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2015.12.04 19:44

3825_Cyberprotection for Children

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By Fr. Randy Figuracion, SDB

Cebu City, Philippines, December 2, 2015A - A two-day international conference “Ako Para sa Bata” (I am for the child) was organized at the Marco Polo Hotel, Cebu City from December 1-2, 2015. More than 900 stakeholders coming from government officials, law enforcers, social workers and educators attended the event sponsored by the Child Protection Network (CPN), a non-government organization whose works centers on increasing the accessibility of services for abused children nationwide.

The first to be held in Cebu, the theme of the conference was cyberprotection of children where the wide use of the internet and mobile devices provides endless entertainment but also makes youth and children vulnerable victims to abuse and exploitation.

The Forum included plenary sessions in the morning that gave an overview of the cyberculture both domestic and global on online child abuse and exploitation. The UNICEF research on online child protection was also presented. The afternoon sessions had a wider scope of topics which include sessions on cyberbulling, online solicitation and pornography, good parenting in the cyberage, efforts to fight online child abuse, Internet addiction as well as laws against cybercrime which need to be upgraded.

Speakers of the conference come from different fields of expertise. In his speech, Ricardo Paras Jr., chief state counsel of the Department of Justice (DOJ), said one of 1,500 youths surveyed admitted to being exposed to online pornography. Dorothy Rozga, executive director of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), said 1.8 billion pornographic photos are uploaded everyday and 270,000 of these involve minors.

Among the resource speakers was also Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB who talked about the “Challenges of Cyberculture on Education and on the Filipino Family.” Besides being one of the speakers, he is also part of the organizing team of the conference along with Dr. Bernadette Madrid, executive director of the Child Protection Network; Dr. Naomi Navarro-Poca, child protection specialist at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and Dr. Emma Llanto, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine. Supt. Maria Ivy Castillo of the Anti-Cybercrime Group said the Philippines has one of the highest rates of sextortion cases worldwide.

Representatives from the different salesian were among the participants in the conference including Salesians, lay mission partners, aspirants and youth. Quoting from Dr. Emma Llanto, a pediatrician “it takes a whole village to protect our children.” Hence different agencies need to get involved like doctors, police, social workers, educators and parents which expand the child protection network in society.






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