Facebook and Google announced Safer Internet programme for Africa on Tuesday, 11 February 2020. The social media and search engine giants respectively unveiled these initiatives on the Safer Internet Day celebrated with the theme, “Together for a better Internet.”
Facebook partnered with nine non-governmental organizations and government agencies across Sub-Saharan Africa. The NGOs include Watoto Watch Network, Paradigm Initiative, Child Online Africa, Youth First, Computing and Information Association, Asikan Network, Digify Africa, Phambano Technology Development Centre NPC, and Diana Schwarz Attorneys.
Through this partnership, Facebook is providing a driving awareness about the practices, resources, and tools used to protect online wellbeing. The artificial intelligence-enabled tools on Facebook and Instagram apps will be used to filter offensive comments and bullying. It will also provide resources for bullying and suicide prevention and social resolution.
Google also launched the “Be Internet Awesome Programme” to make the internet safer for children in Nigeria, South Africa, and the Netherlands. It announced a $1 million fund that will be used to support privacy, trust, and safety for minors using the internet. The funds will also be used to educate children on how to use the internet safely.
Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Google Africa’s Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, expressed Google’s commitment to a safe internet for children.
The curriculum is further broken down into five key themes:
- Be Internet KIND gives students the tools to fight cyberbullying and set a positive example.
- Be Internet SMART teaches students to share and communicate responsibly and thoughtfully in the digital world.
- Be Internet ALERT shows students how to identify scams and understand what’s real and what’s fake online.
- Be Internet STRONG helps students create strong passwords and secure information
- Be Internet BRAVE keeps the dialogue open between kids and adults when they encounter something iffy online.
Fortune also stated that services like Family Link and Password Checkup would be used to empower users to take control of their online safety. Be Internet Awesome teaches children and parents how to recognize potential online scams and to refrain from cyberbullying.
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