Kara in partnership with Safaricom hosted a webinar on Child Online Protection in Kenya. The theme of discussion was “Internet and COVID 19: Keeping children safe from internet risks during the pandemic.” 

Speakers who addressed the Webinar were Ms. Caroline Murianki, Ag. Manager, Research and Consumer Information, Communications Authority of Kenya; Ms. Agnes Okello, Manager, Public Policy, Safaricom PLC and Mr. Nicholas Maiyo, Chairman, National Parents Association. The forum was also addressed by Rosoa Kokubanza, Student, Rosslyn Academy and Emmanuel Guyumba, Student, Mangu High School who shared their real life experience regarding benefits and risks associated with internet use.

Ms. Murianki stated that the Communications Authority of Kenya has established a child online protection programme that seeks to protect children from harmful effects of the Internet. The programme entails a National strategy on child online protection in Kenya, Regulatory interventions to protect children online, National Education Curriculum on child online protection, Consumer outreach activities and Information dissemination materials on child online protection. She urged parents and caregivers to report cases of child online abuse to the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team – Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC). The team works on a 24 hour schedule to monitor and respond on cases of child online abuse and exploitation.

Ms. Okello highlighted some of the dangers that children are exposed to while accessing the internet, for example grooming, cyber bullying and identity theft.  She noted that parents and caregivers have an obligation to educate their children on the dangers that are there on the internet, and also empower them to use the internet safely. She highlighted some of the interventions by Safaricom to ensure a safe experience for children when accessing the internet during the pandemic, which included, the establishment of discounted bundles to allow children access educational content on their mobile devices and the development of ‘Secure Net’ a parental control tool that enables parents define the websites to be accessed through their home fiber network. She also noted that child online protection requires a collaborative approach between the regulator, parents, caregivers, teachers and the mobile service operators.

Mr. Maiyo stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected approximately 7 million learners in Kenya and over 1.6 billion across the globe. He pointed out that most of the studies were now being conducted online and therefore exposing the leaners to several internet risks such as sexual abuse and infringement of privacy among others. He said that the National Parents Association is keen to ensure that there is sufficient consideration by the government to enhance every child’s right to education, health and safety as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He called on parents and care givers to create environments at homes that provide safe online experiences for children.

You can find a link to the webinar here.