Better protection for children while on the internet – an important task for professional workers

Professional workers of the Ljubovic Centre have improved their knowledge to provide better treatment for children at risk of gambling addiction and online betting

UNICEF Montenegro
A boy with a computer
UNICEF Montengro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
26 October 2020

PODGORICA, 6 OCTOBER 2020 – The greater time that children are spending online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to enabling the acquisition of new knowledge and continuation of the education process, also has its risks. Namely, children are simultaneously being exposed to harmful content and activities, such as gambling and online betting, and it is increasingly common for betting for entertainment and as a hobby to turn into an addictive disease that can have far-reaching consequences for children and adolescents, and also for their families.

In order for the professional workers of the Ljubovic Centre to be able to respond in the best possible way to the challenges faced by children with behavioural problems and those who reside in the Ljubovic Centre due to the enforcement of a correctional measure, UNICEF, in cooperation with Telenor, organized training for them in a recently established IT lab. The professionals were educated on the provision of help and support to children who are being rehabilitated from online betting.

Nada Djurovic Martinovic, Child Protection Coordinator at UNICEF Montenegro
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019
Nada Djurovic Martinovic, Child Protection Coordinator at UNICEF Montenegro, speaking about the importance of strengthening the knowledge and skills of the professionals in the Ljubovic Centre, in Podgorica, in October 2020.

Strengthening the knowledge and skills of the professionals in the centre is very important because it directly affects the provision of better treatment to children in the institution and encourages their development, all with the aim of their faster and easier reintegration into society.

Nada Djurovic Martinovic, Child Protection Coordinator at UNICEF Montenegro

Professionals from the Ljubovic Centre state that this is the first time that they have attended this type of workshop, emphasizing that they will be able to apply the acquired knowledge in their direct work with children.

During this training, we were introduced to a test that will serve us for diagnostic purposes to examine the degree of gambling addiction in children. The problem of gambling and online betting among young people is increasing, and that is why this testing is important.

Novo Vukicevic, head of the service for admission, diagnostics and the day centre
Novo Vukicevic, head of the service for admission, diagnostics and the day centre
UNICEF Montenegro/ Duško Miljanić / 2020
Novo Vukicevic, head of the service for admission, diagnostics and the day centre, speaking about the importance of the tests for examining the degree of gambling addiction in children, in Podgorica, in October 2020.

The coordinator of the Shelter Service, Sonja Dragojevic, agrees with him, and considers these tests to be the most useful knowledge she acquired during the training, which she will apply in her future work.

Sonja Dragojevic, coordinator of the Shelter Service
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
Sonja Dragojevic, the coordinator of the Shelter Service, speaking that these tests are the most useful knowledge she acquired during the training, which she will apply in her future work, in Podgorica, in October 2020.

During the training, we went through all the phases – from the way we identify addiction, through direct work and provision of treatment to rehabilitate from gambling, to getting acquainted with programmes for assessing the psychological, sociological and financial risks of gambling among children. In this way we gained the knowledge and confidence to apply everything we learned more easily in practice.

Sonja Dragojevic, coordinator of the Shelter Service

Head of the Institutional Treatment Service, Blaga Jukic Djurovic, says that the training made her look at gambling addiction from a different perspective.

The training was more interesting than I expected because of its very good concept, which explains in a simple way this big social problem and gives concrete guidelines for achieving the goals and treatment of children who are addicted to gambling.

Blaga Jukic Djurovic, head of the Institutional Treatment Service
Blaga Jukic Djurovic, Head of the Institutional Treatment Service
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
Blaga Jukic Djurovic, head of the Institutional Treatment Service, speaking about how the training made her look at gambling addiction from a different perspective, in Podgorica, in October 2020.

The training in the Ljubović Centre was conducted online for the first time, which has a special value in the opinion of social worker Marko Radovic.

Marko Radovic, social worker
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
Marko Radovic, a social worker, speaking how the training in the Ljubović Centre was conducted online for the first time, which has a special value in his opinion, in Podgorica, in October 2020.

This kind of environment is a novelty and maybe at some point we had doubts about the way the interaction would take place. However, the online training proved to be effective because all the participants were involved in the discussion and exchange of opinions.

Marko Radovic, social worker

This training is part of the initiative “Digital Safety for Every Child” and is implemented in cooperation with the NGO “Digitalizuj.me” with the support of the UNICEF Office in Montenegro and Telenor. The goal of the initiative is to support the use of digital technologies in teaching and strengthening the capacities of professionals in this field, as well as to raise the awareness of children and adolescents about online safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.