As a child protection agency, Samoa Victim Support Group is calling on all parents and guardians to take extra precaution on the children heavily accessing social media during these times of lockdown.
The warning came as various incidences affecting children this week, were due to their excessive usage of the social media platforms such as youtube and facebook. In most of these cases, the children were unsupervised.
Some of affected children brought to SVSG for help were severely affected mentally. It raises the alarm on the mental health impact on our young ones as they are exposed to online exploitation and abuse such as cyberbullying, sexting, child sexual abuse material, as well as digitally produced. We have had suicidal teenagers, others have ran away from home while some tolerated the depression and anxiety on their own.
Working in partnership with the UNICEF Pacific, SVSG’s Pschycosocial Officers have been on stand by and are available via the toll free Help Line number 8007874, to support the children going through these difficulties.
In this day and age of social distancing, most of the schools are relying on digital connection to complement the limited schooling hours. This is the positive side of the social media.
And this is where the parents and guardians should play their part in limiting the children’s social media access to school work only, guarding the children from visiting inappropriate sites or creating outdoor activities for the children to break them from being hooked on the social media.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang is calling on the the parents and guardians, “please look out for our children as we head into a long weekend to celebrate our country’s 58th independence. We might be free from COVID-19, but our children are at risk of mental health problems due to their heavily accessing the social media unsupervised.”