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2017 SID: Facebook champions online security for Africa's children and youth

2017 SID: Facebook champions online security for Africa's children and youth

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Every February 7 is marked in over 100 countries around the world as ‘Safe Internet Day’ (SID) – an occasion set aside to promote a safer and more decent internet sphere. It has grown to become a key event on the online safety calendar.

Its main aim is to raise awareness on emerging online issues and annually chooses a topic reflecting contemporary challenges of the net.

2017 theme and Facebook Africa’s initiative

This year’s commemoration is under the theme, ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet,’ and Facebook has launched a series of initiatives to help make the information super highway safer particularly for African children and the youth.

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.

The social media giant’s involvement cuts across public sector and non-governmental organizations operating in the internet safety arena. Public Policy chief for Facebook, Africa empahsized their focus on safety for young users.

“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,” Akua Gyekye said in a statement released today.

Starting a global conversation and Facebook’s African partners

Facebook as part of SID is connecting over 100 countries to participate in conversations aimed at ensuring online safety. ‘‘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,’‘ a statement read.

To ensure the safety and education of their communities and address the needs of vulnerable people in Africa, Facebook is working with local partners such as:

  • Watoto Watch in Kenya (http://WatotoWatchNetwork.org)
  • The International Center for Leadership Development (http://ICLDNG.org) and the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre in Nigeria (www.W-TecOnline.org)
  • South Africa’s Film and Publication Board (www.FPB.org.za)
  • JOXAfrica Association in Senegal (http://APO.af/5xbshn)
  • Tech Women Zimbabwe (www.TechWomenZim.com)
  • J Initiative (http://JInitiative.org/blog/tag/ghana) and Ghana Internet Safety Foundation (www.GISF.org.gh) from Ghana

They are 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.