The Communications Authority has partnered with Google Africa to launch a  booklet that teaches families and teachers how to keep their kids safe on the online space as well as the be internet awesome site. This was during the Safer Internet Day celebrations.

The Safer Internet Day seeks to promote safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation on the same. This year’s theme was “Together for a better Internet.”

The booklet and the site are meant to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so as to enable them explore the online world with confidence. This is due to the fact that unsupervised use of the online platform poses a major risk to the emotional and psychological well-being and development of minors.

In a response to this vulnerability of children online, the Communications Authority has been running the Child Online Protection (COP) awareness campaign. The aim of the campaign, in its first phase, was to empower parents and other guardians with the requisite knowledge and skills to deal with the vulnerabilities and risks that children face online.

With the technological advancement and the digitization of the educational curriculum and learning, the interaction of kids with the online space has increased dramatically. This is at a time when criminal activities online are growing at an alarming rate. As such, we need to do all we can so as to be able to safeguard our children as they are vulnerable.

Currently, there are more than 52.2 million mobile subscribers representing 109 per cent of the population. By the first quarter of this financial year, the country had 49.9 million Internet users, the bulk of whom (99%) access the service through their mobile phones.

This wide availability of the net means that children are increasingly exposed to cybercrime. Unknown to many parents, children are constant victims of cyber bullying, online sexual harassment, with many even exposed to sexually explicit materials and online stalking, among other vices. The anonymity of social media also make it easier for unscrupulous people to target young teens and engage them in harmful conversations. It is also easy for predators to pose as teens and lure children into harmful real-world contact as well. Identity theft is yet another risk, this can occur when teens share their photos and personal data including their name, date of birth and location, etc.

To counter this, the CA through the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team – Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC) has brought so far down a number social media accounts using images of children as their profile pictures to protect the affected children. Also, in a bid to curtail child pornography, the National KE-CIRT/CC has partnered with other agencies nationally and globally to ensure circulation of such content is blocked and the sources traced for further prosecution. The Authority has a team of experts working on a 24/7 schedule to monitor and respond on cases of abuse of children online and subsequent exploitation. The team provides digital forensic examination of exhibits to the National Police Service and other law enforcement agencies to ensure successful prosecution of such offenders.