Safer Internet Day 2023: Children’s privacy in the age of social media

For the Fourth time ,Internet Society Rwanda Chapter (ISOC Rwanda) through Rwanda SaferInternet Day Committee in partnership with Bugesera district celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) 2023 to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people.

This year edition held at GS Nyirarukobwa located in Ntarama Sector on 07 February 2023 under the theme “Children’s privacy in the age of social media” and has brought together children, youth, parents, teachers, civil society, faith-based organisations, industry representatives, experts, policy makers, researchers, and media representatives among other relevant actors.

In his welcome note, Theophile Nkundingabo,Head teachers of GS Nyirarukobwa highlighted how celebrations of Safer Internet Day has helped the school to use the Internet responsibly to improve teaching and learning outcomes as well as helping the school surrounding community through awareness campaign conducted each year since 2020.

“In partnership with internet Society Rwanda Chapter, we Started to celebrate this day in 2020 during Covid-19. Parents and children use internet, we mobilised them to understand what the internet is and how it can be used responsibly with respect to children safety,” Nkundingabo said.

Theophile Nkundingabo,Head teachers of GS Nyirarukobwa

Emmanuel Mfitumukiza, Chairperson of Internet Society Rwanda Chapter explained that Safer Internet Day aims at raising awareness of the importance of both a safer and better Internet where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

He requested parents and the general community of internet users to avoid posting on social media kinds of information that are not in children’s benefits and wellbeing.

“We encourage parents to use internet and strive for children’s rights and safety. Protecting a child is a responsibility of a parent, but it does not mean to deprive him/her from his/her rights, a child has right on internet, but he/she should be protected from harmful information. We want internet to be a good infrastructure of people to improve lives,” Mfitumukiza said.

He further evoked that parents are the main actors that play a crucial role in empowering and supporting children to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively, whether it is by ensuring an open dialogue with their children, educating them to use technology safely and positively, or by acting as digital role models.

Emmanuel Mfitumukiza, Chairperson of ISOC Rwanda

On behalf of the parents that have children at G.S Nyirarukobwa, Eliab Nkurikiyimana said that celebration of Safer Internet Day means a lot in the lives of the communities surrounding the school and for children in particular. we ( parents ) have a responsibility to tell other parents that everyone needs to use internet to know information for the progress of children’s welfare and development of the family,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of faith-based organizations, Pastor Etienne Bizimungu, advised children to have discipline when using internet and in their current life in order to succeed and achieve their potentials in their future careers.

Pastor Etienne Bizimungu, EAR

Jacques Gashumba, Director of Education in Bugesera District said: “Safer Internet Day is important for us, we meet parents, teachers, headteachers and students and we discuss the role of the internet and technology in schools. Internet is a good infrastructure that spread knowledge in different ways, but it can harm children and other users if not used properly, parents should guide children and tell them to use internet to learn good things and avoid bad contents that undermine their lives,”

He reminded parents to talk to their children and tell them that they are the ones to take care of their safety. “Parents must consult what children are doing in their rooms at home when doing homework and check if they are not watching harmful information,” he added.

Jacques Gashumba, Director of Education in Bugesera District

During the event, 4 winners of the school-based scratch programming competition were awarded.

Rwema Murema Sadako, 11, a student of primary five at G.S Nyirarukobwa was awarded for her outstanding project of fighting school dropout.
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