Learners should be introduced to cyber security and online safety guidelines early enough to ensure they get skills to forestall penetration of systems by criminals who are always seeking to compromise safeguards.
It has emerged that with the widespread internet availability in secondary and primary schools, hundreds of learners were sneaking smart phones to school and easily accessing dirty content especially in boarding schools.
Some parents in Embu County have blamed some teachers and other school staff members of revealing internet Wi-Fi connection passwords to students, some of them very young.
“Students have been surfing the net for dirty materials, sadly pornography in groups. We need investigations and a stop to this’’, said a parent from Manyatta constituency.
The parent called for strong passwords and frequent changes on the WI-FI access by students and strangers even in free Wi-Fi sites including night clubs and public places.
Cyber criminals apart from seeking to compromise security of financial resources could also interfere with reading materials and add wrong and unacceptable information hence interfering with curriculum set education content.
Such interfering, experts said could also aid ease of access to dirty materials innocently by children learners hence compromising their learning and education.
Children rights lawyers and experts insist that similar skills should also be accessible to parents and teachers under whose responsibility to provide gadgets and information to children and learners lies during the offer of online based lessons.
High Court advocate and children rights lawyer Mr. Lukas Matiko Chacha said online learning remained sensitive because it was being embraced without proper security and safety and mental health safeguards.
Few parents, he said were aware that the smart phones had systems through which filtering of dirty content access could be monitored and controlled or stopped all together.
Working with the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC), the lawyer has been operating nationwide clinics to educate pupils and students from school and colleges on online safety measures and safeguards under a program which started during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both the lawyers and the KELC Bishop Johnes Ole Meliyio have campaigned to ensure that that before children are exposed to internet connected smart phones, lab tops and desktops, they should be made aware of the good and the bad side of online content.
Students, Bishop Ole Meliyio has insisted should always be taught and guided to always utilize modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) among other modern gadgets for academic and social good and advancement but avoid dirty and negative content.
Mr. Chacha has firmly argued that misuse of ICT among the youth could cause failure in education while leading to immoral attributes.
‘’I will continued to insist that measures on online self-discipline are put in place to ensure safety and respect by all including teachers, parents, elders and youth’’, says the child rights activist.
Leading Cloud and Cyber security expert Mr. Sam Wambugu before allowing their children to access smart phones and go online, parents should gauge their level of independence and responsibility.
The children should be mature enough to handle responsibilities and demonstrate good judgment because handing the smart phone to a child too early brought risks of exposing them risks while too much restrictions may hinder the development.
Mr. Wambugu says that children should first be educated about digital citizenship, online safety and responsible device us with safety settings on gadgets, strong passwords and potential consequences of inappropriate online behavior.
The expert advices parents to establish clear guidelines, time limits, social media usage and content restrictions aligned with each family’s values. “Start with a basic model or a restricted device that only allows essential functions.
While parents should ensure restrain to limitless potentially harmful content and excessive screen time, they are also advised to use provided control tools available to safeguard safe online experience by use of parental control apps and software to restrain access to dirty content.
By Robert Nyagah
Get more stories from our website: Education News
To write to us or offer feedback, you can reach us through: email@example.com