ICT regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has urged parents and guardians to intensify efforts to protect children on the Internet.
The authority says they should be on the lookout on the content their children consumer online, especially during the long holidays.
Speaking at a consumer outreach event at Embu County, CA board chair Ngene Gituku said CA’s national cyber-security centre had observed a sharp increase in the number of cyber-threats and incidents in the country, rising from 11.3million in the quarter ending in March 30 to 26.6 million between April 1 to June 30 this year.
“It is not enough to purchase smartphones and other devices and leave children on their own without providing the required guidance and controls,” he said.
Ngene said the Authority has a lot of online and physical Children Online Protection materials that could assist parents and guardians guarantee the safety of children online, and urged Embu residents to take advantage of the educational resources.
Speaking at the same event, organized jointly by CA and the County Government of Embu, CA acting Director-General Mrs. Mercy Wanjau said Embu residents enjoy good 2G and 3G mobile connectivity, with respective population coverage of 99.8% and 88.2%.
Wanjau said ICTs, if well harnessed, could contribute to increased food productivity in Embu and thus contribute to the government’s Big 4 Agenda on food security.
“Cooperatives and indeed individual farmers in Embu County can use Information and Communications Technologies to receive useful information including weather patterns, pest control, farming techniques, and regular market access information for their produce. ICTs can also help farmers keep simple records like the type of soil in their farms, litres of milk sold, crop or animal diseases and quantity of produce harvested, among others, “ she added.
The acting Director-General said CA had connected 14 public secondary schools in Embu with high-speed Internet through the Universal Service Fund.
“Just a week ago, we launched the voice infrastructure project through which we have connected 68 sub-locations to mobile communications services across the country. This initiative has seen about 290,000 people who until recently only dreamt of making a call through the mobile phone, enjoy basic voice and data services.
Wanjau said 10 more sub-locations would be connected to mobile voice services under the same projects, to ensure all areas that still experience challenges of connectivity are adequately covered.
Embu County Governor Martin Wambora said ICT services have provided opportunities to local residents to acquire knowledge and improve their lives.
“We are proud that the availability of ICT services is enriching the lives of our people in many profound ways. The Internet, for instance, has provided numerous opportunities for our people to acquire knowledge and to improve their lot. We see various sectors of the local economy, including agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises, and health heavily relying on ICTs for growth,” added Mr. Wambora.
He urged CA to facilitate basic connectivity to all un-served and underserved areas in Embu to ensure residents enjoy the transformative power of ICT.
“My Government recognizes the importance of ICTs as outlined in our ICT Roadmap for the period 2015-2022. This blueprint focuses on increased ICT infrastructure development, staff training and ICT literacy for the residents of this county,” added the Governor.