Google’s flagship online safety program Launches Training In Kiambu County

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Content Development and Intellectual Property Trust (CODE-IP), a local NGO, and Kenya Web Rangers, have extended their youth online safety training to Karuri in Kiambu County.

The training session, targeted at school going children currently on holiday and other youth within the locality, comes at a time when online abuse incidents are on the rise in the country.

This is manicured towards curbing cybercrimes and insecurity in line with Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) warning against the increase in the online crimes. The Kenya Scouts Association also participated in the training that targeted 1000 children from the county.

“Currently, we are waiting to train online safety to the 2 TSC teachers seconded to scouting movement per county as directed by the Scouts Patron on November 24, 2018. These 94 teachers will in turn train students in all 47 counties, thereby increasing training to over 90,000 students. In view of ensuring this realization, we humbly call on TSC to heed to the directive by the Scouts Patron, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Scouts’ patriotic commitment to service is both heartening and inspiring. Emmanuel Church’s embrace of online safety training for all children and parents to become better guardians is awesome. Progressive leadership at the Association translating into new scouting applications points to exceeding our national training targets and scouting membership from 1.5 million to 4 million as urged by the Patron, President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta last November.”

On his part, Moses Danda, the National Executive Commissioner (CEO) of the Kenya Scouts Association (KSA) noted that what marks out Scouting from other youth-serving organizations are the principles on which it is founded, that is duty to country and duty to self.

“Scouts have adventures greatly and mastered the physical space. But generally, youth seem to have departed the physical space…they spend a greater part of their time exploring the online space. We are very thankful that we have found strategic partnership in CODE-IP Trust led by Alex Gakuru who has initiated a program that will guide 90,000 scouts on how to safely navigate the online space.”

Unlike in the past when most people accessed the internet from cyber cafes, the drop in the cost of mobile phones means that many people, including school students, currently own their mobile devices which they use to go online, either for educational content or entertainment.

Though laudable, this has also exposed the students and youth to the dangers lurking behind the internet as indicated by the rise in online abuse cases from the CA report. And most students are currently aware of this.

While appreciating the importance of the online safety training session, Alice Wairimu Kimani, one of the students who attended the session and a member of KSA, said that the training session enabled her to learn about the need to be careful on what people share on social media platforms.

“Think first, and determine whether whatever you’re sharing or posting is helpful or necessary in any way. Whatever you share online should be something that brings value to the society,” said Wairimu.

Web Rangers is Google’s flagship online safety program for teens empowering them to become ambassadors of safe and responsible use of the internet. Founded in Israel, it has since grown and currently has chapters in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Philippines, India, Turkey, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Czech Republic.

Apart from Google, other CODE-IP partners in the Kenya Scouts Web Rangers initiative are the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Ministry of Youth and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Education; Ministry of ICT; and Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

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Melissa Daniels
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