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Let’s use technology to keep children safe

By Julius Delahaije | December 6th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

December is a great time to be together with our children after a long gruelling school term. But with this comes the need to reflect on their safety and, therefore, take appropriate measures to protect them by creating safe spaces for them at home.

Knowing what precautions to take makes it easier for parents to adequately play the role of family protectors and minders, especially for their children.

According to The Children’s Act, children have a right to be safeguarded through the provision for parental responsibility, guardianship, care and protection. Article 53 (1) (e) of the constitution also provides that every child has the right to parental care and protection.

Recently, the world marked this year’s United Nations Universal Children’s Day, whose goal is to improve child welfare worldwide, promote and celebrate children’s rights and translate dialogues into actions aimed at building a better world for children.

With most of us balancing work life and home life, technologically-based devices CCTV cameras, burglar alarm systems, safety doors, gas and electricity locks are good measures to ensure a safe environment is created for our children while at home. These devices aid in intrusion detection for motion detectors and also fire and smoke sensors.

At the click of a button, a parent is able to check how the children are faring back home using their Internet-enabled mobile phones or computers. Keeping first-aid kits and fire extinguishers at all times in our homes are also some of the basic steps towards attending to emergencies in case they occur.

These innovative solutions help in implementing ways in which we can outsmart burglars and supplement human efforts. Guards play an important role in physical surveillance. In addition, the guard patrol monitoring tool tracks guards in real-time and identifies any vandalism.

With most parents and guardians at the forefront in the technology curve, they should also embrace the value of parental controls on mobile phones, smart TVs and other Internet-enabled gadgets to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content. Similarly, parents should lay out strict guidelines to ensure children learn to distinguish between the morally upright content and the unsuitable content.

In addition, organising capacity building programmes to our house managers, who sit-in on our behalf while we work, is very important in assisting them acquire and hone skills in basic first aid and fire safety. These trainings help them get first-hand and practical experiences on measures and precautions to take in case of an emergency to ensure that our children are safe while at home under their care. Both parents and house managers should always re-examine carefully any safety hazards to create a safe and happy space for the children.

As parents, we can also influence institutions such as schools to adopt the evolving technology-based security systems in a bid to enhance safety and smooth learning, both for our children and the school management at large.

With the advancements in technology, it has become crucial for schools management to keep track of students’ movements, location and manage visitors to a school in a bid to combat insecurity through the use of digital systems that provide all-round safety. For instance, through the help of radio-frequency identification or biometric access, this system provides information about a child’s whereabouts in the school. It also keeps track of students in real-time while checking in and out of the school and in specific locations such as laboratory, cafeteria or library.

Boarding school

The system also helps keep track of school buses in real-time throughout their journey. Parents can receive constant communication regarding delays due to traffic or when the child has been picked from or left school for half term if in boarding school. It also ensures that only parents or authorised persons are allowed to pick or drop off the children with a tight visitor-management system.

Photo-biometric details of visitors are collected to ensure that any visitor is authorised and verified, thus preventing trespassers. The system maintains a detailed record of the amount of time the child spends with the visitor and also the purpose of the visit. All these measures offer immense comfort and relief to parents and guardians as they are assuaged of their children’s safety in their absence.

While we take collective responsibility for the well-being of our children to minimise risks and promote children’s safety both at home and in school, it is my aspiration that children will be able to learn, make memories and enjoy their childhood for they are the leaders of tomorrow.

Mr Delahaije is the CEO and Chairman, SGA Security.


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