Authorities in Mzimba Calls for Increased Awareness to SafeGuard Children Against Online Abuse
Mzimba South district social welfare office has urged parents to closely monitor their children's use of cyber spaces to ensure that they are not prone to online abuse.
Speaking during the commemoration of the Day of the African Child at Emthuzini in the area of Inkosi Mmbelwa , Mzimba south district social welfare officer Bernard Nangwale said though the digital era has ushered in a lot of opportunities in education the internet is also the hub of cyber burying and other issues that can affect children negatively.
Said Nangwale " We have noticed that some children are subjected to some material which is not suitable to their ages, like burying online and are also subjected to pornographic material so we feel parents have a role to play in terms of monitoring so that our children are not being abused"
Nangwale urged stakeholders to improve on programming so that they include digital illiteracy to enhance awareness on the positive and negative effects of cyber spaces.
Said Nangwale "Social workers and others need to have skills in terms of investigating such online abuses, as a district we have very little interventions in digital literacy hence we are calling on all stakeholders to include digital literacy in their programing so that we raise awareness on how children can be protected from such abuses."
He conceded that some marriages are being arranged online using WhatsApp especially in the district where a lot of youths migrate to South Africa.
Said Nangwale " most of the youths here migrate to south Africa and some marriages are arranged online and most of the times these people arrange marriages for their children without them seeing each other hence this may also result into abuses."
Nangwale said as Mmbelwa district council with support from partners they are geared to up their awareness on digital literacy to end such abuses.
Inkosi Kampingo Sibande echoed similar sentiments saying there is need to protect children from online material which is not relevant to their ages if they are to focus on education.
Said Inkosi Kampingo Sibande " The internet is good especially in generating information and promoting education but somehow usage is being abused as sometimes others use it to bury others or abuse children hence as parents and other stakeholders we need to guard our children against such abuse."
The commemorations under the theme 'The rights of the child under the digital environment' was financially supported by Save the children Malawi, ST John of God, ECD and Education departments of the CCAP synod of livingstonia and Mzimba Youth Organization(MYO).