31 May 2016, Johannesburg. The Film and Publication Board (FPB) will engage youth in Western Cape communities as part of its outreach and public awareness engagement efforts for Child Protection Week which will be celebrated from 29 May to 05 June 2016. The theme for this year is “Stronger Communities, Safer Children” and emphasises the importance and value of connected communities in keeping children and young people safe and protected.

“The objective of the engagements is to provide communities and individuals with practical information on how to protect children and raise awareness about being responsible when consuming  content be it films, games, online platforms and the internet,” says Janine Raftopoulos, FPB’s Manager Communications and Public Education.

Referring to a recently launched two year global research study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) conducted by ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), Raftopoulos states that, “The findings of the report  point out a need for better implementation of existing legislative provisions for child protection and a need for collaborative efforts among the stakeholders involved in the child protection sector.”

In a report conducted by the FPB and UNISA on “The Impact of Media Content on Children in South Africa”, there is consistent evidence that violent imagery in television, film, video and computer games has substantial short-term effects on arousal, thoughts and emotions; increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour in younger children.  The report goes on to state that classifiable elements within media content such as violence, sexual content and horror remain a concern and due to children’s extensive exposure to different media platforms, they are more likely to be exposed to violent and sexual content on TV, in movies, in video games, on computers and even in music.

The FPB’s aapproach during Child Protection Week will be to visit schools where learners, teachers and parents will be engaged about the importance of protecting children, being responsible when consuming content to ensure children are not exposed prematurely to images that can harm them, and that they are aware of grooming tactics and child pornography. The focus will be on cyber bullying and children being exposed to age inappropriate material, as well as grooming and sexting.

The outreach programme will be conducted with the following school:

  • 31 May – Heideveld Primary School
  • 31 May – Klen Nedenburg High School
  • 31 May – South African Children’s Home
  • 01 June – Groendal Primary School
  • 01 June – Paulus Jobert Primary School
  • 01 June- Girls and Boys Town Claremont
  • 02 June The Homestead – The Bridge on Elukhuselweni
  • 03 June – Cecil Road Primary
  • 03 June – Rosemead Central Primary School

The FPB employs Online Monitors and New Media Specialist who are certified Internet Content analysts with International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE).  They conduct online inspections to ensure inappropriate material like child pornography, hate speech and incitement to cause harm, are reported to relevant authorities and law enforcement and taken down from such online sites.  In 2015/16 financial year, 7917 pieces of content were submitted by the FPB to the SAPS FCS Unit for analysis, inspection and verification.

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