Children love to talk. From their first babble that steals your heart to their first full sentence which may or may not be grammatically correct, words are tools for children to communicate with the world. For parents, teachers, and caregivers, children’s words are gifts to be nurtured through encouragement and conversation.
However, not all conversations are easy to have. The birds and the bees conversation is dreaded by almost all caretakers. We hide behind the cute animals and vague descriptions to avoid awkwardness, difficult topics, and social taboos.
However, another conversation is harder — there are dire consequences when the birds and the bees aren’t friendly.
Some conversations are hard to have, but they are necessary to prevent future tragedies.
These difficult, yet crucial, talks are where Tilli steps in. Through the power of fun games and conversation starters, our educational tools encourage children to have healthier relationships throughout their entire lives. At Tilli, we are working to ensure that no child grows up to be either a victim or a perpetrator of sexual assault or harrassment.
Our mission is guided by a dual approach that aims to address sexual assault and violence by protecting victims and intercepting prepetrators. There is an importance in preventing children from becoming perpetrators as much as preventing children from becoming victims of sexual assault.
With the majority of sexual education occurring late in a student’s educational career, many children are not prepared to face dangerous situations when they need to. According to research from Columbia University's Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation, half of all rape victims are under the age of 18.
In order to prevent this half, we believe that education has to be emphasized early and often. Sex education is most beneficial when it is lifelong. Children won’t be silenced because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be touched that way. Teenagers won’t have to play catch-up. Parents won’t have to worry about their children as much.
Our educational tools, based on cultivating social-emotional skills of metacognition, empathy, and critical thinking, guide children and their parents on a journey to learn about bodies, feelings, and relationships.
According to UNESCO’s guidelines, young children, as early as 5 years old, should start learning the basics of consent and gender-based violence. When young children start venturing outside of the home, they enter the wonders, and potential dangers, of the public world. They will face issues of trust, power, and consent whether or not they are aware of it.
Our tool organizes these intimidating topics into stories, activities, and real-world examples to foster productive conversations. Children are equipped early to process their own feelings and to make sense of other people’s intentions. With both an analog version and a mobile application, Tilli is accessible for both families to talk with their children and teachers to talk with their classrooms.
With our game-based educational tool, we are advocating for a proactive approach to sexual education instead of the reactive, catch-up lessons provided in late education.
We hope you join our journey to make healthy life-long relationships for children easier to create.