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Making Cyberspace Safe for Children

Cyberscape stakeholders held a summit aiming to protect children from the dangers of cyberspace. The Child Online Protection Summit was held last November 2017 wherein the various government, private, industry, community and academic stakeholders discussed the hazards and dangers that children encounter while using the internet and formulating policies and guidelines to protect them

This was led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Other agencies such as the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) with other organizations endeavored to raise awareness on the dangers that can be encountered by children when using the internet. The most danger seen is the risk of online sexual exploitation. 

The summit’s theme was “Enabling Dynamic Partnerships: The Role of Everyone to Protect Children and Young People Safe and Secure Online,”

The discussions were participated in by national government agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs) academe, industry, and business sectors, international organizations and communities. Insights and best practices were shared so as to develop online safety standards and mechanisms that will conform to  Section 11 of the draft IRR of R.A. 10929, also known as The Free Internet in Public Places Act.

Assistant Secretary Alan Silor said I his presentation of the draft IRR that upon its approval, the DICT will craft a child online safeguarding policy within one year from the effectivity of the law.

The absence of Child Online Protection (COP) centers and the insufficient number of social workers to respond to the growing reported cases of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) are among the challenges hounding the current online safety landscape. 

According to Lotta Sylwander from UNICEF Philippines, “There needs to be an understanding of what online sexual abuse does to children. We need to change parents’ understanding of what happens to their children,” 

It was also stressed that while government and institutions must be aware and must provide protection to children with regards to online dangers, the families and communities will be the frontline against the hazards that children encounter while using the internet. 

DICT Director Maria Teresa Magno-Garcia of the National ICT Governance Service emphasized, “Our eyes have seen, our ears have heard the dark realities in the online world, and we must not stop at seeing and hearing, but we must start doing something about them both online and offline and, ultimately, we must start at Home.”

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