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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Experts: Kids may exaggerate, but don’t ignore complaints

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Mumbai , March 30, 2013
First Published: 00:58 IST(30/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:59 IST(30/3/2013)

Though the police arrested the woman attendant on Thursday, investigations have not been able to clear the loopholes in the allegations made by the six-year-old boy’s parents.

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While the matter has again raised concerns over children’s safety while travelling on school buses, child psychologists are a little wary.

“Five- and six-year old kids can cook up stories as they live in a fantasy world.  Sometimes there is a possibility that children’s imagination might obscure the facts of an incident. The child is likely to exaggerate what actually happened. One of the possibilities in this case, could be that the child heard about such incidents elsewhere and started believing in it,’’ said Samir Dalwai, developmental and behavioural paediatrician at New Horizons Child Development Centre.

However, this does not mean that a child’s complaints should be treated lightly.  Psychiatrist Harish Shetty said children tend to repress or hide their feelings. “Always believe the child. But he/she should also be examined by counsellors who can get more information,” he said.

Experts feel that parent should not let young children travel alone in the school bus. “Presence of parents is one of the most important factors protecting children from such incidents. Parents should not let young children out of their sight,” said Dalwai.

According to experts, children should be allowed to travel alone only once they are 10 years and above. “Young children do not even understand good touch from bad touch,” said Anjana Prakash, principal of Hansraj Morarji Public School. “‘Parents need to take some pains to ensure the safety of their children. Earlier school bus travel was considered to be very safe, but it is not the case anymore,’’ she said.

However, with both parents working, it’s not possible to keep a watch on children at all times. “Camera monitoring would be the best way to keep tabs on the child. We have a gadget where its possible to track your child in real time using specialised cards that can be swiped when the child  boards a bus or reaches school and other places,” said Dalwai.


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