, NAIROBI Kenya, Sept 13 – The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is formulating policies to curb the rising rate of Internet crime.
The Commission’s Secretary, John Omo said there is an increase in the use of Internet mostly by the youth without awareness of its risks and opportunities.
A new survey conducted in Kenya by UNICEF pointed to rising cases of cyber bullying, defamation and hateful online content as some of the cases of cyber crime reported in the country.
The report further shows that use of Internet has created a gap between children and parents because of the low digital knowledge among parents which presents challenges for online safety.
“When probed about privacy, many children and young people stated techniques they use to hide their digital and social media behaviour from parents and teachers,” the report reads.
UNICEF Kenya representative Marcel Rudasingwa said; “It is worth noting that academic research on children’s internet use has shown that distinctions between negative and positive aspects are blurry.”
The report attributes the high rate of Internet use to high access to digital devices and technology among persons within this age group.
Omo however said as a result of the report showing majority of young persons not aware of the dangers associated with use of internet, the government intends to block some sites that may have bad content.
“We want to get that information and take it to various government and non governmental agencies. This will help us get those people who use internet in the wrong way and be taken to relevant enforcing authorities.”
Cyber crimes are where persons use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour which is intended to harm another or others.
It can also be use of Internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or text messaging with the intention of harming another person.
Examples of what constitutes cyber bullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient.
The report indicates that most of the young people only have an abstract sense of risks and safety issues surrounding their digital and social media use.
“This means that most of them think that repercussions of risky behaviours only happen to other people while others do not think meeting online friends or suggestive self exposure may be risky,” the report notes.
“While they may be interested to learn digital safety, they prefer to learn from their peers and do not believe their parents possess the necessary information or skills to inform them.”
Rudasingwa added that, “I urge the young people in this country even as they freely navigate this digital world, they should balance this freedom with responsibility.”
The report recommends that an online and offline digital safety campaign be initiated to help those using internet tap the massive opportunities presented.