Easy access to help with ChildLine app

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APPS are now the way of the world and there is one for just about everything.

In its attempt to keep up with the technology, ChildLine TT launched its MyChild app in October and programme co-ordinator Mary Moonan said so far the preliminary feedback by users has been favourable.

“Things have evolved so fast and with the growing dependency on technology during the covid19 pandemic we had to catch up,” Moonan told Newsday. “So far the experience with it has been quite good, although it is still too early for any major type of feedback."

She said the closure of schools and the stay-at-home restrictions brought on by the pandemic had resulted in more incoming distressed calls to the organisation.

“For some children school was an escape from what they were experiencing at home. So we now get more calls, children are calling because there are stressed. Reports are showing that domestic violence and child abuse are on the rise. The My ChildLine app was created so children and young persons in need of care and support can have easier access to it.”

The non-governmental organisation, formed in 2002, is concerned with the welfare and protection of the nation’s children and young people. Its 24-hour helpline service offers over-the phone intervention in times of crisis, and counselling services and psychological support to children who need it. The organisation also hosts workshops for students, teachers and parents addressing a number of issues that concern children. In February 2011 it became the official service provider of the national student hotline.

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Moonan said the child-protection app gives users access to toll-free emergency numbers such as the police and health services. And it comes with a number of other features.

“Users can also access the Unicef (United Nations Children's Fund) and ChildLine websites at the touch of a button. They will be able to access ChildLine’s helpline service, live webchat, and other psychosocial services. It is in English, French and Spanish, which is particularly important because of the migrant population.

“There is a mood tracker so users can track signs of depression, there is a personal diary so their thoughts can be recorded and kept safely, a read-aloud selection of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in child-friendly language, GPS directions to spaces for safety, education, health, entertainment and a ChildLine arcade with fun and interactive games. It’s a very child-friendly and user-friendly app.”

The app is supported by Unicef, the Office of the Prime Minister Gender and Child Affairs Unit, and the Ministry of Labour.

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She said there have been thoughts of taking it up the islands but there would be some kinks to work out. "One of the challenges with that is that there are different emergency numbers in each island, so a comprehensive collaboration among the islands will have to be established.”

The app is available free on Google Play and Apple.

For more info: www.childlinett.org or follow the organisation on social media. Twitter @childline_tt, Instagram @childline_tt, Facebook @TTChildLine.

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