Promoting Child Online Safety
The internet has touched all aspects of human interaction and as a result, we are now literally a global village.The buzz phrase to describe this transformation is the ‘information age.’
Exciting and new ways of accessing information for learning and collaboration for our children now exist.
Whereas, the internet was designed for good, there are negative actors who are intent on using it for harm through cyber-crime and even scarier are those that use it to target children.
Uganda has addressed this threat through the establishment of the Computer Misuse Act (2011) that clearly criminalizes child online sexual exploitation. This scope covers any person who participates in the development, sharing, transmission or storage of child sexual abuse material.
In addition, the National Information Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U) in collaboration with the Internet Society Uganda Chapter led to the development of an Online Safety Education Toolkit as a useful and convenient learning resource for children and youth on how best to stay safe online in their daily use of the internet.
Similarly, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government created an Inter-agency working group to raise awareness towards the promotion of child online safety supported by UNICEF.
This has led to the development of a Child Online Protection Hand book that serves as the basic reference authority on issues of managing and prevention of On-Line Child Sexual Abuse in Uganda.
It also contains references on where to report child online sexual abuse and to seek assistance.
Globally, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organisation working with Governments and industry is at the helm of removing online images of child sexual abuse material as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Through NITA-U, there is an active reporting portal for Uganda with the IWF where such abusive material can be reported for further action and take down via: https://report.iwf.org/uk
Raising awareness across policy makers, parents, teachers, teenagers and schools is part and parcel of the drive to make the internet a safer place where children can collaborate, learn and grow without fear of abuse of their rights, loss of their privacy or dignity.
The month of February, has been earmarked globally for increasing awareness across all stakeholder groups. We all have an obligation to ‘be the change and unite for a better internet.’
Reference: a) E-Safety Educational Toolkit:- http://www.nita.go.ug/media/online-e-safety-educational-toolkit-young-pe...
b) About the Child Online Sexual Abuse Reporting Page:- http://www.cert.ug/article/child-sexual-abuse-reporting-page-csarp-%E2%8...
c) Safer Internet Day:- https://www.saferinternet.org.uk