Education Tool On Online Abuse And Exploitation Bags Award At ASEAN MakeITSafe Hackathon 2022
Using gamification features as a support tool to teach, prevent online sexual abuse, and improve parent-child interaction, as well as address OCSEA from a new angle
Childhood experiences influence who we become. However, sexual abuse has harmed some young lives, and for some, this has resulted in significant problems later in life.
Right now, on average, a study estimates up to 100,000 kids in Malaysia may be victims of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) based on Disrupting Harm in Malaysia: Evidence on Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse report published in September 2022.
Victims were mostly girls between the ages of 13 and 15, with some being blackmailed to engage in sexual activities, having their sexual images shared without permission, or being coerced to engage in sexual activities with promises of money or gifts.
In fact, this is a global issue that children face, not just in Malaysia!
To address this issue, the ASEAN MakeITSafe Project challenges youth across ASEAN to create ‘gamified-projects’ that address social problems related to OCSEA issues through the power of design and which have a societal impact.
Child Pro Tech prototype and design solutions by Team C.A.R.E.
Stepping up to this challenge, Team C.A.R.E: Ang Zi Yang (Information Technology with a specialism in Business Information Systems), Yudhishthra Sugumaran (Information & Communication Technology with a specialism in Software Engineering), Chai Waii Yuan (Computer Science), Chua E Heng (Computer Science), Casey Tan Wai Kaey (Computer Science, Cyber Security) and Cheryl Lim Wye Yee (Computer Science with a specialism in Data Analytics) from APU bagged 1st Runner Up in the virtual ASEAN MakeITSafe Hackathon 2022.
They were pleasantly surprised when the Child Pro Tech prototype and design solutions they developed, which included games and AR interactivity, drew the attention of judges from world-leading professionals and industry-leading companies.
“When children use the internet, they are never alone. Online predators use kid-friendly apps and games to meet children, gain their trust, and trick them into sharing sexual images of themselves or meeting up in person, and it happens more frequently than you might think,” said Zi Yang, representing Team C.A.R.E.
“There are actions we can all take, when combined, can make all children safer and help prevent it from happening, but first we need to understand how this abuse can happen.”
Screenshot of Team C.A.R.E delivering a presentation in front of participants from other universities and professional judges.
While constructing Child Pro Tech, they discovered that children who interact less with their parents are more likely to be exposed to OCSEA.
For this reason, they decided to use gamification features such as mini-games, quizzes, semi-open world games and AR interactivity with mascots and rewards (such as badges and reward points) as a support tool to teach, prevent online sexual abuse, and improve parent-child interaction.
“We chose to target parents because we want to approach OCSEA from a different angle or perspective,” he clarified, while thanking their mentor, Ms Abbhirami Sivarajan for her assistance throughout the prototype’s design process by providing solid feedback and potential improvements.
“We will not stop competing and will most likely participate in more competitions in the future as we strive to deliver more sustainable solutions through innovation, and together, we can all play a part in making every childhood free from sexual abuse.”
At the same time, they received USD400 (RM1,873) in cash, and the organisers have stated that when the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) holds their annual conference, an invitation will be extended for them to participate.