Let’s limit children’s exposure to violence

Children's Corner

Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
NEWS of a seven-year-old boy of Kawama township in Kitwe who was beaten to death last Wednesday while coming from school was extremely disheartening.
It is alleged that his classmates, aged between six and eight years were incensed with the victim, who booked them for making noise during class.
It is further alleged that on the way home, the boys teamed up and beat the victim, who was also the class monitor, to death.
The loss of a child at the hands of his friends will not only change the lives of the victim’s family but will also negatively impact on the lives of the alleged perpetrators and their families.
The behaviour of the alleged offenders shows that violence does not happen in a vacuum; it happens because of what children are exposed to in a home environment and the communities they come from.
It is often said that ‘violence begets violence’, this is because when children are exposed to violence, it has an impact on their physical, social and emotional development, although effects might vary depending on age.
That is why Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu described the incident as saddening and wondered how children at such a tender age could savagely beat their classmate to death.
According to Guerra and Dierkhising (2011), who researched on the effects of community violence on child development, children who experience violence are more likely to be trapped in a cycle of violence that can result into the future violent behaviour, which can include aggression, delinquency, violent crime and child abuse.
For very young children, repeated exposure to violence can also affect their ability to form positive and trusting relationships that are necessary for them to explore their environment and develop a secure sense of self.
Of particular concern is the effect that exposure to violence has on the child’s developing brain. Because the brain develops in a chronological manner, disruptions at an early age can result into a physiological chain of development that becomes increasingly difficult to interrupt.
If children are to grow into peace loving individuals, it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that children are not exposed to different forms of violence as has been the norm in recent times.
With all the violence children and young people have been exposed to from the home, community and the political front; it is possible that they did not imagine that a beating would result in the death of their classmate.
It is therefore of essence to work collaboratively to reduce violence in the settings where children grow up.
The onus is on parents and guardians to limit children’s exposure to violence by always monitoring and supervising their activities.
In certain cases, it can be limited by curtailing children’s exposure to violent movies and video games. It is better to expose children to preventive and intervention programmes that have the ability to help them understand and manage any kind of stress.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.
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