CA unveils three-month awareness campaign to promote child online safety
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has stepped up the advocacy on responsible use of the internet by unveiling a three-month awareness campaign to protect children and their digital footprint. The Child Online Protection (COP) Phase II focuses on children and youth as the primary messengers and advocates to help promote awareness of benefits and vulnerabilities in cyberspace amongst their peers.
While digital access exposes children to a wealth of benefits and opportunities, a host of risks including access to harmful content, sexual exploitation, and abuse, cyberbullying, and misuse of their private information also occur in equal measure. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who was the chief guest during the launch strongly advocated for their enhanced protection from harmful online spaces and content that may expose them to these vices.
“These are risks and challenges that will require our concerted efforts through advocacy, raising of awareness and regulation to protect consumers, especially children, the youth, and vulnerable communities,” the First Lady said.
Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta presided over the launch of the second phase of the National Child Online Protection (COP) campaign dubbed, “Huwezi Tucheza: Tuko Cyber -Smart” where she acknowledged the vast and growing importance of online platforms in service delivery, especially during the current restrictive COVID-19 pandemic.
The multimedia campaign seeks to inform and empower children and the youth with skills and information on how to use the internet in a productive manner as well as enable them to stay safe online
CA Chairman Sen. Kembi Gitura, noted that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the high uptake and usage of the internet to lodge attacks, citing the reported online crime that rose by 37.8 percent to 38.7 million in the quarter ending June 2021. A majority of these threats were malware attacks, recording the highest jump of 6.9 percent to stand at 23 million.
“Other than coming up with innovative ways to deal with cybercrime, we need to join hands in creating awareness on the safe use of internet facilities. We need to empower our children, teachers, and parents with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively guide children on the use of internet services,” Mr. Gitura said.
The outgoing acting Director-General, Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, said the Authority is in partnership with the Ministry of Education to review the Schools Safety Manuals to incorporate child online protection and encourage schools to develop and implement mechanisms that would facilitate a safer online experience for learners. The COP was launched in 2015 by the Authority as a platform for awareness creation on the safety of children online. The first phase targeted parents, teachers, and other minders of children.
The CA board this week appointed former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Ezra Chiloba to take over as the new Director-General for a renewable four-year term.