Kenyan children are exposed to online predators with a huge percentage of those accessing the internet lacking adequate knowledge to use the internet. According a report by the Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, six percent of the children interviewed have at some point shared naked images of themselves with other users, mostly predators online.
“While such images are most frequently shared voluntarily among peers and close friends, seven children had shared naked images as a result of threats and six said they were pressured by their friends,” the report funded End Violence Against Children, a public-private collaboration including governments, UN agencies, research institutions and international NGOs.
The report said the number of children accessing the internet had increased since the Covid-19 pandemic period when schools embraced online learning. The learners were frequently exposed to other prominent online platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, as well as Snapchat and TikTok.
Another 14 percent of the children interviewed said they had met face-to-face with people who they first interacted online.
According to the report, out of 1,014 children internet users, two thirds lack adequate knowledge on using the internet, and do not know how to stay safe online. The report also said that children were increasingly being exposed to risk using varous web-based platforms.
“In a world that is increasingly shaped by rapid evolution and adoption of digital technologies, the internet is a tool for children to engage in a very empowering way, but it is also a double-edged sword hence a strategy is required for proper use of internet for good and same time be aware of the dangers the internet poses,” Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia stated while commenting on the ministry’s findings.
According to the report, children are at a risk of blackmail, hacking, drug abuse, kidnapping and invitation to cults while online.