Think before you post

12 February 2019 | Education

Elizabeth Joseph

On the 5 February, Safe Internet Day (SID) was celebrated.

The event was held under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, with support from the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). It took place at the Chairman Mao Zedong High school.

Safer Internet Day has been celebrated globally since 2004 and aims to raise awareness of plaguing online issues, such as cyber-victimisation and identity theft.

Present was child welfare minister Lucia Witbooi, British high commissioner Kate Airey, UNICEF country representative, Rachel Odede, Paulus Lewin, chief education officer for programmes and quality assurance, and Nicolette Bessinger, the directior of Lifeline/Childine Namibia.

The objective of the celebration was to help educate children as well as parents about the dangers of social media and the use of the internet without proper precautions in place.

There was a panel discussion, moderated by Emma Theofelus, under the topic ‘Parental supervision vs access to information - an unsolved conflict?’

Among the panellists were Dr Veronica Theron who is the special advisor to first lady Monica Geingos, Tuna-Ombili Hanghombe and Junior Kapofi, who are students, and Sam Afrikaaner, who gave his views from the perspective of a parent.

“The internet can be a scary thing, and as a parent myself, I want my children to be protected at all costs. I, however, believe that forming a strong sense of trust and openness with your child is vital. This gives them the freedom as well as a platform to make you aware of any danger they might come across on the internet,” said Theron.

Afrikaaner felt differently. He said in his household, his children are not allowed to use the internet and have certain social media accounts, if he does not have their passwords.

Many parents are scared for their children and choose this route.

“Taking into consideration, the theme for this celebration which is ‘together for a better internet’ the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, as a custodian of child welfare and protection, is committed together with the stakeholders to promote better internet usage for our children. Teach your children about internet safety regularly and thoroughly,” Witbooi said.

UNICEF launched a campaign in which different schools took part in a video competition that compiled some of the advantages as well as disadvantages of the internet as a whole.

Caprivi Secondary School in the Zambezi Region walked away as the winners of the video competition.

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