CA, telcos launch portal to provide online safety tips for children

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has launched an interactive portal aimed at creating a safer online environment for children. The portal was launched yesterday as the world celebrated Safer Internet Day.

The micro-site has been developed in collaboration with local telcos Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecommunication Ltd and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) and will provide online safety tips for children and guardians.

 “It also has a gaming component that enables both the young and the young at heart to measure their level of awareness on online risks such as cyber bullying, identity theft and online sexual harassment,” said Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

The launch comes against a backdrop of increased cyber-threats recorded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created a new frontier for cyber criminals.

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) statistics for the quarter ending December 2020, the National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (KE-CIRT/CC) detected more than 56 million cyber threats in the country

A majority of the threats were malware attacks at 46 million, followed by web application attacks at 7.8 million while 2.2 million Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) threats were detected during the same period.

Speaking at the official opening of national Safe Internet Day celebrations, ICT CS Mr. Joe Mucheru lauded CA for working with other stakeholders to create a safer online environment.

“Abuse and exploitation of children is unacceptable and should generally not be protected even by free speech principles. In the Internet world, further protections are also needed to shield children from predators, who may contact them through deceptive enticements in online forums,” he said.

He further called on CA to liaise with relevant state agencies and private sector players to manage escalating cases of cybercrime.

Members of the public can use the new platform to report any cases of child online abuse, which will be directly channelled to CA for necessary action. At the same time, the public can also access information about other organizations that offer support for children, including Childline Kenya, Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors, The Cradle and the Children’s department.

“Making the Internet safe for our children and other users is a collaborative effort. By coming together to deliver this microsite, the Kenyan mobile industry has demonstrated the great things that we can achieve when we join hands and work together. We look forward to further deepening our collaboration further to consistently enhance safety and availability of the internet, as well as other pertinent challenges facing the industry,” said Stephen Chege, Safaricom’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, on behalf of the ‘We Care Initiative’.

Safer Internet Day began as an initiative of the European Union Safe Borders project in 2004, and is today celebrated in close to 130 countries around the world.

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