MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Children are meeting online strangers in person - Unicef


More than half of the participants who are under 18 years of age in a United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) study said they met strangers in real life who they initially met online.

Unicef Malaysia Head of Child Protection Sarah Norton-Staal said the "Our Lives Online" study conducted in Malaysia involving 127 children also revealed that two in five children reported having bad experiences online they would not want to tell anyone.

“This poses a lot of risks, among others (the survey reveals) that both boys and girls reported receiving sexual messages, images, and videos from strangers on social media.

“These are all very disturbing facts that (we) need to be aware of. Our children are facing these risks and threats online,” she said during the Asean Cyber Security Forum at the Cyber Defence and Security Exhibition and Conference (CYDES) 2021, held virtually today.

The report is a snapshot of children’s use of social media in East Asia, focusing on four countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The research incorporates the experiences of 301 children across these four countries, including 121 street children and refugees, collected through a series of focus group discussions and participatory exercises.

She said Unicef has been partnering with the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KWPKM) to support and empower parents to protect their children from possible harm online.

“Parents should consider limiting children’s time online; however, they can engage with their children online as a shared experience.

“They (parents) need to understand what their children are doing online, perhaps participate. The main part is the parents need to be aware of their children's online behaviour,” she said.

Therefore, she said it is high time for a collaboration among related agencies alongside Unicef to develop a road map to put the Asean Declaration on the Protection of Children from all forms of Online Abuse and Exploitation into action, at the national level.

She said among the agencies are the National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and KPWKM.

The inaugural CYDES 2021 themed "Embedding Resilience Within Our Cyberspace" was organised by the National Security Council (NSC) and Nacsa.


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