Child online protection launch in Kenya

ICT is seen as a tool to propel countries to knowledge economies.  In Kenya, 85.5% of the population use mobile phones (34.8 million mobile subscribers) and 71.7% have access to the internet (29.1 million users).

This reality has prompted the Communications Authority of Kenya to create the Child Online Protection Campaign, dubbed ‘BE THE COP’. The campaign seeks to provide consumers, especially children and youth, with information and skills to practice safe internet use and minimize exposure to risks and vulnerabilities. The campaign was launched on the 4 August 2015 at the Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA) 11th Annual Delegates Conference, attended by over 10,000 primary school head teachers.

The establishment of the Kenya Computer Incidence Response Team Coordination Centre (KE-CIRT/CC) has enabled the Communications Authority of Kenya to resolve cybercrime and to respond to criminal incidences experienced online. The Authority, a collaboration between government agencies and international organisations, has designated a section of the KE-CIRT to handle children’s complaints relating to cybercrime.

The campaign was developed in partnership with Childline Kenya, the Department of Children Services, Google, Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors, Kenya Film Classification Board, Kenya Girl Guides Association, Kenya Scouts Association, Plan International, Terre des Hommes, The Cradle, the GSMA, UNICEF and mobile operators Airtel, Orange and Safaricom.

The first phase of the campaign targets parents, guardians and teachers, with a view to increase their awareness of the dangers that exist online and inform them of how to encourage responsible internet usage. The campaign messages will be communicated to the target audience through major media platforms, publications, social media and a website.

After the launch of the Child Online Protection Campaign, consumer outreach activities will take place.  These will include advocacy through school ICT clubs, public lectures, regional consumer forums, motivational talks in schools and social media. As part of this initiative, the Authority shall advocate for the review and development of appropriate child online protection legislation and undertake annual research on this subject matter.

The Authority shall be developing a collaborative framework to address the various aspects of the child online protection initiative. The Authority calls to communication service providers, the GSMA and its members, to support this initiative by encouraging the development of technical solutions to encourage a safer internet experience along with the development of products, services and mechanisms that prevent access to information that is deemed to be harmful to children.