It is a known fact that according to statistics and research, Malaysia has topped the charts with the highest number of IP addresses – almost 20,000, uploading and downloading photographs and images of child pornography in South-East Asia. And it’s more than obvious that the number of children who are being ensnared by offenders whom they have just met or made friends with over the Internet is also on the rise. It was brought to light that almost 51% of children aged between 13 and 15 befriended the perpetrators through messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and Beetalk. When an investigation was undertaken by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in 2015, it was found that 91.6% children between the ages of 10 and 17 were in possession of a cell phone before they had turned even 15 while 88.5% had Facebook or other social media accounts.
With many Malaysian parents permitting their children to use smartphones without any supervision, it was found in a study that around 60% of the children spent time in online chatrooms each day. Using WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp and Beetalk, the kids befriend strangers on the Net. According to police reports and data available from the ACP, it was found that before 2014, an average of 60 children a year were sexually assaulted by perps whom they had met and made friends with through the Internet. The figure drastically shot up to 184 in 2015 and 183 in 2016. In 2017, the figure was 117, and we are talking of just May 2017.
There is a newly-established Malaysia Internet Crime against Children Investigation Unit that will monitor traffic at pornographic websites. Building a “data library” of the persons who visit the sites, the portals they go to, the amount of time they spend on the sites, and the files they upload and download will aid the authorities in prosecuting them.
But there are better ways to take stock of the situation in the nation. Parents need to be cognizant about what their wards are doing online and make sure they know who they meet over the Net. There needs to be some rule-setting and some parental guidance that can go a long way in making the country safe for its children.
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