Friday, March 5, 2021

Unisa initiative to equip school-children and parents about cyberspace


The Internet is a vast source of information, some good and some of it can be bad for children who often surf the net in the absence of their guardians. This prompts parents and guardians to be vigilant about the many dangers this access poses for their children.

“We have seen a definite shift in the cybersecurity space over the past five years, in particular, More devices are connected to the internet than ever before. And from a young age, children are becoming addicted to technology and being online” said Professor Elmarie Kritzinger, founding member and Project Leader of Cyber Security Awareness Community Engagement Project.

In a bid to make sure that children are safe, Unisa has embarked on an initiative to equip school-children and guardians with information on how to operate safely in cyberspace.

The university launched the project to educate children about the risks involved in using information and communication technology (ICT) and educate different role players (for example teachers, parents and caregivers) about their role and responsibility with regard to protecting and monitoring children’s activities on the internet.

This project is targeted at Government Schools, and Community-based NGOs and promotes cyber awareness at national and international conferences and workshops. It enhances national and international collaboration with experts within the field. It develops and distributes relevant cyber awareness material to schools. They present open days and workshops to enhance a cyber-awareness culture.

Kritzinger said that educating parents and teachers is a key area of focus because often children are more technologically advanced than their guardians. “Teachers and parents feel inadequate and do not have the training or knowledge to monitor what their children are doing. It is vitally important to give them the right tools so that they can play a role in educating their children about significant risks such as cyberbullying and exploitation,” concluded the Professor.

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