The explosion of information and communication technology has created unprecedented opportunities for children and young people to communicate, connect, share, learn, access information and express their opinions on matters that affect their lives and their communities. But wider and more easily available access to the Internet and mobile technology also poses significant challenges to children’s safety – both online and offline. To reduce the risks of the digital revolution while enabling more children and young people to reap its benefits, governments, civil society, local communities, international organizations and the private sector must come together in common purpose.
The technology industry has a critical role to play in establishing the foundations for safer and more secure use of Internet based services and other technologies – for today’s children and future generations. Businesses must put protecting children at the heart of their work, paying special attention to protecting the privacy of young users’ personal data, preserving their right to freedom of expression, and putting systems in place to address violations of children’s rights when they occur. Where domestic laws have not yet caught up with international law, business has an opportunity – and the responsibility – to bring their business practices in line with those standards. (Guidelines for industry on child online protection, UNICEF 2015).
African children are faced with enormous challenges with regards to access and use of the internet with studies on child safety and security indicating that a quarter of African children with internet access are exposed to sexually explicit materials with only 24 percent of the children reporting such incidences.
Child online protection has become a global concern attracting several organizations like ITU, UNICEF, GSMA and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) leading to such organizations engaging in various campaigns as a way of creating awareness. Despite these efforts, there is a still a huge knowledge gap on how to address issues associated with Child Online Protection.