Why parents need to brush up on internet use too

Home > Spotlight ABS-CBN News Feb 18, 2023 9:18 am

MANILA — As the Philippines remains the world’s top source of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials, an advocacy group said Saturday that parents or guardians of minors also need to improve their knowledge and skills of using the internet.

Allan Nunez, ChildFund Philippines Advocacy Specialist, said that since children are now viewed as “local online citizens” or “digital natives,” their parents or guardians should catch up so they can provide proper guidance, making them vulnerable to sexual exploitation on the internet.

“Payo ko sa magulang, ‘wag nating gawing kaaway ang internet. Dapat yung digital divide, i address natin. Ngayon, mas techie na mga bata, dapat sabayan natin (sila),” Nunez told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

“Imbes na pagbawalan natin sila sa internet, pag-aralan natin paano nagwo-work ang internet para masubaybayan natin ng ginagawa nila and sa ganung paraan, maprotektahan natin sila,” he added.

(My advice to parents is don’t be averse to the internet. We should be tackling the digital divide instead. Now that kids are more techies, let’s catch up. Instead of banning kids from the internet, let’s explore how that goes internet works so that we can properly monitor and protect our children online.)

Nunez said half of the 44 million internet users in the Philippines are aged 17 or younger. Around 800 million children worldwide are active on social media, he added.

Unfortunately, child sexual exploitation is also rampant online, with reports of so-called “child sexual abuse and exploitative materials” rising to 21.7 million in 2020.

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“Nakakabahala na,” Nunez said as he revealed that this represents a 20 percent increase from the 1 million in 2019 and even much more than the 3,000 figure a decade ago.

(It’s very worrying.)

“Pilipino yung ideal targets many sexual predators lurking online…Philippines is the leading global source of child sexual abuse materials,” he added.

(Philippines are prime targets for sexual predators lurking online… The Philippines remains the world’s top source of child sexual abuse materials.)

Nunez lamented that aside from the existence of the dark web, which is a platform for those involved in crime amid authorities’ efforts against it, the monetary offer lures some parents and guardians with the attitude that there’s no physical contact anyway .

Cases spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as more children got online and their guardians lost their jobs, he noted.

Nunez said that despite the passage of Republic Act 11930 or anti-online child sexual abuse or exploitation over the past year, parents must take an active role in the fight against the crime.

It encourages open communication and constructive dialogue between children and their parents, with the latter leading by example when it comes to internet use and social media behavior.