Blog 55 – Buddy and Me – Project 3 (‘Rape Wise – Eye on the child – A Safety and Protection Manual’ – A MUST read by all parents)
Posted by Julia
Categories: Buddy and Me
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To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:
& John Buswell
“Eye on the child”
“Eye on the teen”
A safety and protection manual
Prevention through education
- Protecting your children from online predators
- Gaming addiction
- Child trafficking
- Safe holiday structure
- Alcohol and drug exposure
- Hubbly bubbly
- Home parties and alcohol
- Drug rape
- Note page
Please note that this booklet is copy righted to Rape Wise South Africa. ©
Protecting your child from online predators
Message for parents:
Parents need to be involved and they need to talk to children about using these social networks intelligently. The days are long gone when you can tell children not to have a profile. Children today need a profile for their social lives and there are valid reasons for it. Parents need to take off the brown paper bags they have over their heads. Most children are doing this stuff. We need to recognise that, not panic and get involved
Predators are cunning. They are known as a “traveller” this is the term we use for someone who seduces a child online, makes a date and then travels for the liaison. Before they sink their hooks into children they groom them first by gaining their trust, praising them and treating them like adults. This appeal is particularly successful with children who have low self-esteem. Suddenly they feel empowered and cool. Predators are savvy in kid-speak and able to feign interest in the TV and music children like. Once they’ve won a child’s trust, some predators in the most extreme cases use threats and intimidation for manipulation: “I know where you live. If you don’t do x, y or z, I’ll find you and hurt you”. Predators want you to be willing to meet them and they usually have the patience and time to “groom” a victim by a painstaking accumulation of details, a predator will say he loves and understands you, treat you better than your own family might, buy things for you like a cell phones, phone cards, iPods and Web cams. Children are warned about the perils of putting too much information on social networking sites. “You love these web sites, but the predator loves them, too.”
It is important to remember, when a predator goes into a chat room, they never make first contact. The decoy merely sits there using a profile that includes a picture that is unmistakably of someone underage. The potential victim must make the first contact. Usually once that has happened, the man initiates a sexual discussion and ultimately agrees to meet a young teen in person.
There are three types of predators:
Non preferential: They will take whatever is available.
Paedophiles: This predator likes prepubescent children.
Preferential: This predator likes a particular age group 12-14 year old girls and most of their profile are the same as a serial killer.
List of things parents and children should consider before going on line:
- Limit the amount of time children have interactive access to computer/cell phone to two hours a day. Research shows that the risk of a child is being exposed to predators, pornography or cyber bullying goes up dramatically beyond that daily exposure. Parents also have to lead by example here, if a child sees mom or dad spending excessive time on the computer or meeting other people in chat rooms or in person, the child will more likely engage in similar behaviour.
- The computer should always be in an open area of the house. You must be able to look in from time to time to see what your child is doing, what he/she is looking at and know who they talking to. Even if they type in the dreaded “POS” (parent over shoulder) to their pal as a signal you’re watching, it’s good to let them know you’re paying attention. It helps then learn that they will be held accountable.
- Remind children that online, people aren’t always who they say they are and that there are real-life consequences should they give away personal information that could allow a predator to find them and take advantage of them.
- What you post online stays online forever.”Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to be seen by your parents, a principal, police or predators.
- Beware of a cell phone, digital camera or Web cam showing up that you as a parent didn’t buy. If you see one of these items, it could mean that your child bought it without your permission or that someone else, possibly a potential predator provide it to ensure he/she will get photos.
- Guard your passwords. Nothing good can come from people being able to access your child’s personal information or their social networking site. A person who may be your friend today may not be next month.
- Set up a social networking site so that only people you invite and approve can enter. Having an open site is like putting an advertisement for predators.
- There is a fine line between spying on your children and respecting his/her privacy, but I think it’s okay to take a look at their computer now and again. Ask your child to show you their buddy list. Just as you should know the first and last names of the friends they hang out with in real life, you should know the identities of those they are talking to online.
