Safer Internet Day is celebrated in about 140 countries on the second Tuesday of February to raise awareness of emerging online social ills.
The objective was to encourage safe and positive use of digital technology by children and to start conversations about creating a positive digital footprint.
Pinky Kekana, the deputy minister of communications, said on Tuesday: “This event aims to raise awareness of a safer internet. Being a citizen to the net comes with a lot of responsibilities that people are not aware of.”
Kekana urged internet users to continuously teach themselves about digital laws and ethics.
“Not only should you know the basics, but educate your children. As parents, it is one thing to live in gated homes and another to hand over a device with access to the internet that is not secured.”
Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida said this was a conversation she wanted to be part of, especially because she
had launched her own initiative, #MindfulMondays.
“I started #MindfulMondays to destigmatise mental health. It is about encouraging healing and learning about what mental health is and how one can prioritise it.”
Musida spoke about the importance of using social media responsibly as there were too many triggers that could affect people in a negative way.
She said she had learnt not to take things on social media platforms personally, although at times it had been difficult as not everyone used social media positively.
“Cyberbullying can affect people who have mental health issues. It becomes difficult to navigate; you can either use it in a good or bad way. I’ve been affected in a good and bad way.
“One of the good ways was on Instagram, where I learned about mental health and why it was always good to prioritise your mental health.”
SID is celebrated in about 140 countries on the second Tuesday of February to raise awareness of emerging online social ills such as cyberbullying, data safety and the dissemination of child pornography.
The FPB is SA’s SID committee member of the International Association of International Hotlines.
Its acting chief executive Abongile Mashele said: “The FPB has a responsibility to protect children from exposure to harmful content, playing a leading role in creating awareness around the dangers of the internet.
“We encourage the safe and responsible use of the digital space as a key tool to empower, educate and entertain our youth.”
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