#APSB2015: (1/3) UNICEF Research: What we know about online child abuse

MP-KNN teamData and Research, Events, Netiquette, Society, The Changing Youth3 Comments

This is Part 1 of a three-part feature. Read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

One of the first steps in getting more information is finding out exactly what you know, and what you don’t know. In academic terms, this is usually called a review of related literature.

Sometimes, even a review of related literature may be too vague. The information you need may be very specific. To review forms of online child abuse, what Dr. Sandra Hernandez endorses is a systematic literature review (SLR) on online child protection.

Hernandez, a child protection specialist, presented the findings of her SLR at Ako Para Sa Bata 2015: Cyberprotection of Children, in the simultaneous symposium titled “UNICEF Researches on Online Child Protection.” Her particular presentation was titled “Philippine-specific foreign journals and publications: magnitude, forms and drivers of child online exploitation and enabling environments for child online safety.”

Forms of abuse

Hernandez started off by saying “not all forms of ICT-facilitated abuse and exploitation are new.” She listed forms of child online abuse and exploitation found in the Philippines. Cyberbullying, for example, Hernandez defined as bullying using electronic media, or the “act of being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material using technology.” She explained that cyberbullying had become more common than physical bullying. In one study of 100 students, almost 10% reported being bullied.

Sexting, in turn, refers to the exchange of sexual messages or images through mobile phones or the Internet, usually involving self-generated sexually explicit content.

In one study conducted by the Stairway Foundation, 7% of children aged 10 to 12 years were found to practice sexting. The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study stated that 1 in 4 youth sent or received sex videos, and 1 in 100 youth recorded themselves as having sex.

Exposure to sexually explicit content is also a form of online child abuse: Stairway Foundation surveyed 755 children from grades 5 to 6, and found that 23% have seen naked people online.

Such incidents can occur anywhere. In Internet cafes, children may see adults viewing sexually explicit content. In their own homes and communities, adults might leaving their computer unlocked, with sexually explicit content easily accessible.

Solicitation, online grooming, and cyber enticement are forms of online child exploitation as well. Some perpetrators may offer a child a new mobile phone, or prepaid load, in exchange for a picture or a webcam session.

What’s new

As technology and Internet access improve and become ubiquitous, forms of online sexual abuse and exploitation emerge as well. Cybertrafficking has direct links with sex tourism, child pornography, and street prostitution. Photos are usually swapped through instant messaging apps.

Hernandez talked about webcam child sex tourism (WCST), where children are asked to perform sexual acts or to expose themselves in front of a webcam, with perpetrators giving them instructions via voice chat.

This is Part 1 of a three-part feature. Read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Learn more about APSB2015 on its website and Facebook page. For details on the topics discussed in the conference, check out this program.

Check out photos from the event on Facebook and live social media coverage on Twitter!

3 Comments on “#APSB2015: (1/3) UNICEF Research: What we know about online child abuse”

  1. Pingback: #APSB2015: (2/3) UNICEF Research: What we know about online child abuse | Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network (MP-KNN)

  2. Pingback: #APSB2015: (2/2) Biggest gathering of advocates of child protection held in Cebu | Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network (MP-KNN)

  3. Pingback: #APSB2015: Sneak Peek - First National Baseline Study on child abuse and neglect in PH | Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network (MP-KNN)

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