/ 13 January 2021

SAVE the Children Philippines has rolled out a training program for teachers, school personnel and parents to increase their capacity to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation.

The group was alarmed by reports that students posted sensual photos and videos of themselves and their younger siblings online to raise funds for gadgets they need for online classes.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Save the Children’s chief executive officer, said the government needs to address the impact of Covid19 on the livelihood of many families to help prevent the rise of sexual abuse and exploitation among the youth and to intensify its efforts to capture and prosecute online predators.

“Online sexual abuse and exploitation violate children’s rights to protection, physical integrity, and human dignity,” Muyot said.

He added that protecting children from online predators calls for a unified action from parents, guardians and leaders of schools and communities.

The group, in partnership with the Department of Education, conducted a Cybersafe training program for teachers and school personnel to ensure children are safe from online abuse and exploitation.

Cybersafe training aims to educate teachers, principals, school personnel, among others on children’s rights, online sexual abuse and exploitation, and how to access child protection services.

The group said it will also train community leaders to prevent exploitation of children in poor communities.

Wilma Banaga, Child Protection Advisor of Save the Children Philippines, reminded the youth that there are people online who will take advantage of them and they must know how to protect themselves.

“While we recognize that times are hard with many families suffering financially, parents should not forget their responsibility to protect their children from any kind of risk online or offline,” Banaga said.

The training is part of the activities of SaferKidsPH, a six-year initiative of the Australian government to reduce online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines. It is being implemented through Save the Children Philippines, the Asia Foundation and UNICEF.

SaferKidsPH shared tips on how children and the youth can stay safe when using digital platforms:

  • Do not accept friend requests or reply to messages from people you do not know.
  • Set your account to private.
  • Do not put personal information on your bio like your birthday, school, workplace, or address.
  • Do not share revealing photos, or use inappropriate screen names.
  • Do not overshare details about your life, like where you live.
  • Avoid joining groups that post nasty content.