Rina Harun: Govt to swiftly implement measures to curb online applications with elements of child exploitation


PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The government plans to implement swift preventive measures through online platforms to curb any online applications or games or websites which have elements of exploitation and crime against children.

Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun (pic) said this was among the matters decided at the Integrated Management Action on Children's Social Issues on Social Media meeting, which she chaired on Tuesday (June 15), to formulate initiatives and actions to curb the issue of child grooming and lewd content through social media.

It also decided to hold more children awareness programmes with the cooperation of the Education Ministry, National Film Development Corporation (Finas), police and other agencies by producing crime prevention awareness videos for children for public screening, as well as implementing clearer campaigns or information.

"There is a need for a legislative act with heavier penalties for child exploitation offences, especially for offenders who are influential public figures, ” she said in a statement on Wednesday (June 16).

Recently, a cosmetics entrepreneur and his friend were remanded for alleged sexual grooming and obscene communication involving minors, aged 14 and 15, via Instagram live. The two minors are also said to have been taught how to use e-cigarettes or vape and other banned substances.

The case is being investigated by the Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Division (D11) of the Criminal Investigation Department.

The act of sexually communication with children, child grooming and non-physical sexual harassment are criminal offences under sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017. Upon conviction, offenders can be jailed for a term not exceeding 10 years, fined not exceeding RM20, 000 and can also be whipped.

Rina also urged the public not to viral these types of videos so as to protect the identities of the children involved and to prevent them from being victims of cyberbullies.

She said that a survey of the National Family Month, which was carried out by the National Population and Family Development Board, found that the level of parental control awareness on children’s Internet usage had dropped from 62.5% in 2018 to 53.3% in 2020.

"Parents are urged to play an important role in ensuring supervision and control over children, especially on the use of gadgets, namely through parenting tools or existing online parenting-related applications that can be trusted and downloaded through Google Play and Apple Store, ” she said.

Rina also urged the public to immediately lodge a report with the police or Talian Kasih 15999 if they know or suspect any case of child exploitation via social media. - Bernama

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