The Child Rights Network and SaferKidsPH join the call for a safer and better internet for children and young people amid rising cases of online abuse and exploitation

by SaferKidsPH Consortium

08 February 2021
 A girl checks her social media accounts in Manila
© UNICEF/UN014984/Estey
A girl checks her social media accounts in Manila

Did you know? The age at which Filipino children first go online is, on average, 10 years old, and nearly half of the Filipino children think that the Internet is not safe for them.

Today, the SaferKidsPH consortium of The Asia Foundation, Save the Children Philippines, and UNICEF, with support from the Australian Government, joins the Philippine Government and the Child Rights Network in celebrating this year’s Safer Internet Day theme “Bagong Normal: Ligtas na Internet for All.”

Since the inception of the Philippine Internet Crimes against Children Center (PICACC) in February 2019, a collaboration between the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, together with the Australian Federal Police, UK National Crime Agency, and the International Justice Mission, 320 children were rescued from online sexual abuse and exploitation, 77 suspects/facilitators charged, and four offenders convicted. The US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), on the other hand, reported a 209 per cent increase in the cyber tip reports for the Philippines, from January to December 2020 (1,294,750 cyber tips) compared to 2019 (418,422 cyber tips), coinciding with the period of the Covid19 Pandemic.

Likewise, the Anti-Money Laundering Council reported a 156 per cent increase in the suspicious transactions linked to child sexual abuse and exploitation valued at Php113 million, from 2019 to the first half of 2020.

As support for this year’s Safer Internet Day, a month-long advocacy campaign will be jointly organized by  SaferKidsPH, the Child Rights Network and the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) to reach out to more children and young people, and raise their awareness on how to protect themselves from online dangers. A talk show with children and young people will be held to highlight the importance of mental health and fostering safe online spaces amid the increased use of the internet by children during quarantine. A series of interactive social media activities will be held to engage children, young people, parents, and advocates in the campaign against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC). Likewise, digital tips on online safety will be disseminated to increase awareness of children and young people on protective mechanisms and interventions available online.

The campaign will also support the launch of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Child Online Safeguarding Policy which aims to expand and promote protective mechanisms for children when they access internet in public places. Support from digital influencers and public personalities will also be featured to strengthen the reach of this digital advocacy campaign.

As a culminating activity, IACACP and UNICEF will hold a virtual launch of the Philippine Kids Online Survey and the National Study on Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children, both presenting evidence on risks and opportunities linked to internet, and the complexity of OSAEC as a crime.

Join us in making the Internet safer for kids! Visit: https://www.saferkidsph.org/help-stop-osaec/. For more information on Safer Internet Day activities , you may visit the Facebook page of the SaferKidsPHChild Rights Network and the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography.

Media contacts

Richard Dy
Child Rights Network
Marge Francia
Communication Officer
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 917 858 9447

About Child Rights Network

Child Rights Network is the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines. Visit our website: childrightsnetwork.ph

About SaferKidsPH

SaferKidsPH, an Australian Government initiative, is delivered through the pioneering consortium of Save the Children Philippines, The Asia Foundation, and UNICEF to reduce the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines. SaferKidsPH works with children and their families, the Philippine Government, civil society and the private sector to ensure that children are safe and protected online.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.

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