Forum to promote responsible and safe online browsing


Mr Laurence of Cable & Wireless and Mr Matombé of NCC addressing the guests at the forum

This year is the 10th anniversary of the safer internet day which was celebrated worldwide with the slogan “Connect with respect” and the theme “Online rights and responsibilities”. Safer internet day this year was celebrated on February 5 with activities and lessons organised at school level to promote the theme online rights and responsibilities.

The initiative by the Ministry of Education to hold a forum for promoting safe, secure and responsible online browsing and to mark safer internet day started in 2012. The forum this year was held on February 22 in the School of Education auditorium, and was attended by the principal secretary for education Merida Delcy, officers from the Ministry of Education, as well as students and educators from primary, secondary and post secondary education institutions.

Officers from the National Council for Children (NCC) and the Cable & Wireless Seychelles (CWS) were also present at the forum.
The general aim of the forum was to help the participants understand their rights and responsibilities and to appreciate that new media technologies bring solutions as well as challenges. In so doing also understand the consequences of inappropriate and irresponsible uses of new media technologies, for example accessing or posting inappropriate or harmful materials.

In her opening address, Ms Delcy said that promoting online safety should not be only through a forum once a year but a belief that we should all uphold daily, every time we and our children are online, so that they are constantly reminded of the potential dangers of being online and the importance of taking precautions to stay safe.

Guests at the forum

She added that internet safety is not about a lot of rules, but rather it is about respecting and protecting yourself and others online, and about knowing your rights and your responsibilities and respecting the rights of others online.

During his presentation, the NCC’s communication co-ordinator Jean Claude Matombé presented an overview of the similarities between the rights and responsibilities of a person in the online and offline world.

He pointed out that a person’s rights and responsibilities do not stop when he is online. We have the right to express ourselves when we are online and we are responsible for our actions as they affect others, just as we are responsible for our actions in the offline world.

Schools and parents cannot enforce extreme restrictions on the use of technology in order to protect children. Whereas at school access to websites that are improper or which contain harmful software is limited so as to maintain a safe working, educational environment, children are still able to access harmful content when they are outside the classroom and unsupervised.

Mr Matombé called on the parents to be more vigilant and aware of what their children are doing online, as nowadays more and more children have access to internet through mobile devices at an earlier age. 

He noted that the same rules we set for our children in their normal everyday life should be applied in the online world. For instance, we tell our children not to talk to strangers or give their phone numbers or personal information to anyone they meet on the street, and yet our children are doing the opposite while they are online.

During the second presentation at the forum, Christopher Laurence, products and services executive from CWS, explained how SafeNet, the company’s new service, will help parents and businesses remove the risk of accessing restricted sites and harmful content while online.

Mr Laurence said the SafeNet service should not be a replacement for the customer’s antivirus software, but rather an additional safety feature to complement their existing virus protection software.

The service which will be available at the end of February comes in three different bundles to suit the different customers’ needs.

During the forum, the audience was able to make comments and ask questions after each presentation.  They also viewed an animated story about netiquettes (etiquette on the net) and a video clip of a song with messages about the safety precautions they should take before they go online and while online.

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