Children and teens helped to identify and fight online abuses

In connection with the Safer Internet Day, specialists of the Center La Strada brought back into focus the subject of blackmail and online sexual abuse of teenagers and children by an animation video entitled “It’s not your fault”. The transmitted message is that the children and teens need to be helped to realize the limit between the own wishes and other people’s wishes, the own decisions and the pressure and manipulative behavior of another person, IPN reports.

Elena Botezatu, children’s program director at La Strada Moldova, said that they engaged teenagers in making the video. “We hope the animation video will reach their hearts, will inspire them with confidence and, more than anything, will make them speak about their problems when the situation overwhelms them,” stated Elena Botezatu, being quoted in a press release.

The statistics for last year of the platform show that an increasing number of teens opt for friendly or romantic relations developed online. The tendency is directly linked to the epidemiological situation. As they lack live interaction with friends and colleagues, the children socialize online more than earlier. This way, the interaction problems they face online are more intense now. This is also confirmed by the rise in the number of children who seek help through compared with a year before (up 210%).

“In most of the cases of sexual abuse committed online, namely the children who had such an experience asked for assistance from us. It is a considerable difference compared with the previous years, when the cases of abuse were reported by third parties, primarily friends or mates of the child. This is a signal that the teenagers and children can and deserve to be helped to develop a culture of consent, of personal limits,” runs the press release.

According to specialists, the children must see good examples of empathic communication, while the grownups should tell them that not even the most reliable person, not to mention the person you love or like, can force you to cross the personal limits, neglecting the signs of toxic manipulation or relationships that increase the risk of blackmail or emotional, sexual exploitation. These risks grow exponentially in the virtual sphere, where any private information can become public by one click.

This year, the campaign Safer Internet Day is carried out by the Center La Strada Moldova with financial support from the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau.

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