The proliferation of ICTs in the country is increasingly exposing children to various forms of cybercrime, the Chairman of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has said.
The crimes include cyber-bullying, sexual exploitation, child pornography and internet addiction.
Speaking today at an ICT consumer forum in Kwale County, Mr. Ngene Gituku said CA had, as a result, partnered with various stakeholders to implement mechanisms to safeguard children online safety.
“The Authority is implementing the second phase of the Child Online Protection campaign. Areas of focus include legislative framework, capacity building, research, local and international cooperation as well as public awareness to develop skills and knowledge in this area,” said Gituku.
The County ICT consumer forum, dubbed ‘Kikao Kikuu’, is a CA initiative aimed at sensitizing consumers of ICT services on their rights and responsibilities within the ICT environment. The event is hosted in partnership with county governments, and has to date been held in 11 counties since inception in 2014.
Mr Gituku said the Authority was in the process of implementing universal access projects to address communications gaps in various parts of the country.
“Kwale County is among those earmarked to benefit from the projects that will cover several sub-locations in the area with telecommunication voice services including Kasemeni, Kilimangodo, Mwandimu, Busa,Vigurungani, Kilibasi,” he added.
The CA Board chair announced that various schools in the county would also gain through the schoo-based broadband connectivity project including Kwale High, Tsimba Secondary, Golini Secondary, Waa Boys High, and Waa Girls Secondary. .
The Authority has also supported Kwale Community Centre library as part of efforts to enhance access to communications services in the county.
Addressing the forum ‘s participants at the Ukunda Show Ground, Kwale County Governor Mr. Salim Mvurya lauded CA for joining hands with county governments to create synergies for awareness creation on various issues of consumer interest, including safety of children in the virtual world.
“We have set out plans to improve communication systems and services through ICTs. It is our responsibility to ensure these systems and new technologies are safeguarded as the locals engage with them,” said Governor Mvurya.
Governor Mvurya said the county would leverage on such initiatives by the Authority as Kikao Kikuu to enlighten the citizens on safe Internet use as well as guidelines to protect susceptible sections of the population from the unforeseen risks online.
Majority of Kenyans access the Internet through their mobile phones. In Kenya, mobile subscriptions have now hit 39.7 million with the mobile penetration reaching 90 per cent.
According to CA statistics, Kenya had 37.7 Internet users as at June 2016, translating to a penetration rate of 85.3 per cent.
Besides the county ICT forums, the Authority is also devolving its services. It now has a regional office in Mombasa serving the six counties in the region including Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Lamu and another one in Eldoret serving 11 counties in the larger Western and North Rift regions.