BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
Save the Children programme manager Gloria Nyahuma yesterday urged the government to come up with a law that specifically protects children from manipulation while using internet platforms.
Speaking during a cyber-security workshop hosted by Save the Children and Zimbabwe Information Sharing and Analysis Centre, Nyahuma said children were vulnerable whenever they are online.
“We realise a gap in the Zimbabwean legal framework, where we do not have a piece of legislation that is very specific to children while online,” she said.
Nyahuma said protecting children in their online activities required the assistance of different stakeholders in order to, not only conscientise people on the dangers of online manipulation, but to come up with solutions that are sustainable in protecting children.
“Within the parent project, we realised that this is not an issue an organisation and a few government departments could address alone and, thus, we started to broaden the horizon by engaging other stakeholders and making sure we raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of children when they are online,” she said.
ICT, Postal and Courier Services deputy minister Jerifan Muswere said children surfing on the internet were vulnerable to different dangers from cyber-criminals, including kidnapping and child trafficking.
He said stakeholders needed to work collectively in establishing solutions that protected children.
“The recent publication on social networking indicates that most Zimbabweans, including children, utilise social media platforms. This leaves children exposing themselves on these social media platforms by sharing their real identities, emotions, locations and images of themselves,” Muswere.
“All this information could be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who could be targeting these young children and unknowingly, children can become the victims of pornography, kidnapping, rape, deception, drug abuse or even child trafficking by the adult perpetrators or cyber criminals.”
At the same workshop, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe ICT head Tichafa Mujuru reiterated the need for government to come up with legislation to protect children online