Malaysia sits on top of the list in Southeast Asia when it comes to uploading and downloading photographs and visuals of child pornography
According to a recent report by Sin Chew Daily, federal police Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11) assistant principal director Assistant Commissioner Ong Chin Lan revealed this during a seminar on cyber protection on children.
It was said that as many as 17,333 IP addresses involved with child pornography came from Malaysia, the highest among Southeast Asian countries.
Ong was citing data from the Dutch police based in Malaysia in 2015.
The number of cases involving child sexual assault has been increasing every year
Ong revealed that in 2014, some 60 children were sexually assaulted by sexual predators whom they had befriended through the Internet.
By 2015, the figures tripled to 184. 183 children fell prey to sexual assault in 2016 and there were 117 cases last year, as of May 2017.
Sin Chew Daily reported that most victims were between the ages of 13 and 15, with most of them falling victim to the "grooming" tactic in which they were connected to sexual predators on social media. The perpetrators would typically befriend children as a prelude to sexual abuse.
It was also learned that many parents allow their children to use smartphones without monitoring them. Statistics from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) revealed that only 35.6% of parents monitor their children's smartphone activities.
This comes as Superintendent Siti Kamsiah Hassan, assistant director of Bukit Aman's D11, warned the public to be wary of sexual predators lurking on social media earlier this month
In a Sinar Harian report published on 7 January, Siti Kamsiah said that sexual predators these days do not need to meet face to face, but only need to approach and be acquainted with victims through social media and communicate sexually through words and by sending pornographic images, leading minors who are unable to distinguish between right or wrong to engage in sexual activity.
Based on the statistics of reported cases, WeChat was used the most, followed by Facebook and Beetalk.
Elaborating on why WeChat recorded the highest number of cases, Siti Kamsiah said that there are a few factors to consider such as the app's appealing features including the variety of emojis and 'shake' feature to allow users to make random new friends just by shaking their phone literally.
She reminded that everyone - from individuals, parents, and authorities - are responsible for the protection and safety of children from these sexual predators.
How do you think parents should better monitor their children's smartphone activities? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.