Kenyan edutainment firm Akili Network has launched a campaign to protect children from cyber threats.
Through a new film production titled ‘Flash Squad’, the company will teach young people aged between 10 and 19 on the dangers of cybercriminals in languages they understand better as well as characters they know well.
The training will cover diverse topics including trolling, phishing, cyberbullying, mobile money fraud and protecting online identities.
Akili Network President Jesse Solei said the children and youth falling under this group are impressionable and should not be left to their own devices in a virtual world where criminals are on the prowl.
Cyber-criminals, Solei stated, target young people due to their naivety when using smartphones and computers.
“The rate at which the teens access the internet is rising. We need to ensure that they know what to do to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals in case they are attacked or encounter a possible bad actor,” he said.
While the internet offers significant opportunities for children and youth to access information, deepen and widen their social networks as well as express press themselves and put their talents into action, the lack of watertight protection against cyber criminals is a cause for concern.
Parents, communities, and governments are concerned about children going online mainly because moderating and curating their online experiences remains a major challenge.
Solei noted that young people, particularly those in high school, are increasingly becoming digital natives “at an exponential rate” and the onus lay on parents, teachers and guardians to ensure these young people browse the internet safely.
“There is a major gap in Kenya when it comes to addressing teenagers as they tend to have a disparate relationship with their parents,” said Solei adding that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed many children to the internet earlier than expected as schools adopted remote learning.