Internet Safety : An African Child's Perspective

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Kearoma Mosata
Member since December 5, 2015
  • 11 Posts
  • Age 25

Children in Madagascar gather around a computer at their school.

Children in Madagascar gather around a computer at their school.

Growing up there never really was any big fuss over technology and innovation. I used a computer to play pinball and minesweeper.

On rare days where our stone age type computer had internet I would use it to Google dolls and pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It never really had any great impact on my upbringing. Yes, it excited me but I was not aware of it to a point where I would sacrifice playing house with my friends for sitting in front of the computer.

Things have changed though. Children as young as five years are now computer literate. Some even beat me when it comes to some computer functions. This is a good thing for Africa but it also has its downside. In this age of smartphones and home Wi-Fi, kids these days have unlimited access to the internet. This as aforementioned is both a blessing and a curse.

As the eldest of four, I have front row view to my teenage siblings' growing up. I see them learn new things and get excited about new games or new tv shows. I also watch them discover social media and I giggle when I scroll past their statuses and see their free spirit carefully being showcased. For some parents in Botswana however social media is the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong in any child's life. Poor academic performance is seen as the result of many hours on Facebook. Radio callers call in and debate about how Facebook and the internet in general, have destroyed our generation. Is this a fact? I highly doubt it.

Other than Facebook there are many innovations online that could hold the potential to grow our economy and countries. I guess it all depends on how they are used. Many adults fear that all kids do is play on social media and find dangers in the form of an older person disguised as a 13 year old friend. This might be partly true but I feel the generalization is quite unfair. I for one have come across so many great opportunities online. Some which have led to many eye opening experiences.

Truth of the matter is we as Africans will always have a certain reservation when it comes to any innovations that the first world brings. We will always find it as being too western and not for our people. I was so excited when I read of agriculture applications that help farmers keep track of many things with regards to their produce. I had a thought that it would be finally a way to show adults that there is no need to worry about the internet killing us.

I believe that through careful implementation many great achievements can be made in terms of innovation and development.

I stand for computer literacy from a young age and believe that in this fast paced world kids need an introduction to computing and the internet from a young age. I am also aware of the dangers that lurk but there is an equally great danger in not allowing for kid's to grow and catch up with the rest of the world.

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