The workshop brought together speakers from various organisations to share their perspectives on the various threats children face online, and what their organisations are doing to address these threats.
The moderator, Laksmi Shita, Program Development Manager at HIVOS Southeast Asia, started by explaining one of the reasons why she was here: “I am privileged to be moderating this session because I am a mother of two beautiful daughters.”
Mariam Barata, Director General Secretary of the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Technology presented a few cases reported by ECPAT International about online child abuse occurring in Indonesia. She stated that between 2010 and 2014 80 million children accessed online pornography and the number is continually increasing.
Barata explained that the Government of Indonesia is working with different stakeholders such as policy makers, law enforcement, NGOs and public partnerships on tackling this issue by employing a number of different approaches.
Firstly, legal frameworks are being put in place with an aim of building a roadmap on internet safety and pornography. Secondly, a number of cultural initiatives are being established to educate children, such as capacity building workshops and trainings. Thirdly, a technical approach is applied to add websites to parental guidance apps and programmes.
Saidalavi Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer, Developing Internet Safe Community Foundation in Dubai, started by saying: “I have 4 kids and I know technology, that’s why I left my country and created an NGO”. He then elaborated on a number of threats that children face online, such as invasion of privacy, identity theft, information over-sharing, losing control, and addictions.
John Carr, Senior Expert Advisor, ECPAT International, provided an overview of the situation in the UK as regards online child abuse. He explained that in the UK the highest number of arrests of people involved in child abuse image-related offenses was 1,370 in 2003, yet the number of people involved in child abuse images in 2010 and 2012 was between 50 and 60,000. He emphasised how this illustrates that there is a need for a multi-stakeholder approach to dealing with these cases.
Carr concluded by saying that 'the role of us as civil society is not simply to help with the propagation of that information and help ensure that the teachers, schools, parents and so on, are up to speed on these sorts of developments but to make sure that we’re getting the maximum possible impact from them.'
The workshop concluded with a few questions and comments from participants, and a general consensus that there is an immediate need for collective action in order to save millions of children from online threats and dangers.
By Arsène Tungali