TeenBook Adolescent Policy

As an adolescence education initiative, TeenBook follows a comprehensive adolescent safety policy. The document below outlines the policy in detail, its key provisions and principles.  

 For the purpose of this policy the following terms will be defined as:

Adolescent” refers to any person within the age of 10 to 18 years.

Abuse” refers to all forms of ill-treatment, whether it be physical or emotional including any form of sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect or negligent treatment, commercial or other exploitation of an Adolescent which results in actual or potential harm to an adolescent. Abuse may be a deliberate act or an omission to prevent harm.

Safeguarding” refers to protecting any Adolescent from any kind of harm, abuse, exploitation or neglect. It relates to measures taken to promote wellbeing of an adolescent by supporting people and raising awareness to make informed decisions.

Adolescent protection” refers to safeguarding and refers to activities undertaken to protect specific adolescents who are being or are at risk of being abused.

TeenBook is committed to promote the rights of adolescents including their right to be protected against abuse, harmful influences and right to receive genuine information. The following policy demonstrates TeenBook’s commitment to safeguarding adolescents from any kind of abuse. It ensures the protection of adolescents visiting our platforms, attending our workshops and sessions and in all the extended interactions by providing a safe and comfortable environment to all its users.

As per our Values, it is everyone's responsibility to protect the spirit of this policy. This explicitly includes all paid and unpaid members, volunteers and any visitor who may come into contact with Adolescent through association with TeenBook. We try to meet our commitment of protecting Adolescent from harm, abuse and neglect by following the four paths:

  1.   Increasing Awareness: At TeenBook we believe in raising awareness in the society and among ourselves regarding Adolescent safeguarding. We ensure that everyone including TeenBook staff, consultants, clients, users are aware and updated about the problem of abuse and the risks to Adolescent.
  2.   Prevention: Through awareness, good practice and correct information, we help minimise any risk to Adolescent.
  3.   Reporting: If any users report any case of abuse we inform them about the process for reporting any such incidence.
  4.   Responding: We respond to any incident of abuse brought to our notice and ensure that action is taken to support and protect the Adolescent.

Adoloscent and Technology 

The availability of more affordable and reliable network connectivity and easy access to technology all over the world has created a potential space to transform adolescent lives by providing them with educational, cultural and other information. But, at the same time it has also exposed adolescents to risk of serious harm.

Every adolescent has the right to access information and freedom of expression. When it comes to protecting adolescent’s rights online, TeenBook strikes a careful balance between adolescent’s right to protection, their right to access to information and their freedom of expression. Therefore, TeenBook ensures that measures to protect adolescents online are targeted and are not unduly restrictive.

Despite its many benefits, the Internet has often been a platform for abuse and exploitation all around the globe. Protection of adolescents online is fundamental to creating a healthy and progressive society. For achieving the goal of creating a safe and healthy online environment, it is equally important for the government, NGOs, families, parents, educators and caregivers to play their part.

Unfortunately, the fight against online abuse is not unified, and varies widely between agencies and jurisdictions. To combat these harms, TeenBook has framed its own policies to create a safe space for our adolescent users.

TeenBook proactively engages with all its concerned stakeholders and decision makers to stand for the cause of providing a safe and comfortable online space for its users by providing rights based information about adolescent health and related topics. 

We at TeenBook believe in various modes of engagement that help us to provide a safe and comfortable environment while providing information to our users, and empowering them with correct information using the digital space. We are committed to building a digital space to improve adolescent’s online experience and make their online experience more meaningful and informative for them as well as their caregivers.

TeenBook works towards achieving its goals by:

  • Proactively create awareness to minimize the risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation of adolescents, by updating laws, policies, and regulations.
  • Designing reliable age-appropriate contents for our users utilizing and achieving new technologies.
  • Protect adolescent’s privacy, security and safety by updating information on best practices, policy responses, and technological tools to use in the struggle against the online abuse and exploitation of adolescents.
  • Engage academic institutions, civil societies, and subject matter experts for knowledge creation.  
  • Encourage our users to stand against abuse in any form.
  • Promote adolescent’s right to information using digital space.
  • Supporting the parents, family and caregivers through the duty they face in today’s digitally complex society.
  • Educating adolescents, parents and caregivers on their rights and ensuring they know who to turn to if they need help.
  • Utilize tools and TeenBook platform to ensure that digital innovation supports public good.

The stigma associated with certain topics also acts as a barrier to ensuring safety and wellbeing of children. TeenBook is trying to break this barrier and thereby promote adolescent safety through initiating discussions and providing high quality science-based information on some of these taboo topics. This we hope would enable adolescents, as well as adults, to make healthier and more informed decisions and cut down risky behaviour that can endanger adolescent safety.  

TeenBook policy is based on national laws and policies such as:

  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, specially designed to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms.
  • Operational Guidelines on School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat.
  • Operational Framework Report by Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram

Apart from the above mentioned, TeenBook also tries to incorporate the guidelines provided by International Conventions and Protocols:

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989): enshrines a wide range of rights for children, including civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.
  • UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2002): a framework for analyzing approaches to child sexual abuse material (CSAM) offences.
  • Budapest Convention on Cybercrime (2001): the first binding inter-governmental instrument that deals with computer-facilitated child pornography offences.
  • The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2007): addresses CSAM offences and online grooming offences.

TeenBook has kept up with the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection (COP) (2015), in which UNICEF identified five things technology companies must do to protect adolescent who use their products and services:

  • The rights of adolescents must be integrated into all appropriate company policies and processes.
  • The company must have established processes to deal with breaches of its adolescent’s rights.
  • The environments that companies offer must be age appropriate.
  • The company must educate adolescents, their parents and caregivers on how to use products responsibly.
  • Digital technology must be promoted as a means of increasing civic engagement.

TeenBook strongly believes that adolescents (from the youngest age possible) should be aware of and understand their rights. This empowers an adolescent to recognise the difference between positive and negative content with regards to their curiosity, and alert a responsible adult and to be able to report a violation of their rights.

TeenBook tries to provide a safe and positive learning experience online, by focusing on the eight key areas of digital competencies, that are important if an adolescent is to enjoy full access to his or her rights online.:

  •   Digital identity: the ability to create and sustain a positive online identity.
  •   Digital use: the ability to use technology in a healthy, balanced way.
  •   Digital safety: the ability to mitigate a range of online risks.
  •   Digital security: the ability to manage and avoid risks to devices and data.
  •   Digital EQ: the ability to recognize, navigate, and express emotions online.
  •   Digital communication: the ability to communicate and collaborate using technology.
  •   Digital literacy: the ability to find, read, evaluate, create, and share digital information.
  •   Digital rights: the ability to understand and uphold human and legal rights online.

Teachers, parents, caregivers and society at large play a key role in ensuring adolescents understand how to use digital technology responsibly and safely.

For any concerns regarding this policy, please write to grievance@devcons.org

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