Combating cyber bullying and crime

2015-08-27 06:01
PHOTO: supplied

Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize addresses young women at the Golden Horse Casino last week.

PHOTO: supplied Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize addresses young women at the Golden Horse Casino last week.

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WITH reports of cyber bulling and children being preyed upon by sexual predators online, the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize last week launched an e-Parenting programme at the Golden Horse Casino.

The programme, soon be implemented as part of the Child Online Protection Act, is aimed at helping parents cope with the challenges of parenting in the digital age.

The programme will focus on raising parents’ awareness of the potential dangers their children may be exposed to online. Speaking at a networking session with young girls from schools and tertiary institutions around the city, she said: “We have realised that women and children are very vulnerable and susceptible to exploitation by online predators and paedophiles who seek to harm and abuse them.

“So we have come up with the e-Parenting programme and have developed strategies that will make use of information and communication technology [ITC] to combat violence and abuse against women. The role of parents will be to educate themselves on how to use social media. The main challenge is to work towards raising digitally responsible citizens.”

Mkhize raised concerns that there is low participation of women in the ICT sector especially in rural areas. She said coming to Pietermaritzburg was part of heeding President Jacob Zuma’s call to roll out broadband services throughout the country.

“The policy outlines a number of activities to improve broadband in South Africa. With regards to digital development, the purpose is to catalyse broadband connectivity, aiming to provide access to broadband to 50% of the population by 2016 and 90% by 2020. The 2015/16 financial year will see the implementation of the first phase of the digital development pillar, which is providing broadband connection services to schools, health clinics and government facilities in eight districts where national health insurance is being piloted.

“We chose Pietermaritzburg because it is a vulnerable district with a huge rural community and is a good place to start and empower people through e-strategies.”

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