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Africa rallies in support of Safer Internet Day

By , ITWeb
Africa , 07 Feb 2018

Africa rallies in support of Safer Internet Day

Facebook has announced partnerships with over 20 non-governmental organisations and official agencies from the DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in support of Safer Internet Day (SID) marked on 6 February.

SID advocates making the internet safer, particularly for the youth, and is organised by the joint Insafe-INHOPE network with the support of the European Commission and funded by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF).

This year's theme was Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you, and several companies, including Facebook and Google, committed to partnerships with organisations in support of the cause.

Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager at Facebook, Africa said, "Every day, millions of people across Africa come to Facebook to talk about their special moments and to stay connected with the people they care about. We recognise the important role we play in creating a better and safer online community for all"

Hans Martens, Digital Citizenship Programme Manager at European Schoolnet and Coordinator of the Insafe network said SID is a key opportunity to amplify its message of safer internet use.

"Children and young people have a right to enjoy and benefit from all the positives that digital technologies offer, they also have certain responsibilities, as indeed do all those who support them in their online experiences."

Google partnered with SA's Film and Publications Board (FPB), a content-classification and censorship authority in South Africa, to make users aware of healthy internet habits. The search engine also published a blog post reminding users of some of its new online safety tools including Google Play Protect and Safe Browsing.

Suitable day

Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Public Policy Manager at Google South Africa said, "We know how powerful a learning tool the internet can be when used correctly. But in order to get full value out of it, young people must be able to use the internet safely."

Stephan Micklitz, Google's Director of Engineering said, "We are committed to making the internet a better, safe place for everyone."

ITWeb reported that Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) launched its 2018 Web Rangers programme this week, which brings together civil society, children, educators, government and the private sector to promote online safety and positive use of the Internet. MMA has partnered with Google, the FPB, Facebook, PPM Attorneys, MTN and Digital You on the programme.

Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said SID is a suitable day to reflect upon how the internet is a tool for peace, freedom of speech and for economic prosperity. He said the internet is an instrument that is bringing the world closer together, however, along with the tremendous benefits come risks.

Fedotov says some of the most popular internet crimes include Sextortion, when self-generated sexual images are used to extort, and non-consensual sharing of intimate images, "which cause real harm every day around the world."

"On Safer Internet Day, we can make an invaluable contribution to sustainable development through the creation of a safe, just, open society for our children. The internet is a tool for peace and we must all work tirelessly to make it safe for successive generations," he added.

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