PETALING JAYA: Barely a year after convicted paedophile Richard Huckle was sentenced to jail, Malaysian parents seem to have forgotten, and remain blasé in their actions that continue to expose their children and families to this danger, said a paediatrician.
Senior consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh said many parents happily posted images of their children on social media such as Facebook and Twitter or use their child’s image as a profile image on messaging platforms, WhatsApp or WeChat.
“This provides a rich source of images of children for paedophiles to access and use. One Australian study found that 50% of all images used by websites frequented and maintained by paedophiles came from social media sites,” he said in statement yesterday.
Dr Amar, who works at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun in Ipoh, said even parents with a professional background have made few changes in their lives to protect their children.
“I see a significant number of my paediatric colleagues, who should know better (having seen numerous child abuse cases), also behaving in the same unsafe way.
“As Malaysians, we are offering paedophiles a ‘supermarket’ of our children’s images to browse and access,” he said.
Dr Amar added that paedophiles were not only interested in pictures of naked children but also got aroused by pictures of cute children, even when dressed.
“These images are then re-posted on paedophile websites and shared with other perverts, some of whom will masturbate looking at our children. It is horrible just thinking of it.
“The biggest danger will of course be the hardcore individuals who will use this easy access to identify children to target for actual physical contact and sexual abuse.
“This is easy given the largely unlimited access many parents give to children to social media via their hand phones and easy Internet access,” he said.
According to Dr Amar, a study in Perak conducted among two-year-olds in 2015 showed that more than 60% had unsupervised access to the Internet via hand phones or tablets and older children have even greater access.
“Are Malaysian parents ignorant or just plain careless? This includes medical professionals. The world is rapidly changing and we need to change to support our children.
“This fascination with sharing our images online, especially those of our children, must stop,” he said.