The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has launched a three-month awareness campaign to protect children and their digital footprint, as it steps up the advocacy on responsible use of 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 COP was launched in 2015 by the Authority as a platform for awareness creation on the safety of children online. The first phase targeted parents, teachers and other minders of children.

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.

He also added that, “Other than coming up with innovative ways to deal with cybercrime, we need to join hands in creating awareness on safe use of internet facilities. We need to empower our children, teachers and parents with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively guide children on the use of internet services.”

Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, the acting CA Director General indicated that the Authority in partnership with the Ministry of Education will review the Schools Safety Manuals to incorporate child online protection and encourage schools to develop and implement mechanism that would facilitate a safer online experience for learners. “We hope to work with all stakeholders concerned in order to achieve these objectives and create a better space for our children.”

The Authority is working with various partners, locally and internationally, in the COP programme.