African Child Day: Raising awareness and safeguarding children in the digital age

Day of the African Child was held on Friday aiming to improve public awareness of children’s rights and protect them from online and offline abuse.

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The African Child Day was held on Friday, where all member states of the African Union (AU) observe a day dedicated to raising awareness about children’s rights in the digital age. This day aligns with the Child Online Protection Policy the Government of Rwanda implemented in June 2019. A three-month campaign was launched to increase public awareness regarding the protection of children from online and offline abuse. The campaign aims to educate people about the challenges children face in the digital world and the measures that can be taken to safeguard them. Jeannette Baiisenge, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, has urged stakeholders to encourage safer digital practices for children.

Nadine Gatsinzi Umutoni, Director General of the National Child Development Agency (NCD) in Rwanda, emphasized the importance of promoting and protecting children’s rights in the digital environment. Umutoni acknowledged that technology had become integral to daily lives and recognized its benefits to children. However, Umutoni stressed the need for proactive measures to ensure children’s online safety.

David Kanamugire, Executive Director of Rwanda’s National Cyber Security Service (NCSA), stated that protecting children in digital spaces necessitates the collaboration of government institutions, internet service providers, and the media, all of which must be knowledgeable to effectively protect children.

Children’s representative, Aime Umugwaneza, emphasized the lack of age-appropriate content regulation, which may lead to potential dangers such as cyberbullying and sexting, and proposed that instead of imposing limitations, people should be educated on how to protect themselves from such risks.