The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has taken the mandate to educate the students, churches, clergy, parents and provincial administrators on the proper use of media content, through the Media Literacy Program.
The program funded by the National Government began early this year and is projected in six (6) counties, including Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori and Nyamira.
According to KFCB Nyanza Regional Manager, Edward Koech, the continuous program is aimed at protecting children from exposure to harmful film and broadcast content.
He said that through educating parents and the community on the responsible and intelligent use of technology, it will be easier to monitor what content children are consuming and regulate.
“Internet is a superhighway of information and unfortunately, it is largely unregulated. Children end up being victims of the dark side of it, that’s why as a Board, we are urging parents to monitor the content their children are consuming, as it may be harmful to their social life and studies,” he said.
Children are at high risk of being exposed to pornography, which is addictive and may end up affecting them mentally.
He cited that some parents and guardians are media illiterate and may not realize what their children watch on televisions, listen to radios, read on newspapers and view through their mobile phones. It is therefore mandatory to reach them through such dialogues and training.
Koech said that due to the impossibility of reaching every parent, they have involved the provincial administrators such as Chiefs and their Assistants, village elders and religious leaders, who will ensure the information has reached the grass root level.
KFCB has partnered with the Ministry of Education for the last three years, to empower students through drama festivals, a good way of reaching students.
The partnership has also ensured that the Board reaches schools, whereby they have visited Magadi and Maisha Primary Schools and various children homes for sensitization.
Koech, however, acknowledged the receptive community and their willingness to be educated in a bid to ensure their children’s safety amidst the growing irresponsible use of media technology.
He urged the Government to come up with regulations that will ban children from cinemas and video premises like football, during school days so that they can focus on their studies.
“We will impose tough penalties for movie-shop owners and parents who will allow children to be exposed to harmful content,” he warned.
By Evangeline Mola and Lorine Awino