Fortis Hospital, Vashi on Wednesday successfully conducted the Pro-Social Peer Moderator Programme, which is aimed at imparting life-skills among school children to weather plethora of social influences for a healthy and adaptive behavior in their formative years. This year’s edition focused on two major student problems: bullying in schools and influence of media exposure.
To help school children combat bullying experience in schools, the team of Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, has conducted an innovative prevention and intervention “Bully to Buddy” Programme, which is created in selfsustaining format requiring minimum support from the external experts for its continued application. In the first phase, an intensive training in imparted to a schoolrecommended Anti-Bullying Squad, which consists of students from each identified class and a team of teachers. In the second stage, the Anti-Bullying Squad conducts a 45minute bullying awareness programme with their peers, while talking to them about the squad and its role. As a follow-up, a 1-hour booster session with the Anti- Bullying Squad will be conducted after 3 months to understand progress as well as help with identified struggles.
Another module of the Programme was conducted to address the burning issue of influence of Media Exposure on impressionable adolescent student minds. The New-age Social Media bombards individuals with thousands of media messages each day and the adolescent population is its single-largest consumer. The media has been implicated in increased aggression, unhealthy lifestyle/life choices and lowered self-esteem. A Fortis Healthcare Study conducted amongst 1350 school-going youth in Delhi/NCR aged 14-17 years to analyse the effect of media on attitudes, opinions, lifestyles of adolescents revealed that 74% youth in DelhiNCR rely on Social Media for news, fashion, lifestyle and as many as 77% of them are influenced by television.
“The Media Literacy module is designed to enable students to filter information – to differentiate between more legitimate and reliable sources of information and entertainment, to learn specific skills of critical viewing and decision-making and to follow safe media practices,” says Dr Parikh.
Fortis’ Pro-Social Peer Moderator program involves students, along with a teacher moderator. In every module, one team of students is trained on one particular topics to equip them with necessary life-skills. The students further use these skills to disseminate their knowledge and coping strategies to their peers, who benefit from their learning. Other topics that are covered under the Programme include Aggression Management, Risk Behavior Management, Gender Sensitization, Study & Exam Skills etc.
Explaining the rationale behind the Pro-Social Peer Moderator program Dr Samir Parikh said: “The ProSocial Peer Program is based on social learning theories in psychology, and attempts to channelize the power of peer influence in the right direction. It aims to utilize influence of peers to impart adaptive lifeskills for healthy all-round personality development. It has been proven to reduce and prevent the occurrence of problems like risk-taking behaviour, aggression & violence, substance abuse, delinquency etc. Through intensive and interactive workshops, the primary emphasis is on learning through observation, wherein the students are trained to become the role models for their peers and help other students in learning more adaptive forms of behavior.”
Life-skill programs have been identified as one of the key areas that can bring about a lasting change in the educational system and enhance personality of school-going children. These programs help foster positive growth & development, and prevent the occurrence of mental health-related and social problems.
“Children are our hope for a brighter tomorrow. Today’s children live in a lot more competitive environment today than ever before and so learning and developing Life-skills are becoming integral part of learning. We hope that with such skills, every child can truly make a difference and emerge as a winner in the race of life.” said Dr Bipin Chevale, Facility Director, Fortis Hospital, Vashi.
Pro-Social Peer Moderator Programme has been successfully running in the Delhi-NCR region for more than a decade and it has been launched in Mumbai 2 years ago, which has been extremely successful.
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