Macra almost through with child online protection strategy

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) says it is almost through with the child online protection strategy aimed at protecting children from different forms of abuse as they use the internet.

This was disclosed at a consultation workshop that took place at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel where learners from a number of secondary schools in the northern region together with their teachers were involved.

Some stakeholders during the workshop

Research shows that half of Malawi’s population comprises children and some of them use the internet and in so doing get exposed to different forms of abuse.

Innocent Sanudi, a 15-year-old Form 2 student from Mzuzu Government Secondary School, said it was important for government to see to it that children are receiving information that is suitable for their age on the internet.

“It is important that children get messages or material that is suitable for their age. Adult material should not be accessed by children. Sometimes as a child you may be forced to do something you never intended to do but just because it has been sent to you via the internet,” Sanudi said.

Boniface Mandele from an organisation called Article III added that the social media has fuelled more abuses that children encounter through the internet.

“We need to put measures in place that will help children to get the information they need from the internet but at the same time be protected from any form of abuse. If we fail to work on this today, it will be difficult for future generations to understand the importance of the internet,” Mandele explained.

MACRA Board member, Stella Tchuthi, said many children are not aware of a law that is there to protect them from forms of abuse through the internet.

“We decided to embark on this strategy so that we can orient the children together with their teachers, parents and other stakeholders on this issue. We believe this is the way to go in protecting our children,” remarked Tchuthi.

4 million Malawians use the internet out of the current total population of 20,562,020.

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