ChildFund Philippines launched its Web Safe and Wise campaign to protect children from online threats. Launched on February 10, 2023 on Zoom and the ChildFund Philippines Facebook page, the campaign involved the private sector and media in empowering children and the youth to benefit from digital connectivity while being protected from sexual exploitation and abuse online.
“To be #WebSafeandWise means being knowledgeable about the possible harms and negative things that could happen in the online world”, said Jayson Yañez, a 19-year-old advocate against online sexual abuse or exploitation of children (OSAEC). “Online exploitation is rampant nowadays because the cases are getting higher and the victims are so many, but sadly, the reported cases are few.”
According to UNICEF, 2 million Filipinos aged 12 to 17 fell victim to online sexual abuse and exploitation in 2021 alone.
ChildFund Philippines aims to build and sustain partnerships with critical sectors to protect children from digital dangers.
“With the launch of the Web Safe and Wise campaign, we will now focus on the roles the private sector and media could play to complement government efforts, to make online spaces safer for children … It is important to be a catalyst, to be a multiplier in this situation. And we know that we cannot do it alone. We rely upon our youth advocates, and all the partners we can garner to work on these issues … in all relevant platforms,” says Country Director of ChildFund Philippines, Anand Vishwakarma.
ChildFund also recognizes the key role that media will play in this campaign.
Ariel Sebellino, executive director of the Philippine Press Institute, agrees, “As truth-bearers and de-facto historians, media members contribute to shaping knowledge and decisions of the child growing up. It is expected of the media to provide accurate, vetted and truthful information to hone critical thinking.”
Hosted by Suzi Entrata-Abrera, the Web Safe and Wise campaign’s launch featured initiatives to help make the digital world safer for and with Filipino children.
Foremost in the discussions was Republic Act 11930, or the Anti Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Act, a landmark law that is one of the first of its kind in the region. ChildFund hopes to foster digital literacy among the country’s children and youth while protecting them from harmful online content and perpetrators.
The talk also announced upcoming dialogues, consultations with children and the private sector, webinar series, media training sessions, and community activities that protect children online and safeguard them from age-inappropriate content across platforms and providers.
“We want to see a digital world where every Filipino child enjoys a safer and better online environment free from all forms of online abuse, exploitation, and violence,” says Allan Nuñez, advocacy specialist of ChildFund Philippines.
Yañez expressed his thanks to the campaign’s partners in media and the private sector: “You are our hope in making sure that the discussion and online safety of children will never fade in the background noises of this digital age. To our private sector partners, your continuous support to our advocacies gives me so much hope.”
The #WebSafeandWise campaign is part of ChildFund Alliance’s global effort to uphold the rights of children to be protected from all forms of violence, expanding into the area of online spaces. ChildFund Philippines recognizes its partners in this campaign: the Philippine Press Institute, National Council for Children’s Television, Generali–The Human Safety Net Philippines, Xavier Science Foundation of Cagayan de Oro 4K OSAEC Warriors, Probe Media Foundation Inc., and ChildFund Alliance (ChildFund Korea, ChildFund Japan, Educo).
About ChildFund Philippines
ChildFund Philippines is a child-focused NGO serving children, youth, and their families in the Philippines since the 1970s. We are a program office of ChildFund International, a global not-for-profit organization with the primary purpose of helping children break the generational cycle of poverty and achieve their full potential. ChildFund Philippines works alongside local partners in over 21 provinces in the country to ensure that children and youth are safe, healthy, educated, and skilled. Its primary advocacy is on promoting children’s and youths’ rights and preventing child labor and online sexual exploitation. Our recent work with the Philippine government, NGO partners, private sectors, the media, and child protection champions resulted in the #ShutdownOSEC campaign, introducing OSEC-targeted congressional bills and the increased engagement of OSEC media coverage.