Ensuring safety and security to our children, the future generation, is an issue of far reaching national interest. However, disturbingly enough, this issue of immense importance remains to be mostly unaddressed and gets little attention in public forums. And because media often do not give proper attention to this crucial area, the huge number of casualties and physical as well as psychological hazards that many children go through every day remain largely unnoticed. But, the issue is of grave significance and calls for serious mulling at all levels of society, especially at the top policymaking level.
Among the very few child hazards that are routinely discussed in public domain there is child labour. Notwithstanding the fact that Bangladesh has made important achievements in the fight against child labour, a significant number of children are still trapped in its worst forms. It is all to well-known how children’s working in chemical and leather factories causes serious health hazards, apart from harming their physical and mental development. Besides, child labourers are vulnerable to other abuses such as racial discrimination, maltreatment and sexual abuse. Some work, such as domestic labour, is commonly regarded as an acceptable employment option for children, even though it too poses considerable risks.
Children are also exposed to dangers due to negligence by their family members or more specifically by their parents. That the menace of child sex abuse alongside other forms of violence against children has today strewn into the veins and arteries of our society is largely attributable to failure by persons with parental responsibilities to meet their duties to safeguard their children’s welfare. We are also aware of the fact that a big number of children in the country die every year by drowning in water. The problem is acute in the rural areas where parents often leave their children alone and remain busy with other works. Being left alone children often go near water bodies and sometimes drown in water, which eventually causes death for them. This type of death is unfortunate but can be checked if the parents remain a little more careful to their children. The various dangers our rootless and floating street children are exposed to also require special attention.
Frankly speaking, the issue is linked with the future generation therefore efforts must be made from every responsible quarter to address it. There is a serious need for spreading parental education programmes to make parents aware of their responsibilities towards children and improve their parenting skills. We believe parents’ being able to take proper care of their children can drastically reduce the risk of child abuse and other dangers. Let us hope that concerted efforts made by all will usher in an era when our children will be protected from all kinds of dangers.