Keep children safe from online abuse and sexual exploitation

Published February 10, 2022, 11:45 AM

by Jane Kingsu-Cheng

Globe, UNICEF, IWF stress the importance of working together to protect kids and #MakeITSafePH

For this year’s effort in relation to World Safer Internet Day last Feb. 9, Globe has chosen to work on collaborating with UNICEF Philippines and SaferKidsPH Consortium, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), CitizenWatch, and Bantay Konsymer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3). It is alarming to know that the Philippines is one of the world’s top producers in terms of content in terms of child sexual abuse, according to US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

All of these institutions are working together in keeping children safe from online abuse and sexual exploitation. “As a digital solutions group, Globe recognizes the need for children to be safe online. We celebrate Safer Internet Day today with the intention of raising awareness and educating consumers about the continued rise of OSAEC in the Philippines, and what we can do to protect our children from further risks of online violence and exploitation,” says Globe chief sustainability officer and senior vice president for corporate communications Yoly Crisanto. She revealed that Globe invested USD2.7 million to systems that filter content to block websites and online imagery that promote child pornography.

“There is an urgent need to address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, especially with the growing digital landscape,” adds UNICEF child protection officer Ramil Anton Villafranca. “We saw an alarming trend even before the pandemic that led to abuse which was further exacerbated by economic hardships during the pandemic.  As a community, we need to create better opportunities that will enable our children and their families, without exposing them to the risks of abuse and exploitation.”

In a webinar event made public via live streaming on Globe’s Bridging Communities Facebook page, the #MakeITSafePH campaign focused on the fight against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC). IWF Communications director Emma Hardy was at the webinar, presenting recent data that showed an increase of 77 percent on “self-generated” abuse materials on children with criminals who spend more time online.

Especially of recent, when the pandemic happened and families had to find other means to live through this unprecedented times—to the point of using children to earn money. Worst is, the negative effects of OSAEC can affect a child until their old, mentally and physically.

“Stopping OSAEC is everybody’s fight. As a staunch advocate for Internet safety, Globe has been working closely with government and key stakeholders to protect our children from sexual abuse online for several years,” explains Globe data protection officer Irish Salandanan-Almeida. “The only way for us to truly win this fight, is by working together across sectors and recognizing how we as individuals can play a part in preventing further cases of OSAEC in the Philippines.”