Internet Child Safety Foundation

Resources & Publication

In 2007 the Foundation conducted the research study “Impact of Internet on children in Mauritius”, in an attempt to learn about how children and young persons are using the Internet and the benefits as well as the risks the Internet presents to young Internet users.

The findings from the study have concluded that the risks are real and that the young persons interviewed have revealed that they have experienced harm to some extent.

The recommendations of the report have been acknowledged by the cabinet in Mauritius in 2009 and this has lead to the setting up of a national committee of child safety online. Halley Movement is a member of that committee.

The global internet offers new opportunities for children and families to research their homework online, communicate at international level, and build personal websites to share their creativity with others. However, while the technology offers unparalleled opportunities for children and adults to learn, it has also an immeasurable impact on the sexual exploitation of children and other abuses, such as child pornography, cyberbullying, grooming and paedophilia. According to the Internet Child Safety Foundation Survey – “Impact of Internet on Children” conducted in September 2007 in Mauritius, it had been found that less than 10% of parents monitor the websites visited by their children. The implementation of the Action Plan would, therefore, help consolidate measures taken to combat child abuse online.


Cabinet Decisions taken on 30 January 2009.
Prime Minister’s Office, Mauritius

 

Research Findings
      The main aim of the study was to collect data to answer the key research question about how children in Mauritius are using the Internet and study and describe the impact on the users.

 

      The key research objectives of the study were:

      • Understanding the reasons why the children used the Internet in Mauritius.
      • Find out where and how children access the Internet.
      • Find information on the sites visited frequently by children, the reasons and how
        the children learnt about the sites.
      • Elicit information on the favorite sites of children in Mauritius
      • General reflections on skills needed by effective users.
      • Internet experiences that had been significant in enabling them to become users.
      • Whether sites are visited alone or in groups
      • What is parent involvement in guiding and supervising children’s use of Internet.
      • Whether children visit inappropriate sites.

      • 65 percent of the surveyed population owned a computer.
      • 29.6 % have their computer in their bedroom
      • 15.3 percent of respondents stated that they had expert knowledge in the use of computers.
      • 66.8 percent stated that they had an intermediate knowledge- meaning fair to good.
      • 17.9 percent stated that they were beginners in the use of computers.
      • Overwhelming majority of children (95.4%) and young people in the surveyed population stated that they browsed the Internet.
      • 88.4 percent of children and young persons used the Internet for email
      • 77.3% of children and young persons used Internet also to chat
      • 73% stated that there were no rules applied at home with respect to the time spent on the Internet
      • 63.5 percent of respondents also accessed the Internet from public places – cyber café, social welfare centers
      • 84 percent of the respondents browsed the Internet alone
      • 59 percent stated that their parents did not monitor

        Internet Child Safety Foundation has comes up with the following policies:

      • Prevent the risk from manifesting by creating awareness through information
      • Support services for parents and guardians.
      • Code of ethics on the use of Internet.
      • Strengthen research
      • Building partnerships for child safety online

 

Resources
      • Section 13A, Child Protection Act, 1994 (as amended and in force 2011). Child Trafficking. States that it is an offense to recruit, transport, harbor or receive a child for the purpose of exploitation, including sexual exploitation, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen years. Making preparations for child trafficking or furthering the offense is punishable by the same penalty. Link
      • Section 14, Child Protection Act. Sexual Offences. States that it is illegal to incite or cause a child to engage in prostitution, to be sexually abused by another person, or to have access to a brothel. A child is considered to be sexually abused where he/she is forced to engage in any sexual act to gratify another person’s pleasure, or any pornographic, obscene or indecent activity.
      • Section 15, Child Protection Act. Indecent Photographs of Children. This section states that anyone who takes, makes, distributes, shows, possesses with intent to distribute or advertises any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child is guilty of an offense.
      • Section 15, Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2003 (CMCA). Indecent Photographs of Children. This section states that anyone who takes or permits to be taken, distributes, shows, possesses with intent to distribute, publishes or advertises the distribution of any indecent photograph of a child or a person who appears to be a child, is guilty of an offense. link
      • Section 15, Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act. Deletion Order. States that a Judge in Chambers may order that any indecent images of children stored on a computer system or any other ICT medium must be deleted or destroyed.
      • Section 18, Child Protection Act. Offences and Penalties.29 Imposes a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine not exceeding Rs 100,000 for anyone guilty of an offense under sections 14 or 15 of this Act. Where the victim is mentally disabled, an increased sentence of up to 30 years’ imprisonment will apply. link
      • Section 18, Information and Communication Technologies Act, 2001 (ICT Act).27 Functions of the Authority. States, among other things, that the ICT Authority is required to take steps to regulate or curtail harmful and illegal content on the Internet and other information and communication services. link
      • Section 46, ICT Act. Offences. This section states, among other things, that it is an offense to use any ICT service, including electronic communications, for the following purposes: to transmit or receive a grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing message; to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another person; to transmit a message likely to endanger public safety, state defense of public order.
      • Section 47, ICT Act. Penalties. Imposes a penalty of up to Rs 1,000,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment for anyone who commits an offense under this Act.
      • Section 86, Criminal Code (Supplementary) Act.31 Dealing in Obscene Matter. Defines the offense of (for the purpose of trade, distribution or public exhibition) making, producing, possessing, importing, conveying, circulating or exporting any obscene matter, including electronically stored or transmitted data. It is also an offense to carry on or take part in a business dealing with any obscene matter, or to advertise or make known by any means that a person is engages in any of the aforementioned activities. The offense is punishable with a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 100,000, while the obscene matter shall be forfeited. The section also states that anyone who sells, lends, hires or distributes to a minor any obscene matter will be liable to up to four years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 100,000. link
      • Section 248, Criminal Code.30 Indecent Act in Public. This section states that anyone who commits a grossly indecent act in a public place will be liable to imprisonment for up to one year and a fine not exceeding Rs 10,000. link
      • Section 249, Criminal Code. Rape, Attempt Upon Chastity and Illegal Sexual Intercourse. Imposes a penalty of penal servitude for between five and 20 years for anyone guilty of rape. The section also states that anyone who commits an indecent act on another person by force or without consent will be liable to penal servitude for up to one year. Where the victim is a child under the age of twelve, the penalty shall apply even if the offender did not use violence and the child consented to the act. The section also covers the case where a person has sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of sixteen, even with consent, which is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. It is a sufficient defense to a charge under the above if the defendant had reasonable cause to believe the child was over the age of twelve or sixteen, as the case may be.
      • Section 251, Criminal Code. Debauching Youth. Defines the offense of habitually encouraging, engaging in or facilitating the debauchery or corruption of youth under the age of eighteen, which is punishable with imprisonment for between one and five years.
      • Section 253, Criminal Code. Procuring, Enticing and Exploiting Prostitute. This section states that it is an offense to procure, entice or lead away another person for purposes of prostitution to gratify the passion of another or for personal gain. Where the victim is under the age of eighteen or the offender used fraud, deceit, violence or threat, an offense has been committed regardless of motives or gain. The penalty for procuration is imprisonment for between two and ten years and a fine of up to Rs 100,000.
      • Section 254, Criminal Code. Sexual Harassment. Imposes a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rs 100,000 for anyone who abuses a position of authority to sexually harass another person. If the victim is a minor or a disabled person, the minimum penalty is one year’s imprisonment.
      • Section 288, Criminal Code. Interpretation of Defamation. Defines defamation and sets a penalty of up to one year’s imprisonment and a maximum fine of 5,000 rupees for anyone who commits this offense.
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