15 May 2024

How to keep your child safe online

As your child grows, it is likely they are spending more and more time online. There are so many positive things about being online like staying connected with friends and family, pursuing interests, and being part of communities. But it is not always a safe and positive experience for children. Here's how you can help your child maximize all the…, 1. Set clear ground rules, Have honest conversations with your children about who they communicate with and how, and who can see what they post online.  Explain that anything that goes online – pictures, videos, comments, things they share with others and what others post and share with them and about them – leaves behind a trail of information about them. To make sure they…, 2. Use technology to protect them, Check that your child’s device is always updated and running the latest software, and that privacy settings are on and configured to minimize data collection so that people don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see. Help your child learn to keep personal information private. If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see…, 3. Spend time with them online, Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family and you. Connecting with others can be an excellent opportunity for you to model kindness and empathy in virtual interactions. Help your child recognize and avoid misinformation and disinformation, age-inappropriate content and content that can…, 4. Model healthy online habits, Promote positive online behaviour by practicing it yourself. Be mindful of the example you set and what you share online about your child, including their photos and videos. Encourage your child to be kind online and to support friends and family by sending positive messages or emojis. If they have classes online, encourage them to be respectful…, 5. Let them have fun and express themselves, Spending time online can be a great opportunity for your children to be creative, learn, use their voices to share their views and support causes that are important to them. Encourage your child to use resources on the internet to help them get up and get moving, like online exercise videos for children and video games that require physical…
23 February 2024

Two years of full-scale war in Ukraine

Since the escalation of war in February 2022 Ukraine’s children and their families have endured forced displacement, unthinkable loss and relentless violence. Over the past two years, according to UNICEF estimates of the latest available data, children in Ukraine’s frontline areas have been forced to spend between 3,000 and 5,000 hours sheltering in basements as air raid alerts sound above. They have experienced prolonged disruption of schooling and routine, sparking a deep sense of loss, dread, fear and anxiety. These feelings, coupled with isolation manifest in ways that make it challenging for children to feel happiness, learn, and participate in everyday life. The constant fear of death, injury and further loss is compounded by continuing attacks. Even when the bombing stops, the ground children walk on can cost them their lives, as mines and explosive remnants of war cover an estimated 30 per cent of the country. Many children who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries are struggling to access education, health care, and protection services, and, as the war wages, face the prospect of long-term displacement and deprivation. Despite their resilience, for many children inside and outside Ukraine, the war has wiped out two years of schooling, playtime with friends, and moments spent with loved ones, robbing them of their education and happiness, wreaking havoc on their mental state. Ukraine’s children need this war to end and a sustained commitment and resources to be able to recover and reclaim their childhoods.
16 February 2024

Sheltering from war

Try to imagine what it feels like to spend 5,000 hours – the equivalent of 7 months – sheltering in underground basements and metro stations. Now imagine you are a child. What does it feel like to be confined for this  length of time as air raid sirens ring above. Not knowing what might happen to your home, school and family members and friends…, Education disrupted, Across Ukraine, schools have either been damaged or destroyed by shelling or lack adequate facilities. Around 40 per cent of children across the country do not have access to continuous education. In areas nearer to the frontline, half of school-age children are unable to access continuous education. In 2023, UNICEF provided more than 1.3 million…, Schools in ruins, Nearly two years ago, Stepan and Yaroslav’s school was destroyed by shelling. Since then, schoolchildren have been trying to learn online. UNICEF 2023 Yaroslav (16) stands against the background of a destroyed school, he used to study in. UNICEF/UNI510549/Pashkina "I'm afraid that younger children won't have the opportunity to receive an education…, Shattered memories, Eight-year-old Anya stands amidst the rubble of her badly damaged school in Buzova, Ukraine. Anya and her family hid in their basement when the heavy bombardment began. Her school was hit 14 times by shells and rockets between February and March 2022. Before the war, Buzova’s school was one of the best in the Kyiv region. Around 500 children came…, All too loud, The impact of war on children’s psychological well-being are widespread. Ukraine’s children report feeling anxious, sad and disinterested in learning. They also report having excessive fears and phobias, sensitivity to loud noises and trouble sleeping.  “When we hear an air alarm, we go to the basement,” 5-year-old Maksym explains. “We go down and…, New country, new school, Ten-year-old Darya fled to Moldova with her 16-year-old brother and grandparents in the spring of 2022. For a year and a half, she and her brother have been separated from their parents, who had to remain in Odesa, Ukraine. Their grandparents are striving to ensure the siblings continue their education in Moldova. In school, Darya listens…, Building a path for children to heal, Children and families impacted by two years of war in Ukraine have shown extraordinary resilience, but without support the psychological wounds of war could scar them for life.  UNICEF has reached more than 2.5 million children and caregivers with mental health and psychosocial support to help them overcome some of the distress and challenges they…, Remembering something good, Eleven-year-old Nika misses her friends and hobbies. Her photo diary has become one of her main sources of joy. Through it she tries to capture pleasant and important childhood moments, which the ongoing war has destroyed for so many children.  UNICEF 2023 Nika (11) is taking picture next to a destroyed building in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Her favourite…, Finding hope, Sisters Nelya and Lilya are in the ninth grade and, like all of Ukraine’s children have faced huge upheaval to their lives. They have become accustomed to hiding during the air raid alerts and are desperately trying to keep warm in their cold apartment. The ongoing hostilities and blackouts during fall and winter have affected their mental health…, A child-centered recovery, Ukraine’s long-term recovery depends on the recovery of children and families. Across Ukraine, UNICEF works to ensure children have access to health care, immunisation, nutrition support, protection, education, safe water and sanitation, social protection, and mental health and psychosocial support.  In 2023, UNICEF reached 8.76 million people…
10 October 2023

Dogs help children in Ukraine to cope with stress

Today, five-year-old sisters Eva and Milana have an appointment with their ‘therapist’ at a metro station in Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine. The therapist is just nine years old and her name is Julie. She is a golden retriever who has been helping children in Kharkiv overcome stress since the beginning of the full-scale war. As soon as Eva…, Helping children heal, Eva and Milana arrived in Kharkiv with their parents after fleeing Kherson, where intense fighting is taking place. The girls have cats and a dog back home.  Eva misses her pets and loves to spend time with the animals at the Spilno Child Spot.  "The dog's name is Snizhok (‘ snowball’) because he is snow-white and fluffy,” she says, sadly. Eva…, Finding safety underground, Lately, the fighting in Kharkiv has become intense again. Air raid sirens sound several times a day, each time causing distress for children, who desperately need a safe place to shelter. Last night, Victoria and her seven-year-old daughter Adelina barely slept. "There was huge shelling at night,” says Victoria, who did not hesitate to come to the…, Overcoming stress and sadness, Trainer Natalia has lived in Kharkiv since the very first days of the full-scale war. While hiding in the metro with her family, she noticed how depressed the children around her were. She then came up with the idea to organise dog classes as therapy. "The first class was difficult both for me and my dogs,” she recalls. “Severe shelling occurred…