NTU students start crusade against child grooming
An experience when she was in Secondary 3 made her wish she knew what to do about online predators so she could help her friend.
Now an undergraduate, she told The New Paper her friend got to know someone online who made her feel wanted but subsequently touched her inappropriately.
She said: "We were in Sec 3 then and were so clueless about child grooming and how serious it could be."
Other such cases inspired a group of four final-year Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students to start Flag, You're It, a youth movement against online child grooming.
The group hopes to encourage children to flag inappropriate online conversations and friendships to trusted friends, said team member Vanessa Tan.
A key part of Flag, You're It is an exhibition titled 45 Minutes In The Preyground, held at the National Library Board until Feb 29. Launched last Saturday with Education Minister Ong Ye Kung in attendance, visitors can learn about common scenarios of child grooming taken from actual conversations between predators and children. The scenarios were curated in collaboration with the Singapore Children's Society, Touch Cyber Wellness and the Ministry of Education.
Miss Tan, 24, said: "There is no fixed template to how a child can be groomed. Predators adapt their tactics based on how they profile their target."
The team was expecting over 500 students to visit the exhibition, but learning journeys were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The group has since continued its outreach online, sharing guides and videos on social media, some of which were further shared by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
In a statement, Mr Shanmugam said a key challenge law enforcers face is young victims feeling pressured to remain silent or not knowing how to respond.
He said: "I hope Singaporeans will be inspired and empowered by the campaign, and take a stand against inappropriate sexual conduct online. Our youth deserve a safe space to play, learn and work, both online and offline."