- Know the chat room your child is visiting. Is it a regional room or a topic room? Is the topic age-appropriate for your child?
10. Is your child forming an addiction or obsession to the internet/MXit? Are they getting up in the middle of the night and spending time online. You can check the archive of who your teen has been talking to. If there is an unusual amount of time spent talking to one person, especially a person you don’t know, you need to pursue this.
11. Develop trust. Your child has to know that if he/she is approached in an in appropriate way online, they can come to you as a parent and confide in you what happened. The child needs to know that they won’t be punished. Remember if this does happen, the child is the victim and in most cases not to be blamed.
12. Know where to go if a predator has approached your child.
13. Don’t delay reporting a predator incident. Remember, it probably isn’t the first time this person has tried to solicit a teen.
14. It’s never about the technology. It’s about communication. Don’t blame the internet or be intimidated because your child is more tech-savvy than you are. Your job is to be a parent and help your children make the right choices.
15. There are certain things that you should tell your children are off limits for online discussions with non family members.
16. Make sure you have antivirus and other protective programs. A lot of children are exposed to inappropriate material because of spam on the family computer.
17. Don’t ever allow your child to use their real name as a screen name Chrishansen4u for instance is a bad idea and gives potential predators enough information to check for a home address.
18. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Teach your child to respect others online.
19. If your child insists on meeting their friends online in real life, consider going with them. When they think they have found their soul mate, it is unlikely that telling them “no” will make a difference. Offering to go with them keeps them safe.
20. Check your children’s profile and blogs and any social-networking posts.
21. Report complaints about nudity or pornography, or harassment or unwelcome contact on Facebook to:firstname.lastname@example.org, on MySpace, go to contact MySpace and select “Reporting Abuse”.
For more information regarding internet safety visit the following sites
Remember the single greatest risk our children face in connection with the internet is being denied access. We have solutions for every other risk.
We constantly hear about internet sexual predators, hate, sex and violence online. But our children need the Internet for their education, careers and future. Due to the fact that there is no race, gender or disability online the internet is the one place where our children can be judged by the quality of their ideas, rather than their physical attributes.
Teach your children not to meet strangers’ offline. If they are set on meeting that person anyway, go with them. That way, if the person turns out to be a cute fourteen year old, you are the hero and if they aren’t, you’re an even bigger hero.
To conclude, since our children know more than we do about cyberspace, we worry about how we can teach them to avoid those dangers. Don’t panic those dangers can be managed using the same old warnings we’ve always used e.g. “don’t talk to strangers,” “come straight home from school,” “don’t provoke fights,” “don’t tell anyone personal information about yourself” and “we need to meet your friends.”
Please note there is a big difference between:
Pornography is defined as the display of erect genitalia, sexual intercourse, oral sex and digital stimulation, depicted through drawings, stills, photography or electronically.
The film and publications act 2004 states the following:
A person has to be over the age of 18 to:
- View pornography
- Participate in pornography
- Distribute pornography
- Sell pornography
- Work in an environment where pornography is sold.
Teenagers filming themselves having intercourse on DVD, cell phones etc .If a person is under the age of 18 and films themselves having intercourse, they will be charged under the Sexual offences amendment act. They will be charged with, Statutory rape and charged with the production of child pornography. A child has a criminal capacity over the age of 10 and will be prosecuted.
Children under the age of 12:
- Do not understand what they are looking at
- Often re-in act what they have seen and can be accused of rape
- Can cause severe psychological damage, at this early age
Teenagers and porn:
- Challenges their base values
- Often progress to more severe forms of pornography
- Feel inadequate about their bodies and sexuality
- Become addicted to porn
If an adult exposes a minor to pornography, they may be found guilty and sentenced to 5 years in jail.
If a colleague is in possession of child pornographic images, call the police.
SMSWEB Cell phone Anti-porn service: 0861 767932, 0861 (SMSWEB)
There are several degrees of video game addiction that can range from moderate to severe, but recognising the signs early might prevent full-blown addiction.
