Radio Campaign Set to Raise Awareness on Child Online Safety

Monday 5 July 2021

Save the Children recently embarked on radio campaign aiming to raise awareness on child online safety. The radio campaign is part of the Spotlight Initiative funded UNICEF project which seek to end online and offline violence against women and girls. The programme is being aired on ZiFM Stereo which is one of the biggest radio stations in Zimbabwe with a wide listenership.

Online Safety Tips for Children

 The campaign consists of eleven sessions which run for 30 minutes. During the sessions, representatives from Save the Children, Department of Social Development, Victim Friendly Unit, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of ICTPCS, or UNICEF unpack and engage with listeners on issues concerning the safety of children online.

Givemore Magumuye, Child Protection officer for Save the Children notes that: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the increase of children accessing online learning platforms including social media. Online learning ensures children’s right to education in emergencies.”

“However, access to online and social media platform for education purposes also expose children to online risks, which can lead to harm. The radio campaign aims to capacitate children and parents in identifying and responding to child online safety risks that include child online sexual abuse, grooming and sextortion.”

Some of the topics include forms of child online abuse, online risks, effects of online child abuse, COVID-19 and online violence, safeguarding children online, role of parents, guardians and teachers in ensuring the safety of children online, online child abuse reporting mechanisms and case management of child online violence.

The sessions are interactive, allowing listeners to send comments and questions to the guest presenter via WhatsApp. The show has garnered positive feedback from listeners from all corners of Zimbabwe and even abroad. Some of feedback from listeners includes:

“Thank you so much, I did not know that you can report child online safety breaches to the nearest police station. My child is being harassed on Facebook, I will take this issue to the to the police.” Listener, Harare.

“Loud and clear! Thank you so much for such an informative programme, I’m listening with my kids.” Listener, South Africa.

“This is great! It’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard kids from online violence.” Listener, Kadoma.

Save the Children hopes the radio campaign will increase awareness on child online rights and pave way for the development of frameworks which protect children from online abuse.

“We expect to increase in awareness on child online violence, safety risks and mitigation measures and reports of child online violence cases. We hope for improved participation from parents, teachers in monitoring children’s activities online. We also hope this will pave way for the development of a Child Online Safety Policy in Zimbabwe which will bring in perspective a multi-stakeholder approach to protect children online.” Givemore explained.