Childline targets online child abusers

BY SIBONGINKOSI MAPHOSA

CHILDLINE Zimbabwe has partnered with Internet Watch Foundation to set up a portal that will report online child abuse.

Childline spokesperson Butler Nhepure said the development came at an opportune time when cases of online violence against children were on the increase.

“This is one of the many methods we can use to protect our children from digital space vices,” he said.

Nhepure said the threat to children was fast moving from the physical to the digital space because of technological advancement.

“Due to the advancement of technology, the physical space is becoming less of a problem compared to the digital space where children are concerned. A lot of abuse happens to children online and there is absolute need to protect children from these ills,” he added.

Nhepure said although the portal was hosted by Childline, it belonged to everyone just like their 116 toll-free helpline as they partnered with service providers like Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the Information Communication Technology ministry, the Department of Social Welfare, police and other stakeholders.

Internet Watch Foundation development manager Jenny Thornton said the portal would report and instantly block online child sexual abuse.

Thornton also highlighted that the portal would go a long way in reducing online child abuse by blocking any pages that promote the abuse of young children.

Childline Zimbabwe also operates a 24-hour safe and confidential reporting platform under an emergency phone number – 116. The helpline encourages early reporting and response to child protection cases.

Internet Watch Foundation is an international organisation that strives to make the internet a safer space.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw