By Dipo Olowookere
Social media giant, Facebook, has teamed up with its partners across Africa to provide safer internet for users on the continent.
This is part of efforts to mark the Safer Internet Day (SID) under the connected theme of ‘Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you.’
Facebook announced a number of partnerships across Africa with over 20 non-governmental organisations and government agencies-with the aim of raising awareness of emerging online issues and helping to explore ways to make the Internet safer for all.
Launching a series of initiatives, including a specially created family-friendly animation, which directs viewers to the Parent Portal in the Facebook Safety Centre, parents and caregivers can access a variety of information and tips on how to discuss issues of online safety with teens, developed in partnership with safety experts from around the world.
Part of these resources are the Facebook Safety Centre (mobile friendly and available in over 50 languages, including step-by-step instructional videos); the Parent Portal; local resources for parents, teachers and caregivers; bullying prevention hub with advice for teens, parents and educators looking for support and help for issues related to bullying; practical advice in Online Wellbeing; and tools on how to control user experience.
Commenting on Facebook’s work as part of Safer Internet Day, Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager 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 recognize the important role we play in creating a better and safer online community for all, with this year’s growing partnerships across the continent further demonstrating our ongoing commitment to supporting organisations that raise awareness on these important issues.”
This year in Africa, Facebook is working with partners such as: Rudi International, Internet Society – Uganda Chapter, Watoto Watch in Kenya, Malawi Internet Governance Forum, Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre in Nigeria, South Africa’s Film and Publication Board, JOXAfrica Association in Senegal, Tech Women Zimbabwe, as well as the J Initiative in Ghana to address the needs and ongoing education of various communities.
Watoto Watch Network in Kenya
“In connection with the theme ‘create, connect and share respect’, our focus this year is on cyberbullying. We’re working with Facebook to share messages that encourage positivity and respect on social media,” says Lillian Kariuki, Executive Director at Watoto Watch Network. “On Safer Internet Day we will also be sharing Facebook’s newly translated (Swahili) online safety content directly to the children and ICT partners in Kenya.”
JI Initiative: Ghana
“Our main priority at JI Initiative is to ensure digital citizens especially children and young people are responsible in their use of the space. Resources and materials provided by Facebook as a partner help to empower our audience in Ghana on how to make the Internet better. We will continue to work hard in educating people to become good digital citizens” says Awo Aidam Amenyah, Executive Director at JI Initiative.
Rudi International: Democratic Republic of Congo
“We are spearheading the drive to promote a safe and better Internet environment in DRC,” says Arsene Tungali, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Rudi International. “Partnerships with organisations such as Facebook are key in our efforts to harness the positive impact of technology for DRC’s young people.”
“We believe in the positive uses of technology and are happy to play a role in helping to create a better, safer and more productive online community,” says Adeyemi Odutola, Communications Officer at W.TEC. “Safer Internet Day is a great way to create a global conversation about how we make the Internet work better for everyone, especially girls and women.”
Film and Publication Board: South Africa
“Parents, educators, guardians and industry must all be part of the conversation about keeping children online safe,” says Manala Botolo, Acting Manager Communications and Public Education at the Film and Publication Board. “Addressing challenges such as inappropriate content and cyberbullying demands partnership and cooperation between everyone involved in creating and consuming online content.”
Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over 100 countries and coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres globally. SID calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement agencies, companies and policymakers to join together in helping to create a better internet.
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