Dazzle Carrington & Gabriel Blackmann (NYLO Interns)
Ag Supt Beverly Rodriguez of the TT Child Protection Unit (TTCPU) of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) urged the public to beware of predators in the upcoming school term. The warning to parents came during the weekly press briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port-of- Spain, and entailed advice for parents and teachers for when school resumes.
Rodriguez urged school children to practise safety precautions on the nation’s roads, when travelling, and advised they use the same route every day, never use shortcuts and to go straight home after school.
“A large number of children will be on their own for the first time. These children are vulnerable and can be easily influenced. Predators use this period to target our children,” she said.
“Know your children’s friends, check school bags regularly to ensure no prohibited item is in your child’s school bag.”
Rodriguez emphasized the important role of parents and guardians in teaching their children safety practises. Children should be taught to distance themselves from strangers who attempt to make contact with them, and report the incident to an authority such as a parent or teacher, immediately. Children should also be taught not to enter vehicles, even if familiar, without the parent’s permission, and when travelling, the make, colour, number plate and driver’s description should be noted before entry.
Internet security was also a key topic at the brief.
Rodriguez expressed the need for parental supervision of children’s internet activity and the need for time limits on their children’s internet use. “Computers, cellular phones, tablets and such, should always be placed in a common area of the house; they should never be placed in a child’s bedroom. The placement in a living room or dining room will allow you to monitor them and their activity occasionally,” she said.
Children should be educated on the dangers of the internet and the predators that use it to gain access to their victims and thus should be discouraged from revealing personal information online. Predators often pose as minors, with the intent of befriending children. Thus children should be warned against chatting with, or arrranging face to face meetings with strangers.