Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
The Social Development Department has joined forces with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force to caution parents on how their children use smart devices, especially on holiday break.
Head of Family Children and Protective Services within the Social Development Department, Ms. Laurel Freeman said that during the holiday season, children will be more inclined to spend more time on electronic devices rather than playing during the break from school.
Ms. Freeman said, “At this time in particular, we want parents to play their role but we want members of the community to also feel inclined to protect any child, whether it be lending assistance to ensure proper supervision while parents work or monitoring proper electronic use on various devices such as tablets, computers, video games, cell phones. Safeguarding children is a community effort and any suspicion of abuse should be reported to the relevant authorities. Moreover, it is important that young children are properly supervised. Parents should seek out an activity-based programme or arrange proper supervision by a trusted adult.”
Inspector John Antione of the Family and Juvenile Unit of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force also lends his voice and offers advice to parents to safeguard their children during the holidays, saying, “We are seeing reports where young children are exposed to pornography or sending pornographic material via social media and it is concerning. Parents and guardians should be very mindful of the activities children are engaged in and offer proper supervision at all times.”
The following are tips from the Social Development Department for parents to consider:
1. Always monitor what your children watch on electronic devices.
2. Set clear rules about device usage and time, and implement them. A limit of two hours per day is the recommended amount of time.
3. Engage in more family activities together.
4. Encourage interaction by socialising and learning from the environment.
5. Encourage more reading through books.
The public is encouraged to telephone the Social Development Department at
468-3650 or Family and Juvenile Unit at 368-9904 for more information.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates the recovery of human development and quality of life in the British Virgin Islands.
Note: Photograph provided by Google Images.