Rwanda calls for strengthening measures against online child abuse

Rwanda marked World Children's Day on Friday with a call to strengthen the protection of children against the dangers posed by online abuse and cyberbullying.

Rwanda marked World Children’s Day on Friday with a call to strengthen the protection of children against the dangers posed by online abuse and cyberbullying.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed children to turn to digital solutions more than ever to support their learning and socialization, which carries risks such as online sexual abuse and cyberbullying.”

Jeannette Bayisenge, Rwanda’s Minister of Family and Gender Promotion, spoke at the celebrations to mark World Children’s Day in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

“We need to toughen up measures like government, civil society, development partners, parents, guardians and teachers to ensure that our children are protected from abuse online as they spend more time online than usual,” Bayisenge said.

He said that parents and guardians have an important role to play in protecting children from online abuse, and it is very important for them to participate and communicate with children about online safety issues to enable them to develop their critical thinking to take the right decisions.

In 2019, Rwanda implemented an online protection policy for children in response to the risks of minors exposed to inappropriate content on the Internet and which needs full implementation by the relevant authorities.

“We are concerned about the risk of exploitation by strangers and criminals or cyber abuse and intimidation by peers.

“The Rwandan government and the UN family are doing everything they can to help protect them,” said Julianna Lindsey, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Rwanda.

The day coincided with the XIV National Summit for Children, a consultative forum that brought together children’s delegates from across the country to exchange opinions and ideas on the issues in question.

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