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Prioritise children’s rights to promote their safety in digital environment | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


OPINION

By Mercy Akankunda

Last month, the African child day was celebrated under the theme: The rights of a child in the digital environment.

It is important to note that the world has become increasingly digital.

The technological advancements in recent years have revolutionised the way children interact with the world, with instant access to information tools at their fingertips.

However, these technological advancements have also brought forth a unique set of challenges regarding child protection and their rights online.

While digital platforms provide exciting opportunities for children such as access to information, communication with loved ones and remote learning, they also expose them to several risks such as online abuse, pornography, cyber bullying and exploitation, hence increasing the number of mental health and depression among the youth and, therefore, in Uganda there are several measures that can be adopted to promote child safety and rights in the digital environment.

First and foremost, government institutions should establish policies that safeguard children’s digital rights.

This can be achieved through awareness campaigns and technical support to parents, teachers and children. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development should work with different stakeholders to enact laws and regulations that protect children’s online privacy and prohibit online child sexual abuse.

Also, there is a need to invest in digital education. Introducing digital literacy programmes in early childhood development can help children learn the appropriate use of the Internet and social media. Additionally, teachers must be equipped with knowledge on digital safety to guide children on how to navigate safely through the Internet.

Moreover, there is a need to empower parents, guardians and caregivers with digital skills to teach their children about digital behaviour and safety. Parents and others significant in a child’s life can help monitor their activities online and protect them from potential predators.

Furthermore, partnerships with telecommunication operators and internet service providers can play a crucial role in promoting child safety. Telecommunications companies can take the initiative to block inappropriate content and offer parental control and internet filtering tools to their subscribers. They could also provide online safety tips and advice to parents and children.

Collaboration with child protection organisations and NGOs can be a valuable approach in promoting child rights in the digital environment. Such organisations can launch campaigns and outreach programmes that raise awareness of the risks associated with the digital environment and how to handle them.

The Government should work with stakeholders and the public to emphasise on the rights of children in the digital world.

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