Globe, child rights advocates urge public to make internet safer for kids

Jap Tobias –

February 14, 2022 | 9:53am

MANILA, Philippines — Marking the World Safer Internet Day, Globe Telecoms, along with child rights champions and internet watchdogs, challenged citizens to take a stand against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) as more kids are exposed to various threats on the internet. 

With the Philippines being the world’s largest known source of online child sexual exploitation in 2020, Globe is determined to take a more proactive role with different organizations in making the internet safer for children through its technological capabilities. 

“As a digital solutions group, Globe recognizes the need for children to be safe online. We celebrate Safer Internet Day today with the intention of raising awareness and educating consumers about the continued rise of OSAEC in the Philippines, and what we can do to protect our children from further risks of online violence and exploitation,” Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communication Yoly Crisanto said in a webinar last February 8. 

OSAEC in the Philippines

As the internet becomes more accessible to minors and children spend more time online due to online education, there is an urgent need to address online dangers that harm children. 

In the webinar organized by Globe, Unicef Child Protection Officer Ramil Anton Villafranca cited a 2020 report which reveals a 285% increase in the number of OSAEC cyber tips recorded in the Philippines since the start of lockdown. 

“We saw an alarming trend even before the pandemic that led to abuse which was further exacerbated by economic hardships during the pandemic. As a community, we need to create better opportunities that will enable our children and their families, without exposing them to the risks of abuse and exploitation,” Villafranca said.

This corresponds with the data Emma Hardy of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) presented which found a 168% increase in “self-generated” child sexual abuse materials globally in 2021. 

“Self-generated” child sexual abuse refers to instances where a child is accessed via the internet with a webcam and is coerced or encouraged into sexual activities which are recorded and shared. 

Globe, organizations take action

In response to the worsening situation of OSAEC in the Philippines, Globe zeros in on collaborations with different key stakeholders to make the internet safer for children. 

According to Crisanto, the company has been making efforts as early as 2017 for its #MakeITSafe for the Philippines campaign and has invested $2.7 million for content filtering systems that block websites and online imagery that promote child pornography and online piracy. 

Globe has also partnered with global and local organizations to strengthen its networks in fighting OSAEC, including Unicef, which initiated the #SaferKidsPH. This initiative pushes for responsible online behavior and promotes the rights and wellbeing of children. 

Another collaboration is with IWF, which employs cutting-edge technology to find, remove and present child sexual abuse imagery on the internet. 

Globe is also able to identify illegal websites and block them out of its network through its partnership with the Canadian Center for Child Protection, an organization that can scan the internet for harmful platforms. 

Additionally, Globe has its own Digital Thumbprint Program and has rolled out the Global Filipino Teachers Program, a collaboration with the Department of Education, which teaches responsible digital citizenship in private and public schools. 

“Stopping OSAEC is everybody’s fight. As a staunch advocate for Internet safety, Globe has been working closely with government and key stakeholders to protect our children from sexual abuse online for several years,” Irish Salandanan-Almeida, Globe data protection officer, expressed.

“The only way for us to truly win this fight is by working together across sectors and recognizing how we as individuals can play a part in preventing further cases of OSAEC in the Philippines,” she concluded


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