The most common symptoms for children are as follows:
- Falling asleep in school
- Not keeping up with class assignments
- Worsening grades
- Lying about video game usage
- Dropping out of social groups or clubs
- Ignoring friends or social activities
While not every child exhibits these symptoms, it should be said giving up beloved activities in order to play games or forsaking important duties such as chores or schoolwork for a few more rounds of a game may be cause for a concern.
So what do we do, hide the games and take away the gaming consoles? Teenagers are known to rebel against the things that they feel their parents want to keep them away from, so pulling the plug may not be the solution. So, before you yank the chords out of the wall, try the following:
- Plan a family activity – It might be a good idea to do something a teenager likes to do, such as a movie night. Try letting them choose the movie as well
- Take a class together – Nothing brings a family together like a karate class. Enrolling at a gym can not only be fun, but good for the body as well. If you chose an activity that you both enjoy and get something out of, then all the better.
- Teach them a game of your own – There are tons of games you can teach your children that might get their attention away from the console. Checkers, chess, card games, monopoly, backgammon etc, games that you might have been taught as a child can be a great tool to get your child’s head back into the reality of life. Most of these games generate social skills as well as help bring the family together.
- Make a list of priorities – Give your child a list of things to do before he can play his/her games. The list can be anything from housework to homework. It can really be anything you want. The deal has to be made that no console games are to be played until all tasks are completed. A little lesson in time management might curb some of the activity.
- Put a time limit on the gaming – If you have a particularly stubborn little gamer who just won’t adhere to playing nice with the family, and then it’s time to start cracking down a bit. Tell your child that he/she can play, but only for an hour or only until bedtime. It can be anything you want. Designate a time they are allowed to play their game and be firm on when it’s time to stop playing.
The important thing is to remind your teenager that there’s more to life than console games.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children trafficked into South Africa from neighbouring countries is expected to rise dramatically during the 2010 Soccer World cup event.
Trafficking of children (anything from age 5 to teens) across South Africa’s borders it is expected to increase sharply. In most cases the children will be lured away from poverty-stricken parents who would release children to traffickers believing that they were to go to South Africa where education opportunities and jobs awaited them. Locally, children from rural provincial areas could be “recruited” and moved to the cities.
These children will be beaten, raped and even forced into the addiction of drugs before being put to work as prostitutes for the pleasure of paedophiles and so-called “sex tourists”. With nowhere to turn, they literally become slaves who are often imprisoned in the suburbs of cities and held at the whim of the trafficker.
In general, according to the south African Police bureau for missing persons, an average of 1500 children under the age of 18 go missing every year in the country. According to police statistics, more than 2500 people in South Africa were kidnapped last year. In the Eastern Cape alone 88 went missing.
During the holidays there are always more children going missing.
Local children, enjoying longer holidays that would accompany the world cup, would also become venerable as they gather without parental supervision at the various stadiums to get a glimpse of their soccer heroes
What to do if your child goes missing
- Do not wait 24 hours if you suspect your child has gone missing, as the first hours are vital to fine clues
When you report your child missing at the police station:
- Take along a photograph of your child as well as information on what her/he was wearing and important marks of identification. Also report who the child was with last and where they were last seen.
- Phone Missing Children SA – Judy is on 072 6477464 or 021 8010010 and Elsa on 084 5821516
- Missing Children SA needs a case number and a photo of the child as soon as possible.
- Stay in contact with the SAPS and MCSA.
- Seek assistance from the media.
It is important for parents to make their children aware of safety rules, parents should tell their children to avoid people offering working contacts, like modelling.
Safe holiday structure
The following check list will help you and your teen have a safe and healthy holiday:
- Set rules – Set clear rules. Establish a curfew for your teens. Set some kind of check-in system, such as an established call time when they get home. Set limits with clear consequences for breaking them. Praise and reward good behaviour.
- Understand and communicate – Talk to your teen about the harmful physical, mental and social effects of marijuana and other drugs. Young people who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to try drugs than their peers who learn nothing from their parents.
