September 12, 2012

NEWS: Balkans gets tough on Internet crimes against children

September 11, 2012

Countries throughout the region are considering ways to protect children from pedophiles and other unseen dangers on the Internet.

Regional data shows that 20 percent of children who use the Internet become the target of an online predator or pedophile. Of those targeted, 77 percent are 14 years old or older and 22 percent are 10 to 13 years old. Of those children who encounter sexual content online, 93 percent fail to inform their parents, said social media consultant and software producer Darko Disoski.

Several countries are taking differing approaches to the problem. Serbia created a task force two years ago to deal with online pedophiles, and has arrested 40 people to date.

In Bulgaria, meanwhile, authorities are giving parents more control over what their children see online by offering software that tracks webpages and keystrokes and sends a daily report to parents. The effort is designed to make it easier for parents to keep children away from sites where they could be approached by unwanted adults.

Macedonia's ministry of information technology and administration announced plans for a helpline to educate parents and children on ways to minimise exposure and to report illicit online material. NGOs were also asked to join the effort.

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