Parents, guardians must protect children from sexual predators, says Wanita MCA chief

Datuk Heng Seai Kie. -filepic

PETALING JAYA: Parents and guardians must safeguard their children by monitoring their online activities following the rise of child pornography cases during the movement control (MCO) period, says Wanita MCA.

Its chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said it was alarming that child grooming cases also increased during the MCO.

"During the partial lockdown under MCO 1.0, and especially for people residing at low-cost flats, and now under MCO 3.0 with schools reverting to virtual classes, with the public encouraged to be indoors to flatten the curve of Covid-19 cases, activities and entertainment on social media have become a source of attraction and leisure for pre-teens and adolescents, thereby rendering them susceptible to internet predators.

"Parents and guardians thus must monitor the sites and activities which their children and charges browse online," she said in a statement on Thursday (May 20).

Heng said parents and guardians must not shy from inculcating in their offspring and charges, what sort of touches are acceptable or are offensive.

She added that they should be cautioned against sharing or revealing any images especially of their anatomy on social media.

"Underage children should be encouraged to speak up and report to parents or someone trusted if inappropriate touches or other sexual and vile acts have been committed against them, despite the predator having coaxed or threatened them against disclosing.

"Do also keep a lookout on signs of behavioural and mannerism changes among minors. If necessary, running through the messages and visuals in the child’s devices and social media platforms may help to keep predators at bay and quell any contact or approaches they may have with the child," she said.

Heng added that parents should block access to pornography websites or word searches for porn activities on a child's device.

She urged that parents, guardians, or children who are trapped in such circumstances and need legal advice or counselling to approach its Wanita MCA Legal Advisory and Women’s Aid Centre (LAWA) at 03-2716 5943/ 012-3863884; Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm.

On Wednesday (May 19), Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed revealed that cases involving child pornography had increased during the MCO period from March 18, 2020 to April 29 this year, with a total of 45 cases.

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