- Monitor your teen’s activities and behaviours – Monitor where your teen is, whom he/she is with and what they have been doing. Teens that are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use drugs. Sometimes surprise your teen by checking up to make sure they are where they say they are.
- Make sure you stay involved in your child life – Stay in touch with adult supervisors of your child and have them inform you of any changes in your teen. Meet your child’s friends, especially those who hang out with your child regularly.
- Engage your child in activities – Help plan activities to keep your teen busy.
- Reserve family time – Plan a family activity over the holidays, such as going to movies, taking a walk, sharing a meal. Schedule time together to do something fun as a family. Teens that spend time, talk and have a close relationship with their parents are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex.
- Set rules on how much TV/playstation they can watch/play – Don’t just tell them to watch less or play less. Encourage them to spend time finding other activities such as reading, music, hobbies and social activities.
Alcohol and drug exposure
Signs of drug abuse:
- Not taking care of hygiene and grooming
- Not sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss or gain
- Hyperactive or under active
- Disrespectful – verbally or physically abusive
- Angry, paranoid, confused and extreme mood swings
- Depressed – less out going
- Very secretive and lies about movement
- Stealing or losing possessions of value
- Lots of money or always asking for money
- Withdraws from family or affairs/ activities
Social activity/school performance
- Drops old friends or activities
- Missing school
- Loses interest in schoolwork – lower grades
- Sleeping in class
- Loses concentration – trouble remembering things
- Constricted pupils and
- Slower breathing
- Trance like state
- Increased pulse rate
- In-co ordination
- Slurred speech
- Depressed pulse rate
- Shallow respiration
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Depressed pulse rate
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Slowed breathing
- Mood swings
- Slow thinking
- Dilated pupils
- Increased pulse rate
- Effects reflexes
Information about the different types of drugs can be found on our support pack.
Hubbly bubbly smoking is fast gaining ground in South African youth, even though doctors have condemned its use.
Hubble-bubble, known as hookah in Indo Asian countries, has been adopted by many countries around the world. It is a water pipe that is believed to filter the toxins found in tobacco.
The water pipe generally consists of four main parts:
- The bowl where the tobacco is heated
- The base filled with water or other liquids
- The pipe, which connects the bowl to the base and
- The rubber hose and mouthpiece through which smoke is drawn
There is a misperception among our youth that hookah smoking is safer than cigarette smoking because the smoke is filtered through water. This is not true. Water pipe smoking carries the same serious health risks as smoking cigarettes. In addition to causing lung cancer, there is an increased incidence of cancers of the lower lip, oesophagus and stomach cancer from water pipe use. There is also the risk of spreading infectious diseases, like tuberculosis and viruses such as hepatitis and herpes by sharing the tube.
Facts about hookah smoking
- It is not safer than smoking cigarettes. Hookah smokers are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide
- Hookah is addictive – People ingest higher nicotine levels than with cigarettes, which could increase the risk of addiction since nicotine is the drug that causes addiction.
- The water pipe does not filter out the “bad stuff’ – The water-filtration and extended hose does not filter out the nicotine, tar cancer causing chemicals and dangerous heavy metals.
- Smokers who share a water pipe are at risk for infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and viruses such as hepatitis and herpes. Shared mouthpieces may enhance the opportunity for such diseases to spread.
- It is illegal for under 18’s to smoke Hubbly in South Africa.
The question is can it cause addiction?
YES, it’s nicotine. So parents – should you rather buy a few packets of cigarettes for your teen’s house-party and let them help themselves to a ‘smoke’? Cringing? Then cringe at the idea of a hubbly-bubbly as well!
Home parties and alcohol
Parties and other social gatherings are important for the social development of young people. They can be a lot of fun and relatively safe provided proper planning and careful supervision occurs. These get-togethers are to be encouraged and supported by parents. However the responsibility of being a host should not be undertaken lightly.
If your child is going to a party
- Contact the parents who are hosting the party and check on the facts concerning the party. This helps build trust between families and protects all involved.
