Digital media use among young people has been proven to expand their critical and creative thinking skills, increase their motivation and self-esteem as well as help them develop skills needed for the modern world. As schools progressively incorporate technology into their curricula, its high time we ensured a safe online environment where young people explored the world safely and contributed in creating useful content to better serve the needs of the 21st century.
But the question still lingers, how do we ensure that young people who have been raised on technology in the Information age are safe while using the internet?
Early this year, Global Peace Foundation Kenya entered into partnership with Google Kenya to empower youth in high schools with knowledge, skills, attitude, values and tools to become digital leaders, beyond being responsible digital citizens. This was through a “Child Online Safety Campaign” that entails a whole curriculum on child online safety for both teachers and students. The campaign targets high school youth who participate in Global Peace Education’s – a division of Global Peace Foundation – Leadership and Entrepreneurship Hubs (LEAP Hubs) and Character and Creativity (CCI) programs as well as other schools.
Ms. June Metho, a facilitator training students on Child Online Safety during one of the sessions.
Sponsored by Google Kenya, the campaign was officially lunched by the Executive Director, Center for Mathematics Science and Technology in Africa (CEMASTEA) Mr. Stephen Njoroge at Ngara Girls High School in November 2015. This marked the beginning of a campaign that would see over 3000 students from 22 counties benefit from skills that would enable them build positive digital footprints. The launch was attended by over 100 students and teachers from different schools in Nairobi and its environs among them Brook House International School, Mangu Boys High School, Moi Forces Academy Embakasi Girls High School and others.
The this end, the campaign has been conducted in different schools from various counties among them Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale Counties with plans underway to scale up to more schools in other counties. Over 2300 students and teachers have also benefited on online safety training, which is estimated 50% of the target number.