How Can We Make The Internet A Better Place For Kenyans?

by Business Watch Team

The coming of the internet changed the world. The idea of making the world a global village was long achieved. The world is no longer a global village but a single tiny room with everything being within reach.

The advancement in technology has taken the internet to a whole new level. The emergence of a smartphone shifted the world in form of technological enhancement. It is a train that long left the station with no turning back.

At moment, with a smartphone, one can virtually do everything. In fact, people within and without Kenya no longer visit the banking halls unless it is necessary. All the transactions are done via a simple tool called a mobile phone.

The power of the internet in Kenya and beyond manifested when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. The coming of Covid-19 into Kenya changed everything. Businesses shut down, schools were closed and more than 2,000,000 people lost their jobs.

One of the greatest impacts of the pandemic was the closure of schools to prevent the spread of the pandemic. It during that time platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom platforms came up. The platforms enhanced the adoption of online learning.

Students from various schools around the country would attend and interact with teachers, as well as other students online, thanks to the internet. The adoption of the internet has led to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) making Zoom lessons mandatory in schools.

It was also during that time of the Covid-19 pandemic that many businesses around the country shifted to eCommerce. People, due to the restriction in movements that had been put in place by the government, would order their products and services via online platforms.

The truth is, the internet has immense advantages for people, not only in Kenya but around the world. Interestingly, human beings have not been able to fully exploit the power of the internet. A lot of internet potential remains unutilized.

The latest greatest development in the world of the internet is the coming of social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, among others that are literally making the world go around.

In the current world, people have been able to use social media platforms to push for agendas and change policies. In fact, many revolutions in Africa have been happening courtesy of social media platforms. The reason most governments are scared.

It is obvious that the reasons why we are hooked to the internet are endless: entertainment, seeking job opportunities, staying connected with family and friends, getting informed, playing games, and sometimes just watching cute animal faces

Unfortunately, the good of the internet is as much as it’s bad. Many people have taken advantage of the internet to carry out criminal activities, most of which have ended up hurting people through both losses of lives and property.

Those who made the internet envisioned it to be the savior of the world but instead, the internet has grown to be among one of the most dangerous inventions around the world.

The internet, just like the world, needs to be a safer place for every individual; both users and nonusers. To help advocate for a safer internet for all, the Safer Internet Day was formulated.

The Safer Internet Day is marked every February 8th of each year. The theme for this year is “Together for a better internet.” The day will call upon all stakeholders to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.

As the day nears, how can we make the internet a safer place and better at an individual level?

Think before you post

Do you ever stop to think of something before posting it on the internet? Many people don’t do that. But did you know that the moment you put something on the internet you have little control over it?

When on the internet, you or in a totally different world full of strangers. And whatever you share online has to be carefully thought about first. At the same, think before you post or bully people online.

Keep it private

Although, in some cases submitting your personal data is mandatory to sign up for an online account, refrain from sharing personal information like your address, phone number, or any other personal information with other users online! Not everyone treats your data in a respectful way.

Just ask yourself if you would invite someone to your house, who you’ve never met before?

Make use of the privacy setting by enabling the private mode on all your accounts. This way you have more control over who can see your profile and the content you post.

Stranger danger

It’s great to meet new people and stay connected with them through social media. But sometimes you will receive messages or friendship requests from people you have never met.

Before you accept someone as a friend or answer their message, think twice if you really want to let this person into your life. Remember – they will be able to see all the things you post and many details about your life.

On the internet, people are not always who they say they are. If someone you don’t know from your school or community asks to meet you in person, tell your parents or a trusted adult about this person. Meeting people you have met online in real life can be very dangerous.

Stop Bullying

With the internet becoming more and more popular, cyber-bullying has increased. Every day, one in five girls and one out of ten boys are cyberbullied.

Cyberbullying involves posting or sending messages, pictures, or videos with the intention to harass, threaten or spread rumors about a person through various digital platforms such as online social networks, chat rooms, blogs, instant messaging, and text messaging.

Victims of cyberbullying often experience low self-esteem, mental health issues, and extreme situations that even lead to suicide.

If you are a victim of cyberbullying, don’t respond to your bully! Find a trusted adult and tell them what happened, together you can find a solution. You can also call the Child Helpline Cambodia. They provide free 24 hours counseling and treat all your information as confidential. Just dial 1280 and you will be transferred to a counselor.

Don’t be ashamed to share your feelings, you’re doing the right thing. You have a right to feel safe. Talking about your experience is an important step to putting an end to bullying!

You can also play a big part to stop bullying online

When you browse the internet or scroll through your feed, you will most likely see opinions that differ from your own. Keep in mind that every person is entitled to their own opinion. Don’t criticize people for their views or the way they look.

Put yourself into their shoes and ask yourself how you would feel if someone called you out online. In case you strongly disagree with someone, give them constructive feedback in a respectful manner, instead of just telling them what you disapprove of. You’re better than that.

A better internet starts with you!

Report suspicious actions

Should you ever feel unsafe or see something you don’t feel comfortable with when you’re online, close the website and speak with a trusted adult.

Together, you can take steps to prevent others from experiencing the same by reporting a person or a website. Most social media platforms have the option to file a report against inappropriate content. If a specific person harasses you, you can usually block them. This way, they won’t be able to look at your profile or send you private messages.

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