19 Sep 2019 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 19 SEP (NAMPA) The use of the internet amongst minors requires strong E-governance frameworks that would protect children from harm, as a vulnerable group who make up a considerable number of its users.
This was said by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative to Namibia, Rachel Odede, in a speech read on her behalf at the launch of two training manuals during the National Conference on Child Protection which commenced here on Wednesday.
She explained that when the convention of the rights of the child was agreed upon 30 years ago, the internet was not available, but it has since become the most widely used form of communication.
She cautioned that the use of information and communication technology should be done in the safest way possible, saying children should be protected as wide access to the internet poses a danger to them.
They are exposed to the risks of being subjected to sexual harassment, child trafficking, sexual violence and child pornography, she added.
The country representative pointed out that the number and ratio of children connected to the internet is expected to grow in line with global trends and children should, therefore, be protected in line with the principles laid out at the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Research by UNICEF in collaboration with the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and the Namibia University of Science and Technology in 2016, shows that one-third of children under the age of 18 are connected to the internet and this poses a challenge for law enforcement to monitor their safety on various online platforms, Odede said.
The training manuals include one for educators in Namibia titled, Responding to Sexual Violence in Schools and another titled, The Child Witness, for the judicial system.
The conference is held under the theme, National Conference on Child Online Protection: Continuing the fight against child exploitation and abuse and is attended by officials from the ministries of education, arts and culture, gender equality and child welfare, justice and the office of the ombudsman.
It ends on Thursday.