Minister Zulu urges parents to monitor their children against online sexual exploitation

News South Africa

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On the occasion of the official launch of a national household survey report entitled: “Disrupting Harm Survey in South Africa”, the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu urged parents and primary caregivers to be vigilant and continuously monitor their children’s usage of the internet and social media platforms.

The Disrupting Harm Survey in South Africa is part of the End Violence Partnership, a research initiative that aims to better understand how digital technology facilitates the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. South Africa is one of the 13 countries across Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia that participated in the survey, which was conducted by ECPAT International, Interpol and the UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti.

Based on the outcome; the research information will contribute to the development and implementation of effective online safety initiatives in South Africa and across the globe.

The findings of the survey showed that in the past year alone, between 7-9% of internet-using children aged 9-17 years were subjected to online sexual abuse and exploitation, which included grooming, being blackmailed to engage in sexual activities and having their sexual images being shared without their permission.

Speaking at the official launch of the report, Minister Zulu implored parents and caregivers to play their part in protecting their children against online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Today’s generation is technologically savvy and has easy access to the unfiltered content on the internet through smart phones, tablets and computers. There is great risk and danger when minor children access this kind of content without proper adult supervision and guidance. We should all be alarmed by the findings of this report as it clearly shows that the internet and social media platforms have become a hunting ground for those who prey on young innocent children”.

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