‘Parents, guardians do your part’ as online body receives 2800 complaints

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica greets participants during the Online Safety Commission Safer Internet Day at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Tuesday, February 07, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Communications Minister Manoa Kamikamica has called on parents, guardians and school teachers to do their part in ensuring the internet and online spaces are used in moderation and not abused, leading to detrimental effects on one’s mental wellbeing, safety and security.

He said this while highlighting that about 2800 complaints were received by the Online Safety Commission (OSC) from 2019 to 2022.

Speaking during at a Safer Internet Day event, he said the highest rate of reports in 2022, at 27.16 per cent, were related to defamation and harassment.

The rest were related to forms of harassment, hacking of social media accounts, online scams, family and business-related matters.

About 21 per cent of complainants were young people aged between 19 and 25.

“Young people are spending a lot of their free time online and can therefore be exposed to online risks,” he said.

“So, it is all important for us to make them aware of the risks and provide them with the tools they can use as a safeguard without overshadowing the importance of the internet and the positive experiences and opportunities it offers.

Mr Kamikamica also said the OSC was instrumental in educating people, particularly the youth, on steps necessary to curb the negative impacts of social media and the internet.

According to Mr Kamikamica, 1000 pamphlets and 37,871 booklets on online safety were distributed to schools and communities in English, Fiji-Hindi and iTaukei languages.

He said the materials provided guidance to parents on ways to keep children safe online, online safety, information on internet safety, different forms of online bullying and image-based abuse.

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