By Ma. Cristina Arayata

(File photo

MANILA – The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) on Thursday urged parents to keep an eye on their kids to prevent them from becoming victims of online exploitation.

In a televised public briefing, CWC Executive Director Angelo Tapales said parents are responsible in ensuring their child’s safety, including from web threats.

“It’s really important to recognize harmful contents and harmful people on the internet. Tell your kids not to talk to strangers and to avoid dubious websites,” he said.

Tapales added that it is important that they know how to report or to contact the Makabata helpline 1383 to learn how to report cases.

Parents are likewise urged to spend time and talk to their children.

According to Tapales, data from the Philippine National Police showed there were 17,681 reported cases of violence against children in 2023.

Among the top cases were rape and acts of lasciviousness, he added.

There were over 1,000 reported cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in 2023.

“It’s alarming because those three were also the top child rights violations in 2022,” Tapales commented.

He added that “it’s usually the parents, relatives or persons with close proximity with children” who were involved in online sexual abuse because they are the ones who have the opportunity.

“There’s a wrong mentality that children should contribute to the family’s income, so they are thinking it is okay to photograph the kids. Some also think online exploitation is okay since it is non-contact,” he lamented.

The CWC, he said, is creating awareness, and is monitoring the possible entry of AI-generated exploitation materials in the country.

These materials and realistic images are being traded or sold in the dark web, he said. (PNA)