As schools, colleges and all other institutions in Manipur remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown crisis situation, many children are found indulging in unproductive and unwanted activities. In an effort to address the issue, Ukhrul district police have come up with an initiative to give counseling to delinquents and their parents in collaboration with NGOs and civil bodies operating in the district.
Owing to the long educational break, many recreational activities which are much needed for the healthy growth of children have been shelved. Inter school football tournaments, literary competitions and other school competitions organised annually during the summer break have been put on hold. As a resultant problem, many juveniles are resorting to violent activities even.
Recently, a video of some children engaged in a group fight went viral in social networking platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Ukhrul Superintendent of Police Worngam Ningshen informed this correspondent that the police have taken a serious note of destructive activities of school children who are involved in the fight.
“We have started identifying and tracing the school children involved in such wayward activities. Around 20 juveniles have been traced and identified today. We will arrange special counselors for those juveniles in order to make this lockdown period more productive and healthier as soon as we get necessary permission and clearance from the authority concerned,” the SP said.
The SP emphasized the need for parents to attend the counselling sessions along with the children.
“Normally, there are many challenges during adolescence. We must admit that we all have a share in this problem and more so, the parents and families are responsible in many ways directly or indirectly. Identifying the problems and causes is also important, and for that matter, parents of the children will be needed to attend the counseling session as well. For instance, a petty debate in social media has resulted in skirmishes among the juvenile,” stated Worngam Ningshen.
Educationist George Athing also shared the need for counseling of “both the children and their parents together in such a situation”.
“It is not only the kids who are affected but also their schools where they study. Therefore, we need a holistic approach to it,” he said.
There is a rise in the number of unwanted incidents involving school schildren, especially with the influence of social media and other electronic mediums, in most places. However, Ukhrul district is yet to have a juvenile court to address the issue. The district urgently needs facilities to deal with juvenile cases such as juvenile court and juvenile homes with experts to deal with them.