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'Be careful how you expose children to sex and violence'

Published:Thursday | April 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture in discussion with students, Charles Young of Campion College and Tracy Gentles of Danham Town High School, at the National Child Month Committee's launch of Child Month 2015, at the GraceKennedy Head office on Harbour Street, Kingston yesterday.

As the country prepares for another year of activities in recognition of Child Month in May, Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has made an appeal to the society to be responsible in how they expose children to violent and sexual content.

Speaking at the Child Month media launch which was hosted by the National Child Month Committee yesterday, she made reference to a study that was done in 2011 by the Office of Children's Advocate, which showed that all children in conflict with the law had Vybz Kartel as their favourite artiste, noting that their number-one song was Reparation.

"The office did a profile on the child in conflict with the law. We asked a number of questions in a bid to figure out what the typology of those children look like, and what we found was that both boys and girls between ages 12-17 said their favourite artiste was Vybz Kartel, and the number one song for all of them was Reparation." She told the gathering at the GraceKennedy head offices in downtown Kingston.


Child lottery scammers


"There is empirical data which shows that our children are, in fact, actively involved in lottery scamming, as it is seen as a viable alternative, in terms of improving their livelihood. I will never say that music is the sole factor of some of the social ills that exist, but it plays a vital role, and if we are serious about making a change, we will have to consider the things that are said through art," she said.

The song Reparation speaks about the benefits and glorification of lottery scamming.

She also noted that everyone needs to play their role in the development of children, noting that children are not only victims of crime but perpetrators.

"Not only do our children feature as victims of crimes and other circumstances, but we also see them occupy the position of the aggressor. Believe it or not, Jamaica has child murderers among us. We have those who will break into your house and mine and those who will find themselves pulling a trigger or wielding a knife, and we have to address that," said the children's advocate.

In the meantime, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna noted that the laws will be strengthened to deal with persons who prey on children. She added that family life should be strengthened in order to ensure that children experience stability.

"There is a huge gap that exists among children and that is a parental gap. This has to do with children feeling that many of them are not loved by one or both of their parents," she said.

"We want our families to get back to being families. I want to say specifically to mothers, that I know that sometimes it is very difficult to raise a child, but you need to hold the father accountable. You need to get the fathers involved and you do not need to speak badly of them," the minister charged.