The internet can be used for growth and at the same time a vice for destruction. Everyone is not safe from the prying online eyes of those who seek to destroy the reputation of others. Whether you are a government official or a CEO of a top notch company, you are still at risk. With an increase in the numbe of internet users, there is also an increase in stalkers or people who want to cause harm. Women and children face the largest threats in the online world.

Annually, February 6th marks Safer Internet Day (SID). The day is set to spread awareness and advocate for the responsible use of the internet. Safaricom hosted an event at the Michael Joseph Centre to enhance awareness. The global theme of the event was Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you. This theme will help shape the conversation about safe internet use among the young and provide solutions to the serious emerging trends that have in the recent years compounded the internet landscape like cyberbullying access, harmful sites and illegal content.

The main aim was to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world. Young people are moving always want to have the latest mobile gadget. However, the rate of technological growth is much faster and sometimes one may not be able to notice threats until they happen.

Safaricom has improved its internet technology landscape as it provides high speed 4G and 3G connectivity to Kenyans. It is therefore a key player in affecting people’s lives online providing numerous channels to access the internet. Safaricom initiatives and engagements seek to advocate for the responsible use of the internet in the country and beyond.

Steve Chege, the Director Corporate Affairs at Safaricom stated “Access to reliable and convenient internet has become a basic need for many Kenyans, therefore data has become an important revenue stream for us. But we are also aware of emerging online issues that affect our young ones such as online bullying and that is why Safer Internet Day is important to us.”

He added, “This event is to trigger every stakeholder to act their role by creating an environment where internet users, especially the younger demographic have a better and wholesome experience. This way all of us will view the internet as an important resource for the betterment of our lives.”

Since majority of Kenyans are on social media platforms this year’s theme also seeks to encourage the creation better online communities.

Chege also added “We believe this event will provide a platform for all the stakeholders involved to discuss the way forward towards achieving a better digital experience for all internet users. This will be a major step towards ensuring that we curb the negative trends that have cropped up in the recent past.”

Safer Internet Day (SID) has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar since its launch. It started as an initiative of the European Union SafeBorders project in 2004 and has today grown to be celebrated in close to 130 countries.

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