The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in conjunction with giant telecommunication companies has launched an online portal to provide online safety tips for children and guardians.
The authority together with the telecommunication companies Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecommunication Ltd and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), launched the interactive portal with the aim of creating a safer online environment for children.
Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya disclosed that the microsite is inclusive of a gaming component that enables both the young and the young at heart to measure their level of awareness on online risks such as cyberbullying, identity theft and online sexual harassment.
The increased cyber-threats recorded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which created a new frontier for cybercriminals necessitated the creation of the platform.
Mrs Wanjau said the public would use the 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.
A December 2020 statistical report by CA of Kenya revealed that the National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (KE-CIRT/CC) detected more than 56 million cyber threats in the country with a majority of the threats as 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.
The ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru urged the authority to boost its detection and monitoring capacity to extenuate the risk of possible increase of cyber crime in the country in the lead up to the upcoming BBI referendum and the 2022 general elections.
“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,” the ICT Cabinet Secretary said.
He further commended the authority for working with other stakeholders to create a safer online environment and adjured them to liaise with relevant state agencies and private sector players to manage escalating cases of cybercrime.
Stephen Chege, Safaricom’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer highlighted: “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 to consistently enhance safety and availability of the internet, as well as other pertinent challenges facing the industry,” he said on behalf of the ‘We Care Initiative’.