KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Malaysia is not spared from the risks of social discord due to widespread misuse and a lack of self-regulation, exposing children to online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA) threats, including live streaming of child abuse, cybersex trafficking, child grooming, and sextortion.

CyberSecurity Malaysia’s chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, highlighted that OCSEA is expected to become more prevalent with the global expansion of technology.

This technological shift has increased victims’ online exposure and enhanced offenders’ ability to securely share OCSEA material and communicate anonymously with children and other perpetrators online.

“OCSEA is forecasted to be prevalent with the expansion of technology around the world, which has generated a paradigm shift in both the victims’ online exposure and the offender’s ability to share OCSEA material securely and communicate anonymously with children and other perpetrators online,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.

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To combat this issue, CyberSecurity Malaysia has initiated the Cyber Security Awareness for Everyone (CyberSAFE) programme to educate and raise awareness about technological and social issues facing internet users, particularly the dangers of being online.

“With CyberSAFE, individuals can disseminate information, understand the importance of cyber security, deliver messages about current cyber security issues, and educate the public - particularly targeted groups on best practices for ethical and secure computer and internet use,” he explained.

Additionally, CyberSecurity Malaysia conducts Cyber Security Awareness Talks (CSAT) for various age groups and demographics, as well as private and government sectors nationwide, to further spread awareness and knowledge about cyber security.

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Meanwhile, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri announced that her ministry aims to organise advocacy programmes against OCSEA threats at 300 schools across the country. This initiative responds to increased requests from parent-teacher associations (PTA) for more such programmes.

“This advocacy programme, which also involves the police and other agencies under the ministry, is to educate children so that they know what to do and what the procedures are, and to get them to learn more about the many forms of OCSEA,” she told a press conference during the YOKUK foundation’s ‘Building a Caring Society by Designing Joy’ book launch and 25th anniversary celebration.

“We don’t want to expose them in the first place, but we have no choice given OCSEA threats are becoming more and more of a trend in recent years,” she added.

According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh, as quoted by international media, at least 300 million children become victims of online sexual exploitation and abuse annually.

The first global estimate of this crisis, published recently, found that one in eight (equivalent to 12.6 per cent) of the world’s children fell victim to non-consensual taking, sharing, and exposure to sexual images and videos over the past year, amounting to approximately 302 million young people. — Bernama