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Make internet safer for all – Unicef Philippines

05:28 PM March 02, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Philippines is working towards a safer internet, particularly for children, as they are more exposed to cyberspace due to online learning and entertainment.

According to Unicef Philippines, the average age at which children first go online is 10 years old. They spend about two hours online a day, resulting in a higher level of risk of seeing inappropriate content. It also noted that the time that children spend online has even increased during the pandemic.

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Unicef recently concluded the Safer Internet Month with the theme, “Bagong Normal: Ligtas na Internet for All,” which tackled the importance of digital safety and mental wellness, especially during the pandemic.

“Tulad ko na isang youth advocate, maaari nating gamitin ang social media upang mas maraming maaabot ang ating adbokasiya. Huwag nating ikukulong ang ating buhay sa social media. Hayaan natin na mag-explore tayo ng mga bagay upang mas makita at ma-improve natin ang ating mga talento,” said Janna, 16 years old, who joined the panel of children during the activity.

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(For a youth advocate like me, we can use social media to reach more people about our advocacies. Let’s not limit our lives on social media. Let us explore other things so we can see and improve our talents.)

The month-long activity started on February 9 when Safer Internet Day is commemorated. The Department of Information and Communications Technology also launched the Child Online Safeguarding Policy.

A series of interactive digital games followed the launching through the Child Rights Network’s efforts, Plan International Philippines, SaferKidsPH Consortium, and Unicef Philippines.

In a statement on Tuesday, Unicef Philippines Deputy Representative Behzad Noubary said that the “children’s mental health must be a priority.”

“By learning from what we have experienced, we can reimagine a future that addresses the digital divide; a reimagined future that ensures your access to health, nutrition, vaccination, clean water and a hygienic environment. One of the most important considerations of our reimagined future is that our children’s mental health must be a priority,” he said.

Unicef also called for the government’s support and the private sector on keeping the children safe in the digital environment.

Liezelle Soriano Roy, trainee

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TAGS: child abuse, Department of Information and Communications Technology, DICT, online safety, UNICEF
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