The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) had appointed a Task Force to combat the growing threat to children and youth posed by bullying and sexual harassment via social media sites and mobile phone devices, NCPA Chairperson Natasha Balendra said.
Issuing a statement, she said social media sites like Facebook and Instagram and other mobile and web based applications like SnapChat, Viber and WhatsApp had been identified as sources where bullying and sexual harassment occur.
“The task force comprises members from the NCPA, the Attorney General's Department, the Police Department, the Ministry of Justice, and the NGO community. The Task Force will immediately start taking action to investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law those using the internet or mobile devices for purposes of bullying, harassing, stalking, or extortion of children and young persons,” the statement said.
The NCPA said the Task Force will also begin formulating recommendations for new legislation aimed specifically at criminalizing cyber bullying and cyber harassing and the like and protecting the victims of such crimes.
“The NCPA's Cyber watch Unit has been very active in the recent past and receives and investigates many complaints relating to the use of the Internet and has been actively monitoring several sites for potentially abusive behavior,” it said.
Members of the Task Force include Ms. Natasha Balendra, Chairperson of the NCPA, Mr. Sajeeva Samaranayake Deputy Chairman of the NCPA, Mr. Suhada Gamalath, Solicitor General, Mr. Nandana Munsainghe, Senior Deputy Inspector General Crimes, and Mr. Hans Billimoria, the Grassrooted Trust.
The NCPA is currently working with the Education Ministry, Justice Ministry, Sri Lanka CERT, ICTA Sri Lanka, the Police Department, several private sector organizations, NGOs and INGOs to develop a module for use in schools on the safe use of the internet with a special focus on cyber bullying and other cybercrimes.(DS)
The Authority said the module would be piloted in a number of schools in the Colombo District and thereafter be distributed throughout the country.