Safer Internet Day: MFWA Calls for Collaborative Efforts to Ensure Safety Online

Today, February 5, 2019 is Safer Internet Day (SID). In line with the theme for the year, “Together for a better internet“, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is calling on all stakeholders to collaborate and ensure a safer internet for everyone, especially children.

While the internet continues to serve as an enabler for the exercise of rights such as freedom of expression and access to information, responsible use of the internet is also very important to ensure that cyberspace remains safe. It is, therefore, in our collective interest as online users to ensure that the internet remains a free, open and safe space for all persons irrespective of age or geographical considerations.

Safer Internet Day (SID) is an initiative of the European Union’s Safe Borders project. It officially became a global event in 2012 when the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission decide that to help transform the internet into a safe playground for the youth.

It is now celebrated in more than 100 countries across the world to inspire national conversations about using the internet responsibly and safely.

With so much of our lives spent on the internet, securing our safety and privacy online has become a daily concern. Safer Internet Day is, therefore, observed to remind all internet users of the dangers online and underline the need for responsible use of the internet.

As the MFWA joins the world in marking SID, we also call on all stakeholders in the ecosystem to diligently play their respective roles to make the internet a safe space for all. Specifically, the organisation recommends that:

– Governments should

  • In line with the theme for the 2019 SID (Together for a Better Internet), use multi-stakeholder approaches to ensure that rights-respecting mechanisms are put in place to deal with threats such as child abuse on the internet.

Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, civil society organisations and academia should

  • Contribute to creating awareness and sensitising online users, particularly the youth, on responsible use of the internet, especially social media.
  • Build the capacities to users, especially young people to use safety tools while on the internet.

Internet Users should

  • Desist from spreading false information and sharing potentially harmful photos, videos and other negative media content of/to other users.
  • Report posts on the internet especially on social media which have the potential of harming, embarrassing and hurting others, to help reduce online abuse, particularly on social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where cyber bullying is rampant.

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