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Internet poses risks for children in PNG

THE advent of internet and digital technology offers a lot of opportunities in the education and development of children worldwide, including Papua New Guinea.

These communication technologies can greatly expand the opportunity for both boys and girls to access information and entertainment as well as connect with family and friends on the social networks.

However, despite the profound benefits the downside is that children are also highly susceptible to different forms of risks, including access to inappropriate content, pornography and sexual exploitation by perpetrators who may use these technologies to gain access to and abuse children.

These increased concerns have culminated in a workshop jointly organised by the National Information, Communication and Technology Authority (NICTA) in partnership with UNICEF.

In attendance was National Information and Communication Authority chief executive officer Charles Punaha, chief censor Steve Mala, UNICEF representative Vathinee Jitjaturunt and Religion, Youth and Community Development Secretary Anna Solomon, all of whom had affirmed their commitment to combatting this issue.

According to the statistics by NICTA’s acting director economics, consumer and international affairs Jackson Kariko, of the 7.7 million people out of this 906,696, or 11.7 per cent, of the total population. He said the internet penetration was 1.3 per cent, total number of mobile users – 3.3 million and the mobile penetration 45 per cent.

He said of the bulk of the users were on the 2G and 3G (the coverage for mobile phones).

The workshop heard there is growing international momentum to address online sexual abuse and exploitation. The aim of the workshop, which ends today, is three-fold - to map out existing national efforts to tackle online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, identify priority actions to strengthen these efforts and address the gaps and to contribute to national multi-stakeholder coalitions to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation. Post Courier
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