By Mercy Akankunda
This month, the African child day was celebrated with a theme of being “The rights of a child in the digital environment”, It is important to note that the world has become increasingly digital, and Uganda is no exception.
The technological advancements in recent years have revolutionized 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, Labor, 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 programs 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.
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Mercy Akankunda firstname.lastname@example.org