Preventing Violence Against Children Through Technology in Colombia

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Global Alumni Coordinator

While our Goldin Global Fellow Lissette Mateus Roa and her colleague Bladimir Reyes are busy creating a parenting mobile app for helping parents and teachers with emotional management and awareness to prevent violence against children, the Colombian government approved Bill 320 that prohibits physical punishment, cruel, humiliating, or degrading acts, and violence as forms of correctional approaches for the upbringing of children and adolescents.

Lissette believes that the new bill further validates the significance of their work and will increase both teachers’ and parents’ receptiveness to adapt their mobile app called ConSiente.

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In November last year, Lissette and Bladimir were selected as one of the best teams from the Colombian ICT Ministry Contest for coming up with this mobile app idea. In addition to training parents and teachers about emotional management and awareness, the app provides good parenting advice and tools to prevent child violence.

“Basically, it’s going to work like any fitness app, it will tell parents how much or which particular practice training to do each day to manage their emotions. Being a parent is not something people understand, you must learn about it, just like other professions, but most importantly because it is about our children, our families, our daily life, and the future. Our ten-year research indicates that you must train every day to become a good parent and be able to avoid any type of violence and manage best parenting practices. Just like fitness, daily exercise is what makes you fit”. -- Lissette Mateus Roa, Goldin Global Fellow

The app will have an emergency button for parents to click for reporting an emergency or violence against children. Through the emergency call, parents can request guidelines on how to handle a particular concern about the parent-child relation they might be experiencing. The app can recommend an exercise or guidance to a parent or have a professional reach out to the parent directly for further assistance.

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As one of the best teams, Lissette and Bladimir, won one year of subscription with LinkedIn learning and free services from developers to assist them with turning their prototype into a fully functional app. The app will help in the prevention of violence against children, a critically common phenomenon in Colombia, where “More than 37 children become victims of sexual abuse every day, and many are separated from their families due to domestic violence, resulting in more than 30,000 growing up away from a nurturing family setting, according to figures from the state-run Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF)”.

Most child violence cases in Colombia are associated with a lack of knowledge on how to ethically discipline children and a lack of positive parenting skills. To overcome the challenge, Lissette and Bladimir are continuing to enhance their prototype and develop plans for creating the application. Lissette has set up a website for the project which you can visit at https://consientes.co/

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