Google recently launched a child online safety programme, Be Internet Awesome in South Africa, the Netherlands and Nigeria. In support of the programme,Google announced a $1m pan-AfricanGoogle.org fund to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and safety for families online across sub-Saharan Africa. Funding applications will be requested through an open call and the fund will be administered by a partner in South Africa.
Be Internet Awesome seeks to help minors explore the internet safely and confidently, while theGoogle.org grant will provide funding to help develop further programmes that aim to do this, forchildren and their families. The programme will teach kids important skills for surfing the internet, like
how to recognise potential online scams, using the internet securely and safeguarding valuableinformation, how to identify and refrain from cyberbullying, as well as what to do when coming across
questionable content on the internet.
According to Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Head of public policy and government relations at Google Africa,“Children are being exposed to the internet at their most vulnerable age so it’s important for us, at
Google, to ensure that they do so as safely as possible. At the same time, teachers and parents can usethese resources in order to support and guide children as they navigate the Web,”.
Google has worked with the South African Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a key policy partner inimplementing the programme locally.
” FPB has a responsibility to protect children from exposure to
harmful content, thus the organization needs to play a leading role in creating awareness around thedangers of the internet, as much as it is incumbent on us to also encourage the use of the digital space
as an empowering tool,” says Abongile Mashele, Acting Chief Executive Office of FPB.
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