Action Pour Les Enfants (Aple) has joined forces with the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) and several ministries to promote a safer internet experience for the young.
‘Safer Internet, Social Morality and Family Values’ is a campaign that aims to encourage safe and positive use of digital technologies among children and young people.
“Everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference online, including children, who should be kind and respectful to others online and protect themselves from harm,” Aple said in a press release.
It said parents, caregivers and teachers should guide children towards the safe use of the internet while providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to make better choices.
Internet providers and content creators can promote a safer online environment by having positive content and safe services in line with their corporate social responsibility goals.
“We call on governments, politicians, decision-makers, law enforcement officers, companies, civil society organisations, teachers, parents, and children to join forces to create a better internet,” Aple executive director Samleang Seila said at the launch of the campaign.
With the campaign, Aple intends to raise awareness of crucial online safety issues, including the sexual exploitation of children.
NCCT permanent vice-chair Chou Bun Eng said children must be educated about the dangers they face online before being allowed to use the internet unsupervised.
“Overusing smartphones can negatively affect children. Their eyes can be harmed by radiation from moble phones. Girls, particularly, need to learn to protect themselves against predators on the internet,” she said.
The deputy director-general and representative of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Chum Prachea Prey said access to the internet has made children more vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation.
“As internet penetration increases, the risk grows,” she warned.
She cited a study by Unicef which showed that one in three children in Asia has experienced exploitation and abuse online due to a lack of information. The study surveyed over 170,000 young people in more than 30 countries.
Thon Chumno, a student at Anuvat High school in Phnom Penh, said the internet was an essential tool that gives access to national and international news to millions in Cambodia.
“But sometimes people overuse it. Some young people play on the internet so much that they forget to eat and drink,” he said.
He urged his classmates to use the internet responsibly so that they can become valuable members of society.