- Talk to your child about your expectations and the consequences of them not living up to them.
- Refrain from giving your child too much cash.
- Make it clear that they are under no circumstances allowed to leave the party and go to another without your permission.
- You or a trusted parent must pick them up at the agreed time; your child should also know that they can phone you to pick them up at any stage if they need to leave.
- Sleep-over are not advisable unless you have a reason to trust the host family completely.
- Be awake when your child returns home or have them wake you.
If you are hosting the party
- Keep your party at a manageable size. Ensure your adult-to-child ratio is workable.
- Agree to guidelines with your teenager as to how the evening is expected to progress-including what time it will end.
- Designate which parts are allowed to be used in the house.
- Be a visible presence all of the time.
- Agree to an invitation list before hand and resist late additions and especially, gate crashers.
- For larger parties provide security at the gate and perimeter.
- Provide large quantities of food and encourage people to eat,
- Your responsibility only ends when the last child has been collected. Children should not just disappear if they do contact their parents.
- Be vigilant throughput the party and be conscious of the fact that there are mobile delivery services in operation which deliver alcohol to parties.
Why do teenagers use alcohol?
- Escape and self-medication – Teenagers may turn to alcohol for solace if they don’t have a healthy outlet for frustration.
- Boredom and instant friends – Teenagers who can’t tolerate being alone, have trouble keeping themselves occupied and crave excitement are prime candidates for using alcohol.
- Rebellion – What better way to express your anger at your parents than doing something they tell you not to do?
- Everybody’s doing it – Teenagers are astute observers and they see lots of people using alcohol.
- Instant gratification – Alcohol works quickly. The initial effects feel really good, especially for teens who want to get rid of their bad feelings.
- Lack of confidence – Some teenagers would do things under the influence of alcohol that they otherwise would never risk doing. Alcohol can become a crutch which some teenagers rely on and don’t feel comfortable in a social setting.
- Misinformation – Inaccurate information and a lack of information about alcohol and its harmful effects sometimes contribute to misuse of alcohol by teenagers.
- Parental cues – The example parents set for their children is enormously powerful. Parents can inadvertently influence their children’s alcohol use by denying or minimizing their own use or abuse of alcohol.
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks in a row on at least one occasion.
Binge drinking amongst teenagers is out of control. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, teenagers who drink at parties are likely to try drugs as well as have unprotected sex and girls normally take part in sexual activity they wouldn’t normally take part in.
Sexual encounters have the risk of pregnancy, STIs and HIV exposure, as well as date rape and other violence – can and do occur more frequently while students are consuming large amounts of alcohol by binge drinking.
What to do if your child is using alcohol
- Keep calm – Don’t assume your child is an alcoholic but do respond and most certainly discuss the incident with them.
- Don’t allow anger and fear to overwhelm your effectiveness to communicate – but be honest with your feelings.
- When confronting the problem, first agree on a course of action with your spouse.
- Talk about the extent of your child’s use – how often, with whom, where and why.
- Let your child know that you do not condone his behaviour – although you value him as an individual.
- Explain why you are concerned – Remind your teen of your family expectations and rules about alcohol use and enforce the consequences for breaking them.
- If you have reason to believe your teen is abusing alcohol – or your efforts to enforce the rules have failed repeatedly, seek help from a health care professional.
- Be wary of denial – Rather confront the problem and reach out for professional assistance.
- No person may sell liquor to a person under the age of eighteen (18) years
- No person may give or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years or allow such a person to consume liquor.
- Parents who encourage or allow their own children to abuse alcohol or any other drug for that matter can be prosecuted for abusing and/or neglecting their children. According to the new legislation (Section 41) persons under 18 years old will not be allowed to enter licensed premises unless accompanied by a parent or guardian or by an adult with the consent of a parent or guardian.
- Some learners in grade 12 are over 18.They need to be aware that under Section 39 of the new legislation it is an offence for them to supply liquor to a fellow learner who is not yet 18. A person under 18 will be in breach of the Act and subject to severe penalties. The maximum penalty is R 1 million or 5 years imprisonment.
