Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), with its partners Google, The Film and Publications Board (FPB), Digital You and a few others came together. They adopted an international programme that promotes online safety, digital literacy and cyber security among young people called Web Rangers. Web Rangers allows young people in South Africa to create innovative campaigns that advocate for safer internet usage and to champion their rights in the digital world. It is about creating young digital citizens who know how to use the internet responsibly and encourage their peers likewise.
Web Rangers was born out of the realization that sometimes children are repulsive to adult patronage. This is because it’s often obtrusive to their ‘freedoms’ so it’s easier to listen to their own peers than to adults. It’s all about psychology and fostering leadership among the youth. After the training, they are mandated to spread the awareness to their peers. Web Rangers can create campaigns and enter them for competitions depending on how unique and effective they are in raising digital literacy.
Originally launched in Israel, Web Rangers expanded to the Philippines, India, Turkey, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Kenya. Web Rangers provide workshops run by local online safety experts to help train young people. These young online safety ‘ambassadors’ then run campaigns among their peers, schools and communities to raise awareness of online safety. In South Africa, these campaigns run under the theme – “Know my digital world campaign”. Schools are encouraged to register as Web Ranger members to get their students involved in the programme.
This year, two Web Ranger students have been selected to go to the United States of America to network and exchange ideas and experiences with peers there. How cool is that! We sincerely commend the efforts being made by young people for young people for better internet practices.