25 percent of Taiwanese minors asked to share revealing photos: poll

CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

TAIPEI (CNA) — A child welfare organization on Wednesday urged parents to be more alert to internet safety, saying that at least a quarter of Taiwan’s children had been approached online to share revealing or sexually explicit photos.

According to the non-profit Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF), its recent survey on internet safety and privacy found 36 percent of Taiwanese 11-15 years of age had received requests via social media for in-person meetings with strangers.

The survey also showed that 46 percent of Taiwanese in that age group had been propositioned online to start relationships, while another 36 percent had shared important personal information, including their names and photos, with strangers on the internet, the foundation said.

Lee Hung-wen (李宏文), head of the CWLF’s policymaking center, said the findings of the survey were alarming and showed many minors in Taiwan were not aware of the importance of protecting their privacy online.

Sharing personal information with a stranger online could expose children to grave danger, while the consequences of sending revealing or sexually explicit images to strangers are even worse, Lee said.

He implored parents to talk to their children about the consequences of sharing personal information and explicit photos with strangers online.

Parents should also make it their business to know what messaging apps or social media sites their children are using and should educate their children about seeking help if things go wrong, Lee said.

Minors who are threatened or blackmailed based on revealing photos can call the hotlines 0800-001-769 or 0800-003-123 to seek help, according to the CWLF.

Those who have seen their intimate photos posted publicly online can seek help at http://www.web885.org.tw and/or call the Institute of Watch Internet Network’s hotline at 02-2577-5118, the foundation said.

The survey was conducted May 13-29 among children aged 11 to 15, and collected 1,321 valid samples. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.69 percentage points, according to the CWLF.