Teenagers, Children Prone to Social Media Predators

The Jakarta Post, page 4

The recent case of a 17 –year-old girl who was allegedly held captive for almost 48 hours by a man she had met on Facebook has again demonstrated the vulnerability of children exposed to social media. The girl, Amelia Deva Puspita, a resident of Pejompongan, Tanah Abang, in Central Jakarta, was allegedly locked up for nearly two days by Hendra Kurniawan, 22, an unemployed man.

The case began on Tuesday last week when Amelia told her mother, Suharmi, 51, that she was going out in the afternoon. Amelia, however, did not return home that evening. Family members attempted to locate her, but she could be contacted by phone.

Suharmi then filed a report with the Jakarta Police after being informed by another 17-yearold girl named Lia that she had received a message from Amelia on Thursday saying that someone had locked her up. Palmerah Police chief Comr. Armunanto Hutahean said that in the message, Amelia was asking for help because a man she had just met locked her up.

The police quickly followed up on the report and discovered that Amelia was being held in a rented house in the Kemanggisan area in West Jakarta, where Hendra was arrested, he said.

Hundreds of children and teenagers like Amelia have fallen victim to social media predators. Since January this year, the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) has received 139 reports of children and teenagers falling victim to sexual and violent abuse following social media interactions

The borderless social networking sites provide users, including children and teenagers, with unlimited chance to connect with other user, paving the way for them to expose themselves, which often leads them into danger, Komnas PA chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said.

Indonesia Child Protection Commission (KPAI) commissioner Rita Pranawati warned that the strong internet penetration could be dangerous for children and teenagers if their internet literacy was low and their parents failed to protect them from the dangers of the globally connected world.

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