According to a report titled “Disrupting Harm in Thailand,” released in 2022 by UNICEF, ECPAT, and INTERPOL, approximately 400,000 children in Thailand fell victim to online sexual exploitation and abuse in 2021. These distressing incidents encompass the sharing of sexual images depicting minors, as well as the coercion or blackmailing of children into engaging in sexual activities, often enticed by promises of monetary gain or gifts. Shockingly, the report highlights that only a mere 1-3 percent of these victims reported the incidents to the police, as revealed by its findings.
True Corporation, in collaboration with its five partners, has recently launched the fifth edition of the Young Safe Internet Leader Hybrid Camp. This camp attracted participation from over 150 teams of enthusiastic schoolchildren who presented their innovative ideas and competed against each other. The primary objective of the camp was to enhance public awareness and immunity against cyber threats, particularly related to combatting child pornography. True Blog had the opportunity to speak to the three winning teams and delve into their creative ideas developed during the hackathon.
Public Services in an Ever-Changing World
Assistant Professor Nattapong Punnoi, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Urban and Regional Planning Department and a keynote speaker at the camp, explained that “public services” traditionally encompass essential government-provided amenities like water, electricity, transportation, education, and healthcare. However, in a broader context, public services encompass any endeavor, approach, or system aimed at resolving issues and promoting public welfare, sustainable social development, improved quality of life, economic opportunities, community cohesion, and environmental preservation.
The inclusive definition of public services highlights the importance of “collaboration” among various stakeholders, including government entities, the private sector, and civil society. The ideas behind public services can be diverse and innovative. For example, Khlong Toey Dee Jung project uses arts and music to facilitate the development of children, tailoring its course based on the needs of the local community. Local Alike, on the other hand, fosters shared value by connecting two groups of people through its online platform. Similarly, the #stopcyberbullying campaign functions as a public service initiative, utilizing a crowdsourcing platform to raise public awareness and advocate for the elimination of cyberbullying.
Unleashing the Power of Hackathons
The design of public services comprises three essential components: identifying the issue at hand, developing a concept or proposed solution, and establishing an implementation mechanism. To facilitate systematic thinking during the design process and ensure effective problem-solving, the Young Safe Internet Leader Hybrid Camp (YSLC) Season 5 provided participants with three key tools.
- Persona: This tool facilitates the collection of data regarding the target group, including their basic information, personality traits, behaviors, pain points, and needs. Such insights serve as a foundation for designing effective solutions. Data can be gathered through interviews or online research.
- Journey map: This tool aids in gathering information that helps designers understand the behaviors of the target group and the underlying causes of problems during each stage of an incident. It covers the period before, during, and after the incident, offering valuable insights for problem-solving.
- Solution ideas: This template facilitates the exploration of ideas related to the Persona Canvas and Journey Map through the process of ideation. During this stage, the focus is on brainstorming and generating a diverse range of potential solutions. The objective is to consider multiple options before identifying the most feasible and effective one.
Combating Online Sexual Exploitation
During the intense third phase of the hackathon, the 15 finalist teams received guidance from mentors, engaged in brainstorming sessions, and refined their team’s top solutions. This intensive period spanned two days and one night and took place at the office of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), which has recently been relocated to Chaengwattana Road.
The winning team of the Public Design Service Hackathon in YSLC Season 5 is Thymee Team from Prasarnmit Demonstration School. The team members, including Tanarat Khemthong, Natcha Ngaoprasertwong, Natapat Samutpong, and Supichaya Preesong, showcased their exceptional skills and emerged as the champions of the competition.
The team identified a critical pain point during their research, revealing that victims of child sexual exploitation often choose to remain silent about their experiences, depriving themselves of proper counseling and support. The consequences of such trauma can be devastating, as many victims continue to suffer from the painful memories well into adulthood. Shockingly, research indicates that up to 80 percent of child rape victims have either attempted suicide, developed mental health issues, or even become perpetrators themselves later in life. This distressing cycle of abuse and exploitation perpetuates the prevalence of child sexual exploitation, highlighting the urgent need for effective interventions and support systems.
The winning project, Thymee, was developed as a community platform where members can share their experiences, educate each other about sexual violations, and seek counseling in a safe and supportive environment. Thymee aims to promote understanding of the issue, provide help and remedies, and create a space where individuals can find solace and support. The platform boasts three key features:
- Note to Tell: This feature encourages user interaction through Q&A sessions, expressions of moral support, sharing personal experiences, and offering advice. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology plays a role in guiding users to relevant sections based on their specific needs.
- Private consult: This feature enables users to seek one-on-one counseling from specialists, ensuring personalized support and guidance.
- Group session: Designed to foster a sense of community, this feature functions as a club where users gather to share their experiences, learn from one another, and seek advice. It serves as a crucial highlight feature, reinforcing the message that victims are not alone.
“Online sexual exploitation can be reduced by increasing the number of counselors and specialists in this field, as well as promoting open discussions about the issue in public,” Supichaya said.
The first runner-up of the competition is Amethyst Team, composed of five students from Bangpakok Witthayakom School, Donrawee Angsuchawalit, Tanakrit Boonyaworkul, Pawarisa Thongchua, Kritin Amluek, and Pattarakorn Satanikom. The team’s solution is based on the belief that sexual violations occur due to “ignorance” on the part of both victims and abusers. They propose that raising public awareness about the issue can help reduce the number of victims and wrongdoers. To achieve this, Amethyst Team has designed a public service called the Social Network Personality Test (SNPT). This innovative initiative aims to enhance people’s awareness of sexual harassment through the utilization of a personality test conducted on social media platforms.
SNPT, the Social Network Personality Test, is designed to assess users’ personality traits and internet usage behaviors. Through this assessment, users are encouraged to engage in self-reflection and evaluate the risks associated with becoming victims or perpetrators of sexual crimes. Additionally, SNPT provides valuable knowledge and advice to its users. In case of any assistance required, users can easily access help by clicking the “Help” button on the network, which directly connects them to relevant authorities for support and guidance.
The second runner-up in the competition is Safe Zone Team, comprised of Sireethorn Pinthong, Rujirat Sisawat, Nawinwat Nuannet, Chanarat Euheng, and Wiritpon Yodsimueang from Suankularbwittayalai Rangsit School. The team’s project aimed to address a significant pain point: the limited access to government agencies and counseling services for those affected by sexual violations.
Safe Zone, presented as a comprehensive solution, serves as a one-stop website providing support to victims of sexual violations. The platform aims to connect victims with relevant authorities in a friendly and approachable manner. Additionally, Safe Zone is designed to facilitate the work of specialists and support providers, streamlining their efforts to assist those in need.
Click here to learn more about the YSLC Season 5.