Following the tragic loss of our son Christoforos at the age of 15 years old, we were driven to set up Christoforos Charity Foundation (CCF). Our Christoforos (also know as Christopher) was a bright, good natured and courteous boy, who was always polite and respectful with everyone. Tragically however, he became a victim of online harmful material.
Deceptively, the site appears harmless, which is precisely how it hooks in children and vulnerable young people. Unbeknown to many of us, there are, however, far darker and dangerous dimensions to these types of websites.
And sadly, all too often, children can stumble into them unknowingly, not recognising them as being harmful – and, on occasion can soon be drawn and enticed deeper into them with persuasive, addictive offers of all sorts, such as free online gaming/games, among other temptations predators offer.
Most parents can relate to how their children can at times, withdraw into the isolated, lonely digital world; how children sometimes prefer to spend more time on social media rather than engage in person with the world around them, outside the social media screen.
Social media is increasingly becoming a ‘replacement’ for a lot of offline social interaction. Even if children and/or young adults are away from their digital devices, the urge and feeling to constantly check their social media platforms remains a strong force, often driven by feelings of FOMO; fear-of-missing-out.
CHRISTOFOROS CHARITY FOUNDATION (CCF) is at the beginning of a journey, but aspires to grow and strengthen with each day.
In doing so, we can promote, help, support and nurture the wellbeing of our children.
CCF is all about promoting, inspiring and encouraging children and young adults to engage in fun activities outside of social media and the internet, and to start making real connections again; and by doing so, encouraging them to step away from the sometimes, harmful hook that social media and unsafe internet sites have on our children today.
CHRISTOFOROS CHARITY FOUNDATION (CCF) aims to raise further awareness with the support of St Mary’s High School in Cheshunt, the Hertfordshire Police, and also with the backing of other local schools and organisations where school assemblies can further highlight the aforementioned issues to all children and parents maximising awareness.
Its common with many children who enjoy Spending more time on social media than with real world friends. Using social media has become a substitute for a lot of their offline social interaction. Even if they are out with friends, they still feel the need to constantly check social media, often driven by feelings that others may be having more fun than them.
Collectively….The wider we open our eyes – the more we ‘see’ - And the more power we will have in helping our children.
This is the only way forward in saving our children of today and our children of tomorrow.
Our charity apart from the activities that we will be offering to children entirely free, will offer children informative leaflets at the end of each activity day reminding them of some of the following:
- Use an app to track how much time you spend on social media each day. Then set a goal for how much you want to reduce it by.
- Turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as having dinner with your family, spending time with offline friends, or playing with board games with your parents. Don’t take your phone with you to the bathroom.
- Don’t bring your phone or tablet to bed. Turn devices off and leave them in another room overnight to charge.
- Disable social media notifications. It’s hard to resist the constant buzzing, beeping, and dinging of your phone alerting you to new messages. Turning off notifications can help you regain control of your time and focus.
- Limit checks. If you compulsively checking your phone every few minutes, wean yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 30 minutes. Then once every 40 minutes, then once an hour. There are apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone.
- Try removing social media apps from your phone so you can only check Facebook for example and the like from your tablet or computer. If this sounds like too drastic a step, try removing one social media app at a time to see how much you really miss it.