Just because it’s on the web doesn’t make it true…
We recently had a negative review by a person and I don’t know how it was possible for the event (described by the person) to have transpired as we weren’t even open that day. We were closed for renovations.
There are times when I see reviews or labels and I go, “that is true of us and we have to work on that…”
Then there are times when I see a review or a label and I’m not sure whether to be incredibly angry or just sad.
Social Media is hungry for labels.
We label when we are distanced from the heart and soul of another person.
When our soul is fatigued it is so easy for us to create a sensationalist story.
Things bother us more than they should.
Labels are really easy to apply when we don’t know the full story.
Safety of Children
Earlier in the week it came to our attention that some were saying that we do not pay attention to people’s concerns about child safety; that in fact people have experienced men trying to lure children within Kids Paradise and that this has been reported to us and we have done nothing; that parents have then felt they have had to make reports to the police because we had done nothing.
This is not our experience.
Legally we have to report.
The police have never in 10 years contacted us about a report made by a parent in regards to Kids Paradise.
All of our staff are required to have their Working with Children and Vulnerable persons checks and have constant training on child safety. We have been very proactive about this, given our advocacy for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We have implemented training from Child Safe and have our own extensive Child Safety policies and procedures which we seriously implement. We also have our own in-house Child Safety policies.
Over the years we have made a number of reports to Child Protection when a child has disclosed information in our programs. We don’t have a choice. It is our legal responsibility.
In addition to our legal safety systems, we have made the decision to implement the following:
Security System ensuring that the play ground is under constant surveillance. This is to protect children, our youth workers and our staff.
True Story (and because it’s on the web it is certainly true): One of our staff asked some parents to leave recently because of their aggressive behaviour on the playground. One of the parents who was asked to leave, took a swipe at one of our workers, just missing their face. Another parent stepped in and assisted our staff member and the parents (who were being aggressive) were asked by our staff to leave and left. Within 48 hours those parents had made reviews and statements on a number of social media sites negatively labelling and reviewing us. All of it false, but to the casual observer they think it’s true because it’s on the web.
We haven’t wanted to put in a security system but we have to protect both children and our staff.
Sign in Sign out system.
This again is another system to protect.
This will provide a complementary system to the surveillance system making it possible to track persons.
This hasn’t been something we have wanted to do but we feel that you, the parent, will feel more relaxed with safety gates.
The external doors will be alarmed thus preventing people from entering or leaving the building via the downstairs doors.
Just because it’s on URL doesn’t make it true…
I remember one wet cold day in the school holidays, the line was long. The rain was pouring down and you could sense the restlessness of kids and parents. It was school holidays and none of us wanted to be in a queue, let alone during school holidays.
Then came the news a little child of around 3 was wandering around in the car park unattended.
I remember excusing myself from the counter to go and attend to the child. I was unprepared for the reaction of the parent next in line, “That child is not your responsibility. We have been waiting in this line and we deserve to be served.”
That parent then proceeded to label on social media.
The full story wasn’t told.
We label when we are distanced from the heart and soul of another.
We found the wandering 3 year old and the story behind the little’s wander.
The child had been placed in the care of siblings who had entered Kids Paradise and in the crowd they had all got separated and each presumed that the other had the 3 year old.
The mum had wanted a safe place for the kids to be in, as she was facing a storm in her own heart.
She simply couldn’t cope with that storm and the kids at the same time. In her anxiety, fatigue, tension and stress she had simply done the best she could. She didn’t have a lot of support systems. She had thought of a safe place. She thought that they would have been safe going from the car park to the playground. She wasn’t a bad mum. She was a woman, a sister, a mother, a friend, coping alone with a storm of life and her heart and mind was caught in a whirlwind.
You and I may have made a different decision but for me listening to this story, my heart was filled with compassion.
It’s easy to judge when our souls are fatigued.
It’s easy to distance ourselves from real people with real stories.
My hope and my prayer is that compassion, love and understanding will be a stronger value than that of labelling.