Because We Care... Diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People
e APRIL IS NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH What Kids Need to Know At a recent seminar held by the National Safe Environment Leadership Conference in New Orleans in March, a sex offender was quoted: “Show me a child who knows nothing about abuse, and I will show you my next victim”. Youngsters need to know some basic information to protect themselves from abuse. In New York State, it is mandated that child sexual abuse prevention education be provided in our schools. Parents, teachers and catechists and all who work with children
Diocese of Rockville Centre Most Reverend William F. Murphy Bishop of Rockville Centre
April 2010 Issue 8 Special points of interest:
throughout the diocese are working together to teach children about basic personal safety. Kids need to know: •
What abuse is... Provide general information about inappropriate behavior from adults and other youths. Teach young people how to interact appropriately with each other.
Discuss the importance of reporting abuse .
Let children and young people know to whom they should report abuse.
Provide personal safety training at regular intervals at home and in programs in an age appropriate way.
Talk 2 them
► In Oct 2009, the Gavin Group, Inc. an independent audit team found the Diocese of Rockville Centre in full compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
► This is the eighth in a series of educational newsletters that the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Office for the Protection of Children and Young People provides for parents and volunteers. As you know, the Diocese of Rockville Centre has taken a proactive approach in creating safe environments in every parish, school and agency throughout the diocese on Long Island. As a diocese, we work everyday to develop new ways to strengthen our response to the problem of child abuse and to implement systems to prevent any type of abusive behavior from harming our children and young people.
From the desk of Eileen F. Puglisi, Director Office for the Protection of Children and Young People
Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the degrading manifestations and crude manipulations of sexuality so prevalent today. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person...What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike. All have a part to play in this task– not only parents, religious leaders, teachers and catechists, but the media and entertainment industries, as well. Every Member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it.. Pope Benedict XVI Address to the Bishops, April 2008
A recent national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24 hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically. Today, 8-18 year olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). On January 20, 2010 in the NY Times, columnist Tamar Lewin, referenced the Kaiser research by saying, “ the average young American now spends practically every waking minute-except for time in school-using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device”. Digital media has had a profound influence on how young people learn, recreate, socialize and participate in their community. The Pew Internet and American Life Project describes the milieu of the young person as a “participatory culture”. Young people are using websites like MySpace and Facebook to share photos , music, ideas, and opinions. The technology allows them to connect with peers and others in new and sometimes unexpected ways. As parents, our concerns are real. In this world of “connectivity” it seems that the ordinary everyday interactions between parent and child are vanishing.
Time spent on the Internet gobbles up precious family time and may seem unproductive. Additionally, young people fail sometimes to see the consequences beyond their actions so they post online information that is hard to remove and can be sent with one impulsive click to hundreds. Young people may be asked to join a club, meet a friend, or make contact with a person who is seeking to do harm. So what can parents do? Technology is here to stay and will continue to advance. Children should be knowledgeable and parents can make sure that they learn to use the new technology responsibly. It’s a parent’s task to provide guidance and supervision to make sure that their teenagers are using the technology appropriately and getting all the benefits that technology has to offer. Ask your teenager to show you their online profile. Check your child’s internet history, phone call/text messaging logs. Remind kids that anything posted on the internet is accessible to anyone and remains available for many years. Have a conversation about online pornography. Tell kids that not all people they meet on line are good. Talk about privacy. They should not disclose personal information about themselves nor the family. Teach responsible surfing. Talk about copyright laws. Happy parenting.
April 2010 Issue 8
Look around you....By Caterina Fox , Sophomore Kellenberg Memorial H.S. Look around you...Almost every teenager is on a cell phone, iPod, or laptop. Technology has affected our lives by making communication quick and easy and information readily available. You can get in touch with your parents quickly if you’re in an uncomfortable situation, and, of course, you can be in constant contact with friends. Computers can be used in school work and you can go to websites and get tons of information.
want to see on the cover of the
“We have to be smart New York Times. It became and safe about how very clear to me that really we use technology” Phones and computers can be a distraction and can have a negative impact on students’ study skills and grades. Sexual predators can contact young people just as easily as we can contact our friends.
The internet makes inappropriate information and photos easily accessible to Technology is changing the teenagers; that is why we way we live everyday. It is have to be smart and safe great to be able to video about how we use technolchat with family who live ogy. out of town. Unfortunately, Last year at Kellenberg technology can also have H.S., we had an assembly negative effects. Teenagers on “sexting”. They told us just text instead of speaknever to send a picture to ing to friends. someone that you wouldn’t
nothing is private on the Internet. Pictures, and messages can all be copied and forwarded. Neither my friends nor I have ever been approached by a sexual predator; however, we have been taught how to react if we are ever put in that situation. The first thing to do is speak up. Tell your parents, a teacher or a good friend. Do not keep it a secret. Teens should never give out personal information online and should never agree to meet with someone they meet online. Tell your parents if someone you don’t know is contacting you. By making smart choices, we can keep ourselves safe.
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To learn more about online safety, please click on the following sites: WWW.SAFEKIDS.COM WWW.NETSMARTZ.ORG WWW.FBI.GOV/PUBLICATIONS/PGUIDE.HTM
A Virtus Facilitator Reflects By Lorraine DelGenio Principal, Our Lady of Mercy Regional School, Cutchoque, NY I have sometimes wondered why I became a facilitator for the diocesan Virtus Program. The answer was at my finger tips. As a facilitator for the Virtus Program since 2003, it has truly been an experience to speak with people from all walks of life about the health and well‐being of children. Some of the groups in my sessions include seniors who work in various ministries of the Diocese and they were shocked at what is going on. There are some new teachers to the Diocese every year, and they are not so shocked. Rather, they have lots of life experience to add of their own. Another group of people who have attended my ses‐ sions were coaches and leaders of sports teams and girl or boy scout groups. They were unaware of how the innocent act of staying in their own car with a child who is waiting for their ride could lead to an uncomfortable conflict later on. It is very encouraging to see how the program is effective in eliciting responses from all walks of life. It is also encouraging to know that many “would be” predators have been turned away simply because of the background screening. The consistent reading of monthly bulletins is also encouraging in keep‐ ing the trained staff and volunteers abreast of all laws and changes in the communities. To this end, many children have been protected from harm. There is no definite way to assess how many children the Diocese has saved from potential harm. The program is a work in progress. Are there more steps to be taken to ensure the safety of the children? Always. Is the Virtus Program dedicated to that end? Definitely. Are there people committed to help the program become the best it can be? Very much so.
And that is why I stay with the program.
Let’s not “txt” today, Fuzzie.
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