The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has unveiled a three-month awareness campaign to protect children and their digital footprint, as it steps up the advocacy on responsible use of the internet.
The Child Online Protection (COP) Phase II focuses on children and youth as the primary messengers and advocates to help promote awareness on benefits and vulnerabilities in the cyberspace amongst their peers.
Digital access exposes children to a wealth of benefits and opportunities, but also to a host of risks including access to harmful content, sexual exploitation and abuse, cyber bullying, and misuse of their private information.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said safety of children in the online space has been particularly critical during the COVID-19 crisis and there is need for awareness creation and provision of information to children, parents, teachers and service providers in order to make the Internet a safer place for all children.
“This period has brought to light the magnitude of the need to foster a safe environment across all platforms that our children access,” the First Lady said. “The many possibilities that the Internet avails us, are a pointer that corresponding efforts are required to ensure the optimal exploitation of the resource by all of us, and particularly children,” she added.
The Chief Justice Martha Koome said the judiciary is alive to the new realities brought about by crimes committed against children in the cyber space, adding it will ensure strict application of the law to safeguard children in such cases.
‘‘We will work with all actors in the Justice sector under the auspices of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) to ensure robust enforcement of the laws to ensure the protection of children against abuse perpetrated through online platforms,’’ she said.
ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Mr.Joe Mucheru said his Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Communications Authority of Kenya and private sector partners are exploring ways of deploying technology to facilitate teaching and learning for pupils while at home. “The Authority in collaboration with stakeholders have proposed a home-schooling policy to guide learners on how to use devices outside the schools,” Mr. Mucheru said.
CA Chairman Sen. Kembi Gitura, noted that cyber criminals are taking advantage of the high uptake and usage of internet to lodge attacks, citing the reported online crime that rose by 37.8 per cent 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 per cent to stand at 23 million.