G Adventures has launched a new child welfare campaign called “If you wouldn’t do it here, don’t do anywhere”.
The campaign aims to provide guidelines on how to interact responsibly with children. Sounds like something we should be on top of by now, but you’d be surprised.
Many well-meaning travellers don’t understand the impacts of their actions. For example: taking selfies with children, geo-tagging their location on social media, visiting school classrooms, and giving money and gifts directly to children may seem harmless but actually have major impacts.
Earlier this month, G Adventures became the first global travel company to be officially ChildSafe Certified. This is in recognition of the work that has been undertaken to safeguard children’s well-being, both with G Adventures’ travellers and staff.
The new guidelines, which were developed in partnership with international child protection experts, ChildSafe Movement, and Planeterra Foundation, also encourage travellers to sign a pledge to be more responsible when interacting with children in the destinations they travel to.
Here are some of the top tips:
- Photos – to local children, travellers are strangers. Be considerate and don’t take photos with children without their parent or guardian’s permission, and don’t geotag children as this can make them susceptible to trafficking and desensitise them to strangers.
- Classrooms – interrupting a lesson is never okay. There are better ways to learn about local life than school classroom visits.
- Handouts and gifts – it’s easy to think a dollar or a gift helps children, but travellers should think about the long-term effects. Over time, this behaviour can force children to stay out of school to beg, leading to a cycle of dependency and poverty. Instead, donate to organisations that help youth and their families, such as G Adventures’ non-profit partner, Planeterra, which supports a number of youth and family projects globally.
- Safety – if you see a child in a situation that just doesn’t seem right, do the right thing and report it right way.
- Think about what you’d do in this scenario at home – if you wouldn’t do it here, don’t do it anywhere. Kids are kids, no matter where they live.
Jamie Sweeting, vice president of social enterprise and responsible travel at G Adventures, said the guidelines are the latest in G Adventures’ ‘G for Good’ suite of responsible travel initiatives, which are designed to help people travel better, and they complement guidelines for protecting wildlife, and Indigenous people and cultures.
“As a travel company we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can,” Sweeting said.
“With ChildSafe Movement’s help, we’ve developed a policy based on the global guidelines to govern all G Adventures’ operations, which is helping us make appropriate changes in how we educate our travellers, as well as our office and field staff.
“We’ve also swept our digital assets and owned channels to ensure all our media complies, have removed all school classroom visits from our itineraries, and have completed an internal training program for all staff.
“We’ve set up a task force for monitoring and reporting compliance with our policy, and it will be an ongoing effort to continue to live up to our ChildSafe Certification.”
Check out the full guidelines here.