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Policy to be enacted for protection of children from cyber threat

Over 70 percent of children in Bungoma County face child abuse and neglect daily, Webuye West Children’s officer, Mrs. Rodah Wanjala says

Mrs. Wanjala says that according to last year’s report on child abuse in Bungoma County, 4,900 child abuse and neglect cases were reported.

Mrs. Wanjala further stated during an interview that very few defilement cases are reported to the relevant authorities, as most end up in kangaroo courts.

“As we advocate for the children’s rights in Kenya there are some people within our communities that harass and breach the rights of children,” Wanjala said.

She said child abuse manifests in form of defilement, child labor, child neglect and online child abuse.

She said every child is entitled to education, health, security and shelter, asking parents to support their children to go to school and get empowered academically.

Mrs. Wanjala said that if children are empowered academically, the society will have responsible people who are able to take care of future generations.

She affirmed the government is developing a policy to protect children from different types of abuse and it is in its final stages.

Mrs. Wanjala noted that the new children’s Act 2022 introduces issues of online child abuse and there are various activities that are supposed to be undertaken to protect children who experience online abuse.

Children rights defenders in Bungoma County led by David Lupao have argued that the internet through a great resource to children poses a risk to them.

They said that while online, children meet new people who sometimes change the conversation from friendly to sexual.

“The internet also exposes children to predators, cyber bullying and harmful content that might paint the minds of children negatively”, they added.

According to the directorate of children services (DCS) report 2021-2022 ,over 70 percent of children in Bungoma County are facing all forms of abuse.

The report reveals that 61 percent of children aged 12-17 who face abuse are not sure where to report and get support.

The report also indicated that over 81 percent of children in Nairobi and Mombasa have access to the internet.

Mr. Lupao said that the population of children in Bungoma is approximately 927,000.

He said the children’s policy once in place will protect the children from the negative impacts of the digital networks.

“We have further mobilized funding for specific children’s activities and mobilized partners who help teach positive parenting to orphan vulnerable children (OVC),” he said.

He said that through the children’s policy, the government will offer services that are not discriminatory.

By Bronley Kidari and Roseland Lumwamu

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