(Philippines). On 24 October 2021, the 2nd Online Congress for families took place, organized by theLaura Vicuña Foundation (LVF) partnership between the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and lay professionals/collaborators to address the needs and problems of street children, of St. Mary D. Mazzarello Province (FIL), entitled: “Online Patnubay (guidance)”, aimed at offering families an accompaniment for online navigation.
More than 960 participants were online from the Napindan Taguig Foundation’s Child Protection Program (CPC) Communities of Brgy, Judge Jimenez, Marikina, Culiat, Hen, Uno Cavite, Hillcrest, Botocan, and Pinagkaisahan of Quezon City, Baccood , Sta. Mesa, Manila, and Palawan.
Sr. Maria Victoria Santa Ana, FMA, Managing Director of the Laura Vicuña Foundation, in her opening discourse presented the aims of the Congress, with the main objective of strengthening the bonds between the families of the LVF Communities.
Secondly, she highlighted how the parents and the elderly of the Communities are the main collaborators of the Foundation in the protection and care of the growth of children and young people. Parents, in particular, play a vital role in guiding their children in the conscious use of the Internet and in monitoring their online activities. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new ways of relationships and interactions and, with online education, children are overexposed to large information flows and risk becoming victims of Cybercrime.
LVF Volunteer Ms. Carolyn Thor explained to attendees the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” (R.A.10175), a law in force in the Philippines that addresses legal issues and criminal regulations relating to online activities. Among the causes that can lead young surfers to cybercrime, she cited: curiosity, the desire for adventure, economic problems, and the lack of guidance from parents, which can lead to scams, blackmail, security problems, and above all to suffer emotional trauma and reputational damage. She also described the different types of cybercrime and informed parents and young people about the criminal penalties they face.
To prevent damage related to unresponsive behavior, she suggested following the acronym T.H.I.N.K. before posting or clicking on anything on the Internet, to understand if what you want to post is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind. She also strongly advised that you only add people you know directly to your contacts, never share personal photos, provide your sensitive data with awareness and responsibility, and limit screen time.
Parents expressed their intention to communicate more with their children and to be more involved in their activities, especially those online.
The young people recognized that the lockdown and lack of mobility due to the pandemic gave them the opportunity to learn some practical life skills and to indulge in healthy hobbies such as reading. For their part, they have chosen to make a commitment not to visit unsafe websites and to listen to their parents’ suggestions.
At the end of the Congress, Sr. Maria Victoria reminded about the importance of being strong and united in safeguarding the integrity of the person and the protection of children in online navigation, in order to be able to live God’s dream for each family.