Today is Safer Internet Day (SID) and social media site Facebook has launched a series of initiatives to help make the Internet a safer and better place for people across Africa, especially children and the youth. Facebook is partnering with public sector agencies and non-governmental organisations from across Africa under the rallying call “Be the change: unite for a better Internet”.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people who use Facebook. Every day people come to Facebook to connect with people and issues they care about, and they should be able to do so in a safe, secure environment,” says Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager Facebook, Africa.
Over 100 countries are participating in an effort to start conversations and help people think about the small steps they can take to stay safe online. The initiative is coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe and beyond.
In Africa, Facebook is working with several partners, providing financial and marketing support for them to use to raise awareness about online safety. Facebook is also hosting an event in Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya to promote the importance of online safety to students, teachers, parents and policymakers.
Everyone has a part to play
Gyekye says: “This is an opportunity to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community. We are proud to work with young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, and policymakers to create a better Internet.”
Facebook has redesigned its Safety Center, an engaging resource to help people get the information they need about controlling their information and staying safe. It walks you through the tools Facebook offers to control your experience as well as numerous tips and resources for safe and secure sharing. It is available in over 50 languages, is mobile friendly and includes step-by-step videos.
“As more Zimbabwean women and girls go online to take advantage of the immense opportunities the internet offers, they empower themselves with knowledge, education and connections with others,” says Techwomen Zimbabwe’s Founder, Aretha Mare. “We are determined to break down barriers to the Internet for women and girls so they can maximise the benefits of the Internet – and that includes tackling challenges such as online harassment and bullying.”
“We are passionate advocates for a safe Internet for young people and children, so we are pleased that Facebook embraces its responsibility to keep people safe on its platform,” says Awo Aidam Amenyah, Executive Director at JI Initiative. “We are pleased to work with Facebook to promote positive online experiences for everyone.”
“It is important to have conversations early and often about how inappropriate content on the Internet may affect children,” says Janine Raftopoulos, Manager Communications and Public Education South Africa’s Film & Publications Board (FPB). “Parents, educators, guardians and industry all have a part to play in ensuring that children understand how to stay safe online.”