- In order to reduce the likelihood of litigation, parents are advise to obtain parental permission should they plan to provide alcohol to someone else’s child (i.e. to a person who is not yet 18 years of age) or should they reasonably envisage that a minor is likely to be offered alcohol at an event they are hosting or that is being hosted on their premises.
Note for parents:
Parents, watch your children. Talk to them. Listen to them, all the time. Be aware of any changes. A problem is easier to address in its initial stages. Even good children can become involved in bad things. Your child is not excluded.
Where to get help: Cape Town Drug Counselling centre: 021 4478026
Alcoholics Anonymous – 0861 435722 (HELPAA)
Gauteng: 011 6839101
Western Cape: 021 5102288
Al-Anon (for families of alcoholics) Helpline – 0861 252 666 (ALANON)
Gauteng: 011 6838002
SANCA Horizon Clinic (in-and out-patient programme for teens)
011 9175015/6 Narcotics Anonymous: 083 9006962
What is rape?
The definition of rape: The insertion of any object into the vagina, anus or mouth of a male or female without consent.
How do I keep safe?
- Try to keep the company op people who maintain similar values to your own
- Attend a good self-defence course to learn about swift responses and useful techniques in resisting attack
- When you are at a party, watch the person who pours your drinks, lest they add something that knocks you out (like the infamous rape drug “Cat”)
- No means No so don’t get into the habit of saying no when you mean yes, because the day you are screaming for him to stop, he will think you’re playing your usual ‘cry wolf games’, and ignore your pleas
- Always be aware of what is going on around you
- Walk with confidence; hold your head up high and shoulders straight
- At night, stick to well-lit, populated areas and walk with another person
- If you are going to a club or party, always go with a friend you can trust and look after each other
- Don’t get sexual with someone you have just met
- We can’t trust everyone we meet, so insist that people must earn your trust, over time in a non sexual setting
- Drink from tamper-proof bottles and cans and insist on opening them, as so-called date drugs like GBH and Rohypnol can unknowingly be given to someone to make them powerless against sexual assault or other crimes
- Don’t add ice to your drinks (often date rape drugs are frozen in ice)
- Never leave your drink unattended, if you do rather discard of it
I’ve been raped what now?
- Don’t throw away your clothes or wash yourself, no matter how much you want to. There may be hair, blood or semen from the rapist on your body or clothes. This will be important evidence
- Don’t drink any alcohol or take medication before a district surgeon has examined you
- Go to a safe place as soon as possible
- You must be treated within 72 hours
- Tell someone you can trust. This will be hard, but this is very important. The first person you tell will be asked to appear in court to support your story
- Put your clothes you were wearing into a paper bag or newspaper. A plastic bag will destroy evidence
- If you are hurt go to a doctor or hospital immediately. The police will be called if you wish to report the crime
- You will need to undergo P.E.P (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) treatment, as soon as possible to decrease your chance of contracting HIV. You will be tested to establish your HIV base line status and if negative, must be given medication within 72 hours
- A crime kit will be used by the district surgeon to gather DNA as evidence; this will assist with the arrest and conviction of your rapist
- There are several organisations offering help to Rape Survivors. Counselling from the professionals will enable you to get on with your life
Where do I go for help?
Rape Wise: (011) 4213284 or after hours 083 9430173
Far East Rand Hospital crisis centre (highly recommended): 071 1504242
Ask to speak to Sr. Alexander or Sr. Kate or
Jacobie Botha (011) 8128330 / 082 9747257
Rape Crisis: Observatory 021 447 9762 – Athlone 021 6339229
Khayelitsha: 021 3619085
Lifeline: 0861 322322
FAMSA: 011 9757106/7
POWA: 011 6424345
Childline: 0800 055555
Tel: 011 4213284
Fax: 011 8454712
Mobile: 083 3308535
Help Line: 083 9430173