GEORGE TOWN, July 17 – In recent times, there has been a troubling rise in the number of reported cases involving child pornography. The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is deeply concerned by the increasing number of individuals accessing child pornography online, which directly translates to an alarming rise in the number of children falling victim to this heinous crime. According to Asst Comm Siti Kamsiah Hassan, the principal assistant director of the Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Children Crime Investigation Division (D11), the total number of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses in Malaysia accessing child pornography from 2018 to January of this year reached a staggering 136,993.

The majority of cases reported to the police are concentrated in Selangor, followed by Johor and Sabah. Asst Comm Siti Kamsiah also highlighted that the number of cases has been increasing annually. In light of these concerning statistics, it is reassuring to learn that the Budget 2023 has facilitated the expansion of the Malaysia Internet Crime Against Children (Micac) Investigation unit to all states in Malaysia. Additionally, experts are being trained to combat cyber sexual crimes effectively. However, the protection of children against cyber sexual crimes, particularly child pornography, must begin within the home.

One of the common ways children are lured into engaging in sexual acts, which are subsequently recorded and shared online, is through interactions with strangers on the internet. Reports indicate that these criminals befriend children online, using kind words and even offering incentives such as rewards for online games. To counter this threat, parents must be aware of the websites their young children visit and monitor their online interactions. There are software solutions available that enable parents to track their children’s internet usage and block access to inappropriate websites.

Unfortunately, perpetrators of such crimes are often individuals known to the children, including family members. Therefore, it is crucial to educate children in schools about the concepts of “good touch” and “bad touch.” Children need to understand what constitutes inappropriate physical contact, as those who are supposed to protect them sometimes end up abusing and exploiting them. It is imperative that the government takes this matter seriously by implementing measures to halt the proliferation of child pornography.

Schools should establish safe spaces where children can confidentially share their problems and concerns. This should be complemented by parents proactively monitoring their children’s online activities. Additionally, the Ministry of Education should introduce dedicated discussions and educational programs on this topic in schools. The protection of children from the dangers of child pornography requires a comprehensive approach involving government intervention, increased parental vigilance, and education within schools. By collectively addressing this issue, we can strive to safeguard the innocence and well-being of our children in the digital age.

Pocket News