In todays fast paced digital world, it has become the norm for people (adults and children alike) to spend hours online. For some it has developed into addiction and anti-social tendencies. The question is – what are they doing and what are other people doing to them and how? The even BIGGER question is – are we and our children safe and from what dangers?
Well, Safer Schools, in collaboration with the Film and Publication Board (FPB) have come up with a brilliant initiative called Safer Internet South Africa (SISA). This is a digital literacy programme at heart, aiming to make a difference in the lives of all South Africans. It aims to create a safer Media experience for all, especially children, who are the most vulnerable when it comes to the abuse of digital.
Today, we witness many cases of cyber-bullying, child-porn, hate speech, stalking, identity theft, inappropriate exposure, violent content and a lot of other damaging consequences. The SISA initiative was thus born out of the need to educate children and their custodians, including parents, teachers and religious leaders, about the risks that their children and even peers face if they are not fully educated about the dangers of reckless online activity and leaving a digital footprint.
SISA does not aim to discredit Social networks but only seeks to protect citizens from their abuse. For example: Did you know that 130 Million Facebook users could be fake? These are some of the people we interact with every day and another alarming statistic is that children as young as 11 post an average of 26 times a day and attract 100 followers to every one of their profiles – yet six out of 10 of them are not real friends.
This exposes kids and even vulnerable adults to stalkers, kidnappers, rapists and all sorts of criminals. SISA give tips on how to safely use each Social media platform, what personal information not to publish, as well as tips for parenting in terms of rules and regulations about digital use. There is also information about Parental control software that simply bars children or spouses from certain online activities.
SISA is helping to make the world a better place because of its role, especially in our children’s lives and the fact that the future lies in today’s children. Once you destroy the morality and confidence of the next generation, then you destroy a nation’s entire future.
Those in support of this amazing project can simply visit www.saferinternetsouthafrica.co.za and pledge their support. SISA not only believes in a safe internet for children but also for teachers, parents and businesses.