Wednesday February 19, 2020

Parents Need to Act Quickly to Handle a Child’s Fears, Says Maneka Gandhi

Gandhi's earlier books include "Sanjay Gandhi" (on her late husband), "First Aid for Animals" and "The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names", among others

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Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr

There is no limit to the imagination of children, especially those below five. But not always what they see or feel may leave a positive image in their minds. And it is to guide not only children but also parents on how to battle such inner fears that Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has once again donned the hat of a writer wth a new book, “There is a Monster Under my Bed”.

“The book gives parents a new way of looking at overcoming a child’s fears so that they can talk to their children. If ignored, it may seemingly appear to go away on the surface but the fear will remain in some form forever. Parents need to act quickly to handle childhood fears,” Gandhi, 62, told IANS.

Maneka Gandhi has written many books on a variety of topics. How did this one come about? Gandhi said her granddaughter Anasuyaa was the inspiration.

“One day she (Anasuyaa) came up to me and said she is afraid that there is a monster under her bed. I had to quickly act positive and responded how lucky she is and I also would like to have one. Its then I realised why the book needs to be written,” Gandhi said.

Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children, Gandhi said, adding the book has been to make parents aware about how to deal with such situations.

“A child is a newly-hatched baby they is discovering the world while growing and I think genetically they primed to be afraid of what they don’t understand…

“If we can immediately explain them like in darkness you can see the moon, stars and hear the owls then they can get rid of fear,” she explained.

The 47-page book, illustrated by Snigdha Rao and published by Penguin (Rs 399), deals with common childhood fears like dark rooms, lightening, clowns, injections and even shadows.

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Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children,  Pixabay 

“Believe it or not most children fear clowns. And of course, the space under one’s bed which is perhaps the most frightening part. Sometimes, children have difficulty in putting their feet down at night and going to the bathroom because they think something will come out from their bed,” Maneka Gandhi pointed out.

The book is a handy guideline for parents on how they can turn a scary thought or moment of a child into something positive. A bonus is the beautiful, bright and colourfull illustrations that the children can enjoy.

Although, Gandhi hasn’t included child sex abuse in the book, this didn’t stop her from talking about it and accepting it is another form of fear that children often encounter, especially within family.

“I haven’t brought that angle in book because what I wrote in this book is fears of mind that is an actual thing that has to be told to parents. And what we have done in this ministry is that we have made a helpline, childline and email. We respond very quickly to such complaints,” she stated.

Also Read- Government of Sri Lanka Urges to Uphold Laws For Disabled

Maneka Gandhi also mentioned that her ministry, for the first time, made it mandatory print details of child sex abuse and about ‘good and bad touch’ at the back of every CBSE book.

Asked about her next book, the minister said she is writing one on flowers.

“My next book would be about different varieties of flowers as today’s youngsters are not much aware of the names of flowers,” Maneka Gandhi said.

Gandhi’s earlier books include “Sanjay Gandhi” (on her late husband), “First Aid for Animals” and “The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names”, among others. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Messenger Kids May Let Parents Check Child’s Chat Histories

Parents can access these new features in the Messenger Kids Parent Dashboard in the Facebook iOS and Android apps

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Facebook launched Messenger Kids in 2017 which faced lot of criticism over privacy issues. Pixabay

In a bid to give parents more control over what their kids do on Facebook Messenger Kids, the company has added new privacy features on Parent Dashboard in the app.

Parents will now be able to see more details about who their children are messaging with, whether they’re video calling them, and a history of anyone they’ve blocked in the app.

“See who your child is chatting with, whether they are video chatting or sending messages and how frequently those conversations happened over the past 30 days,” said Morgan Brown, Product Manager at Facebook, in a statement.

Facebook launched Messenger Kids in 2017 which faced lot of criticism over privacy issues.

Parents can now see the most recent photos and videos their children have sent and received in their inbox. If they believe an image or video is not appropriate for the child, they can remove it from the child’s message thread and report it.

“Access a list of the reporting and blocking actions your child has taken in the app. You’ll see a list of the contacts your child has blocked and/or unblocked, if they have reported any messages as well as any contacts they’ve reported and the reason for their action,” said Facebook.

Parents will continue to be notified via Messenger if their child blocks or reports someone. Parents can now see all devices where their kids are logged in to Messenger Kids and log out of the app on any device through the Parent Dashboard.

They can request a copy of child’s Messenger Kids information, similar to how they can download their own information within the Facebook app. “The download will include a list of your child’s contacts as well as the messages, images and videos they have sent and received. Your child will be notified through the Messenger Kids app when you request this information,” said the company.

Parents can access these new features in the Messenger Kids Parent Dashboard in the Facebook iOS and Android apps. Facebook also updated the way kids block contacts in Messenger Kids to give them a simpler way to manage who they interact with.

Kids can now unblock a blocked contact on their own if they want to restart one-on-one chats with them, and chats with blocked contacts will stay in the Messenger Kids inbox so parents can view them if they’d like.

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In a bid to give parents more control over what their kids do on Facebook Messenger Kids, the company has added new privacy features on Parent Dashboard in the app. Pixabay

Kids and their blocked contacts will remain visible to one another and will stay in shared group chats, but will not be able to message each other individually. Kids will also receive a warning if they return to, or are added to, a group chat that includes a blocked contact, and can leave group chats at any time.

“Parents remain in control of who their child is connected to in Messenger Kids and can remove people from their child’s contact list at any time,” said Facebook. Facebook said it plans to enable Messenger Kids users to provide feedback directly in the app when something isn’t working and run user surveys to help improve product features.

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“We don’t use children’s data from Messenger Kids for advertising. There continue to be no ads in Messenger Kids and no in-app purchases,” it added. (IANS)