The risk of children being sexually abused via the Internet during the coronavirus outbreak has increased, NGO Hope For Children said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the NGO, due to the restrictive measures that limit movement, children spend more time online and get exposed to a higher risk than before the lockdown.
Hope For Children urged parents to pay close attention to what websites their children visit “in order the recognise the potential risks they might be exposed to.”
“It’s important for parents to have frequent discussions with their children about exactly how they spend their time online, while still making clear they trust them.
“It is also important for the children to know that they can come and talk to their parents if something is bothering them, regardless of what it is.”
Hope for Children admits that the internet is an important tool for children at the moment.
Nevertheless, their statement urges to be cautious “as there are dangerous individuals online who could make children feel uncomfortable.”
“You may feel alone at home, but be reassured, you are not,” the NGO said while directly addressing children.
“Don’t hesitate to talk to your parents and ask for their help. They will know how to help you.”
Hope for Children reminded the public that, even during the lockdown, their lines are open and they are available to help.
They urged anyone who has witnessed cases of minor abuse to report it to the relevant authorities like the police or the social welfare services.
The NGO can be reached at 22103234 or via online chat at www.uncrcpc.org.cy, which remains open 24 hours a day.