Schoolchildren at high risk of online sexual abuse

Kathmandu, February 10

With children having easy access to the internet, cases of child sexual abuse have increased in the country.

According to surveys, children of urban areas are more prone to online sexual abuse as they are provided with easy access to the internet without any monitoring from parents.

According to Tarak Dhital, executive director of Central Child Welfare Board, children are always at the risk of falling prey to online sexual abuse if parents do not monitor their wards’ online activities.

In the fiscal 2016/17, altogether 17 incidents of online abuse and were reported through toll free helpline number. Similarly, 830 complaints of cyber bullying were reported at Central Investigation Bureau in the fiscal 2016/17.

According to a survey conducted in Kathmandu Valley in 2017, among the children who have access to the internet, 20 per cent watch pornographic materials at least once. It also reveals that of the total schoolchildren, who use the internet, 13.7 per cent are the victims of online sexual abuse and 57 per cent of such victims are girls.

Sarba Hari Paudel, a former principal at Bishwo Shanti School, Pokhara, said the problem was common not only in the cities but also rural areas with easy availability of cell phones and the internet.

Paudel said, “Parents complain that their children are mostly busy chatting online, watching online videos and playing mobile games rather than focusing on studies.” He also said of the 400 students of his school, only 10 per cent studied at home after school while 90 per cent spent most of their time surfing the internet and watching television.