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ChildFund debuts ‘Swipe Safe’ plans

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Children playing with smartphones and tablets at home in Phnom Penh in 2019. Heng Chivoan

ChildFund debuts ‘Swipe Safe’ plans

The NGO ChildFund has announced its strategic plan for 2022-2025 as well as a brand-new online safety project “Swipe Safe” to protect children from online abuse of all kinds.

ChildFund said in its press release on November 2 that the ChildFund-initiated project, “Swipe Safe” will begin its implementation with the devotion of resources to curriculum development, app development and acquiring digital devices to train children and youth groups, parents groups and relevant authorities to ensure that children stay safe online during their e-learning or entertainment activities and are able to get help when online abuse occurs.

“ChildFund, an international NGO with a focus on children, will continue to give priority to education, child protection, social and emotional learning and emergency response, including Covid-19 recovery, over the next four years,” the press release read.

Prashant Verma, country director of ChildFund Cambodia, said today marked a historic moment for ChildFund and that over a million children and their families participated indirectly and 220,000 children participated directly in their development projects to date in the education and child protection sectors.

“We’ve strengthened ChildFund’s operations in Cambodia and hastened the organisation’s efforts to improve the lives of Cambodian children, especially the most vulnerable ones,” he added.

Moving ahead, he said that ChildFund will leverage technology to its fullest potential in order to improve project execution and reach out to marginalized children.

Sorn Sabon, deputy secretary-general of the General Secretariat of the National Council of Cambodia for Children (CNCC), said that online child sexual exploitation presented a global problem and is a growing cause of concern that requires the guardians of children, civil society organisations and the authorities to work to prevent it in order to protect children from online abuse.

Khiev Bory, secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, said that Cambodia had moved forward with promoting the protection of children and the best interests of children.

“Spending time online brings risks and threats with unacceptable but inevitable dangers. Some risks and threats children are encountering are also found in other places,” she added.

According to the CNCC, it is estimated that 11 per cent of children aged 12-17 had encountered online sexual exploitation while using the internet.

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