Today is the Safer Internet Day, a global event marked on February 9 each year with the aim of promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology. The event aims to inspire a national conversation around the responsible use of the internet for children and young people.
Safaricom in partnership with the Communications Authority of Kenya marked the day by launching the Child Online Protection Website that will help children learn and thrive in a safe online environment. Other partners in the initiative include Jamii Telecommunications, Airtel, GSMA Africa, and UNICEF.
The Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) Chairman Ezekiel Mutua spoke at the event, highlighting the role of parents and caregivers in protecting children from the dark side of the internet.
“We owe a duty of care to ensure that as we provide gadgets to our children, we guide them to use them responsibly,” Mutua said.
He said that KFCB was happy to collaborate with other stakeholders in promoting awareness about safer use of the internet.
“The internet is a great innovation, but we must guard against its misuse and protect vulnerable consumers,” he said.
Mutua further thanked Google Kenya, Code ID and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for partnering with KFCB for the already established Digital Parenting Programme.
“The best way to protect children from exposure to harmful content is by empowering them with knowledge on how to use the internet safely and responsibly. Digital literacy is key to this campaign. Let children take pride in using the internet responsibly!” Mutua wrote.
The Digital Parenting Programme was launched in September 2020 with the aim of sensitizing parents and guardians on the protection of children from inappropriate online content.
Internet threats such as phishing, cyberbullying, online shaming such as posting of private information have become rampant and the safety of children can no longer be taken lightly. Children are increasingly using the internet more with the shift to e-learning, e-entertainment, and social media.
“Our children and youth need to know that the internet does not forget. Internet users must be careful about their digital footprints because what you post online can come back to haunt you later in life. Let’s promote moral responsibility in internet use.” The KFCB boss added.
Mutua said the Digital Parenting Programme would enable children to use safe Google features that block and protect them from harmful content. He also said that they were working together with the Ministry of ICT to formulate better policies to regulate guidelines on sites such as YouTube.
“The takedown procedures for material violating the rights of children must be simple and straight forward. When it comes to protecting children from exposure to harmful content we should all read from the same page”
The COP website is accessible through https://cop.ke-cirt.go.ke/ The site has two access portals for Children and Parents.