Today is Safer Internet Day, which is an international event aimed at promoting safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people. Safaricom, the biggest telco in Kenya, hosted the event locally at their Micheal Joseph Center and the company expressed their dedication to providing safe access to the internet, especially for children.
“Access to a reliable and convenient internet has become a basic need for many Kenyans, therefore data has become an important revenue stream for us. But we are also aware of emerging online issues that affect our young ones such as online bullying and that is why Safer Internet Day is important to us,” said Steve Chege, Director Corporate Affairs- Safaricom.
Mr Steve Chege acknowledged that in this generation, children learn how to use phones and tablets before they can properly walk or talk. “Students use the internet to do research, complete their assignments. There are now online programs and courses available, which people can easily access, to study and get academic qualifications from the comfort of their homes,” added Mr Chege.
Parental Control Features
Safaricom called for clear policies by the government to provide guidance and leadership to industry players. Alongside this call, the company announced that they have been developing a parental control feature for their home internet offerings, that is, Safaricom Home Fibre, Big Box and the Safaricom Digital and Internet TV Box.
“This will allow them to have control over the devices including what sites each device can access and even when they can be connected to the internet. Eventually, we hope to roll this out for our mobile solutions as well,” said Mr Chege. “As part of the parental control feature, we plan to include a resource centre in our Home solutions that will equip parents with periodic and timely information on Child Online Safety,” he added.
Safaricom also said that they were working with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a Non-profit Organisation that works with other international entities to remove online sexual abuse content, to help them block sexual abuse content on their network.
“We all have a role to play in creating a safe internet environment for young people. As a parent it is up to us to ensure that we pay attention to how our children interact with the internet,” concluded Mr Steve Chege.