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Play your part

play-your-partAs much as the internet brings with it so many opportunities, there are still some dangers posed especially for children; these include sharing of their inappropriate photos without consent, blackmailing and cyber bullying among others. Such issues lead to marking of special days like the Safer Internet Day (SID); an event that aims at promoting safer, responsible and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people around the world.

With the 2016 theme being ‘Play your part for a better internet’, Child Africa joined Watoto Watch Network and other partners

at St. George’s Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday February 9 2016. These partner organisations include Facebook, Safaricom, Cyber Crime Unit, Communications Authority of Kenya (CCK), ICJ Kenya, The Cradle, GSAM among others.


Of note

“Technology is not an option, it's a requirement into this global economy,” noted St. George’s headmistress Mrs. KIvuti. She added that the school would want to make e-learning a major feature in the school and hence pave the way for other public schools as well. However, this is deterred by the lack of resources such as internet, printers and number of computers available at the school.

Everyone in attendance got a copy of their guide to child online protection ‘Be the Cop’ publication, which was launched at a Headteachers’ Conference in Mombasa in 2015. A video of the same was also shared at the event SID.  Carol Murianki of the CCK said they were planning to do more research so as to have a deeper understanding of how children use the internet.be the cop guide

Additionally, she urged attendees to use SMART rules:-

S-Set your limits

M-Meeting People Online/Friends Offline  (but exercise caution)

A-Accepting invitations/friendships  (choose wisely)

R- React (in the event that you are not comfortable)

T-Tell someone about your concerns (a teacher, a parent, or a trusted guardian)

“The Internet is not a bad thing, it Is your right as a child to get all the information you need. However, its your responsibility as well to use it wisely,” said Ms. Shola Sanni, the Policy Manager Africa GSAM.

Facebook, Watoto Watch Network and Media Smarts, also had an incredible pamphlet titled ‘Think before you share’ with some helpful tips on online sharing . Check out the Facebook Safety Center online for more safety tips.

‘Everyone should take more responsibility and control’-was a shared sentiment throughout the event.

The debate

The debate“Do you feel welcome online?” This was one of the most anticipated sessions and saw St. George’s opposing and Makini School supporting the above. Some of views brought up were cyber bullying, blackmailing, identity theft, pop-ups, internet costs among others.

The winner was St. George’s Primary School.

The panel discussion

The partners formed a panel discussion that answered the questions that the students had regarding safe internet usage. These included questions like;- ‘Why should people under thirteen years of age not use Facebook?’, How many days does it take to arrest a law breaker? How can you block someone bullying you? And even What does it take to be a Cyber Crime Officer.’Ebele Okobi of Facebook during the panel discussion

For questions well answered, various prizes were also handed out by the very lively MC Jonathan Nzuki. These included t-shirts, Facebook branded sunglasses, Safaricom gift hampers, flash disks, BINGWA Magazines, water-bottles, pens among others. Snacks and a delicious lunch was also served.

Your thoughts

thoughtsIrene Aruka, a Class 7 pupil at St. George’s Primary School said she especially loved the Q & A session as she learnt a lot from other people’s questions and the answers thereafter.

Bernard Ndegwa, a Class 4 pupil at Kilimani Primary School said he loved the debate, the music the DJ Was playing and the Q & A session.

Nicole Sisoh, a Class 6 pupil at Makini School loved the prizes given and the debate.

Lesson: Let’s play our part in creating a better internet for all today!

DID YOU KNOW: There are over 1.5 Billion people on Facebook today; if Facebook were a country, it would be the biggest in the world.