Hon Deputy Minister of ICT J Muswere

Ladies and Gentleman, Comrades and Friends

 I consider it a great honour and privilege for me to be in your midst at this important Cyber Security Public Lecture which is running under the theme “Child Online Safety”. This Public Lecture is one of the many events that have been lined up as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month that kicked off on 1 October 2019.

 Let me sincerely start by thanking Africa University for accepting our request to host this public lecture. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our distinguished speakers and all the participants who, with great dedication, are attending this public lecture today.

Today, we are living in a global village where information communication technology develops rapidly and through electronic communication. ICTs have opened a window for us to see and explore the wonderful world. With internet, we can now chat with family members, friends and relatives anywhere and also improve our work and run our businesses in a very convenient and efficient way. As we are aware the Internet is an ocean of knowledge, therefore, it is better to guide our young generation into this ocean as early as possible.

Nowadays, children are embracing the internet and technologies so well. The internet has become an integral part of their daily lives. Internet technology affords children access to vast amounts of valuable information and endless sources of entertainment. However, it also exposes children to certain dangers. For example, children may come into contact with demeaning, racist, sexist, violent, hateful or false information. They may also view pornographic web sites, SPAM (unsolicited emails) containing obscene material, file swapping programs with inappropriate and sometimes mislabeled content, and other types of material potentially inappropriate for a child. Most worrisome, children may encounter actual predators that use the Internet to identify and lure victims through chat rooms, instant messaging facilities, and social networking sites.

This is a worrying trend and is indeed a rising concern amongst the parents and teachers. We therefore have an obligation to protect our children. Online safety for children must be given a priority.

 I am happy to learn that today we have all the key stakeholders – the public and the private sectors, as well as the Civil Society, indeed all who are involved in this issue and gathered in this forum to discuss the most crucial issues in this decade on how to protect our children online.

 Most agree that protecting children requires a multi-pronged approach with parental or adult supervision as the key component. We also have a clear role to play. We need to address issues on policy changes, industry regulation, legislative needs as well as monitoring and educating the young people.

  As a Government, we are a signatory to Child Rights treaty bodies including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) for which protection is a key component.   The Constitution of Zimbabwe’s Children’s bill of rights also provides for protection of children from exploitation and abuse.

There is also need to intensify efforts in public awareness and interventions that target families and communities as they are environments in which children grow.

 

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Deputy Minister
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Hon.J.Muswere

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Keynote address by the Minister

Keynote address by the Minister of ICT Postal and Courier Services – National Cyber-Security Awareness .