (and non-formal) programs in values education.
At the beginning of the program, a series of lectures about technology-driven bullying and sexual harassment is provided to a school’s educational staff and parents. During the lectures, teachers, principals and parents learn how to identify, address and prevent the phenomenon. Frequently they bring up concrete cases of behaviors that have concerned them but for which they had minimal knowledge of how to respond.
In the second phase, Voice of Child facilitators implement a specially structured program in select classrooms. The once a week, two-hour meetings are organised over the course of eight weeks. The program focuses on developing rules for a more ‘balanced’ computer use when children surf the internet and for the prevention of computer-based intentional bullying and sexual harassment. The pupils view short film clips and conduct classroom discussions on the theme of surfing the internet in a safe manner.
During the eight-week course, pupils learn how to treat themselves and each other with respect and how to relate to one another in an egalitarian manner. They learn about bullying and forceful behaviour related to sexual harassment and to the notion of what is good or bad touching. The pupils also learn about the obligation of reporting harassing incidence, the nature of sexual stereotypes, which may lead to sexual harassment, and a program for self-safety.
The Taking A Stand 10″ Prevention program supplies information and coping strategies to both pupils and school staff to more effectively deal with incidences of sexual harassment and their prevention in the future. These practical tools continue to serve and support teachers following the conclusion of the program. The program has been shown to empower children, foster mutual respect, and improve the classroom environment.