Young people who participated in the 2021 edition of the Africa Digital Leaders Programme have been empowered on the best habits to exhibit while online.
The Africa Digital Leaders Programme, initiated by the Child Online Africa is a hybrid fellowship programme targeting young leaders between the ages 8-16year old.
It is aimed at building the skills and capacity of participants to interact with technology responsibly and be able to minimize risks and maximize opportunities that may come along with their engagements online.
In a statement Child Online Africa said “We know children and young people are excited by the use of technology and most of them get committed to the point of addiction if they do not know the rules of balance.”
“Coupled with the fact that children and young people are left out of the discussion regarding internet governance, at COA we believe the earlier young people know and understand their way around technology the better the future could be shaped for Africa.”
Experts in the tech-industry say it is important people take their personal safety online seriously and engage in habits that also do not violate the rights of others.
CEO of Innovare Ltd, C.K Bruce said for people to be cyber secured, they would need to have a change of behaviour.
For Bruce institutions and organizations would have to take lead roles in that behaviour change agenda.
He warned people against exposing their digital presence through geo-tagging saying he finds it “so worrying some” adding that “we need to be responsible. We need to ensure that we are not just doing things for doing sake.”
Bruce encourage young people to take up training programs on online safety and good behaviour online to better protect themselves and also develop a career path.
An information security associate, Desmond Israel highlighted the need for internet users on social media to be wary of cyberbullying, hacking, fraud and scams and fake news.
He stressed the need for young people to build a responsible digital identity while online saying “if you go insulting people on Facebook, one day you will see them in real life. One day you will see on panels when you go for interviews.”
Israel also advised people to be careful about the amount of information they put on the internet to avoid being vulnerable when those information are later used against them.
Having strong passwords and improved online security to avoid falling victim to hackers was also highlighted by Israel.
The fellowship programme takes into consideration the peculiar needs and situation in Africa in its implementation.
Child Online Africa said it hopes the programme “will give the opportunity to the African Child to hone his/her skills in preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution takeover.”