KFCB pledges support in fight against Online Child Sexual Exploitation

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has vowed to partner with Internet Service Providers and cybercafes to develop and implement industry-led commitments in combating  Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE).

This revelation was made yesterday during the launching of a survey report titled ‘The Dark Side of the Internet for Children’ by Terre des Hommes, a Netherland Non-Governmental Organisation committed to the protection of children against exploitation.

Officiating the ceremony was KFCB’s CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua who said that the board was honoured in partnering with other stakeholders in fighting OCSE, a vice which is feared to be on the increase in the country. One of Mutua’s tweets read:

The board, under Mutua’s leadership, has championed for restoration of morality in the country by addressing the issue from different platforms such as the crackdown on public service vehicles airing unrated content, the recent uproar following the TV airing of a condom advert on prime time among others, in a bid to safeguard children from harmful content.

Mutua  urged parents to be on the look out on what their children consume from the internet, in this era when usage of smartphones has made access to the internet much easier.

According to the survey,  Increased mobile phone penetration and internet access have given rise to a set of conditions that have made children more vulnerable to Online Child Sexual Exploitation.

“A report done by The Communications Authority of Kenya in  2015 indicated that mobile penetration in Kenya’s 44 million large population stands at around 88 per cent. Children in Kenya are uniquely positioned
to benefit from such digital advances.

“Their natural curiosity and interest in new technologies also means that children and young people often lead the way in the uptake of ICT progress ahead of adults, with youth being the most connected age group
worldwide (71 per cent)”, reveals the survey.

Another study by The Bloggers Association of Kenya in 2016  also established that young people perceived the risks and safety issues surrounding their digital and social media use in a mostly abstract, theoretical way rather than a highly likely or real threat.  The study showed that ” 24% of the 152 children interviewed accessed Internet several times a day, 25% once a day, 42% two to three times a week while 9% got access two to three times a month.

KFCBpointed out the need to regulate adult use of online space to safeguard children.

“Key forms of OCSE include sexting, online grooming, live online child sex exploitation and distribution of child sexual abuse  materials online,” indicated the survey report.

Some of the recommendations made by the report include the review and identification of gaps in existing legislation and regulations to ensure that OCSE is mainstreamed into the Kenyan law.

The Terre des Hommes report further called for strengthening of existing public referral mechanisms for Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to enable them monitor and report incidents of OCSE.

 

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