WINDHOEK, 20 AUG – Children and adolescents under the age of 18 account for an estimated 33 per cent of internet users around the world, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Representative to Namibia, Rachel Odede has revealed.
During the official opening of combating of online child sexual abuse and exploitation training of the Namibian Police Force and social workers here today, Odede said this information is included in Unicef’s annual flagship report, The State of the World’s Children, for 2017.
She further said in some countries, children under the age of 15 are as likely as adults over 25 years to use the internet.
In Namibia, it is revealed that one in three girls and two out of five boys had lied about their age online.
Also in Namibia, an exploration research study on knowledge, attitude and practices of information and communication technology use and online protection risks by children between 13 and 17, showed there is widespread and unsolicited exposure to online sexual content, with 68 per cent of respondents having been exposed to such content against their will.
This study which was conducted by the Namibia University of Science and Technology, the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and Unicef, revealed that 31 per cent of the respondents had received sexually explicit images of people they do not know, while 29 per cent had seen child sexual abuse material online.
Speaking at the same occasion, British High Commissioner to Namibia, Kate Airey mentioned that child online sexual abuse and exploitation has not been given priority, adding that all relevant stakeholders should be urged to put it high on their agendas.
“Child online sexual abuse and exploitation is not a domestic issue, but an international concern which needs the involvement of all relevant sectors globally,” she said.
However, Airey cautioned that protection from this abuse and exploitation should not restrict children from an opportunity to gain knowledge as the internet is one such source.
Several police officers and social workers will be trained at the Patrick Iyambo Police College over two weeks by experts from Britain in the combating of child online sexual abuse and exploitation.