• August 23rd, 2019
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Unicef calls for safer internet for all

Aletta Shikololo

WINDHOEK- Unicef representative in Namibia Rachel Odede has called on all stakeholders to join and play their part in creating a safer internet for all, particularly the youth who are vulnerable to online bullying. 

Speaking at the commemoration of the Safer Internet Day, which took place at the Chairman Mao Zedong School on Tuesday, Odede said Unicef and its partners aim to create awareness of emerging online issues. 

“This day is more befitting because we are all aware within the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, digital and ICT and more particularly affordable access to internet makes part of the UN’s priority list to end poverty, fight inequality, injustice and tackle climate change. This confirms the growing importance of the digitalisation of economies and societies as leverage for a country’s emergence, growth and inclusion,” underscored Odede.  

Odede also cited a recent Unicef poll of which young people from more than 160 countries participated which revealed that 70.6 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 years old, who are online globally are experiencing some form of online violence, cyberbullying and digital harassment. 

“This online proliferation comes with increased risk. According to Unesco on the prevalence of cyberbullying in high income countries, the proportion of children and adolescents who are affected by cyberbullying ranges from five percent to 21 percent with girls appearing to be more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys,” said Odede. 

Unicef invites all stakeholders to join in and engage with others in a respectful ways in order to ensure a better digital experience, said Odede. Research has shown that digital technologies can deliver economic opportunity by providing young people with training opportunities, job-matching services and by creating new kinds of work, she stated.
According to Odede, last year, Unicef supported the hosting of a national reporting portal for online child sexual abuse material. 

“We therefore call on everyone to use this portal and report any online abuse you see. We also urge parents and caregivers to monitor and supervise what their children are surfing on the internet,” Odede added. 

At the celebration, Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Lucia Witbooi, requested parents to set boundaries for children using new technology, in the same way they have always set boundaries for their children’s upbringing and for teachers and principals to teach learners about the internet safety regularly. 

“The logic behind this is that we do not want children being exposed to unacceptable risks online from bullying, grooming and harmful content,” Witbooi further stated. 
This year’s Safer Internet Day has celebrated 30 years after the adoption of the convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of the World Wide Web.  

New Era Reporter
2019-02-07 10:01:47 6 months ago

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