Celebrating safer internet for children

Salt and Light Namibia will host its first virtual seminar aimed at teenagers in celebration of International African Child.
Mariselle Stofberg
Mariselle Stofberg

In commemoration of the International African Child Day on Wednesday, 16 June, Salt and Light Namibia will host its first virtual seminar aimed at teenagers on Saturday, 19 June.

The seminar will unpack topics teenagers face in the digital age including cyberbullying, sexting, addiction, internet safety, porn, anxiety, depression, privacy and reputation.

Emma Sadleir, South Africa’s leading expert on social media law, founder of the Digital Law Company and co-author of the book Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones, will be the guest speaker at the event.

Salt and Light is a company birthed from a desire to share, serve and appreciate all good things in life and is based in Tsumeb, Namibia.

“It's important for kids to be careful whenever they're connected to the internet because online dangers are not just limited to bad websites. Chat rooms, computer games and even social networking sites can be risky. It's far more difficult to tell whether a person you meet online really is who they say they are. So, it's vital that we teach our children how to use the internet safely,” Alina Garises, the founder and managing director Salt and Light Namibia, said.

The seminar is scheduled to take place from 10:00 to 12:00.

Jennifer Timbo will act as the host of the seminar and the deputy mayor of Tsumeb, Anmire Garises, and Sadleir will act as speakers.

The seminar is for parents and their teens and tickets will cost N$50.

“Once you make payment, you will receive your login credentials to the seminar which you will be able to use to join the forum from the comfort of your home. There are numerous dangers our children face on the internet, which include cyberbullying, cyber predators, posting private information, phishing, falling for scams, addiction and depression and posts that come back to haunt a child later in life,” Garises added.

Safer internet use

The seminar will help unpack these dangers and provide guidance to both parents and children on how to protect themselves.

“Although the internet can present some risks, it’s important to understand what the benefits are to give our children the guidance they need to make the best out of their internet use or even social media use. Children can learn and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews to better understand the world around them and build up their knowledge on a range of topics,” she said.

Garises added that the appropriate use of the internet can also enhance digital media literacy and help the youth to develop communication and technical skills to prepare them for future opportunities in the workplace. It can also support their communication skills to help them in interacting with friends and family.

Working together as a family

“The other important benefit is also mental health and well-being. The internet removes boundaries to develop connections. It removes boundaries of meeting and maintaining friendships beyond borders. For children who may not feel they can connect with others within their community, the internet can be a great way to connect with other friends who share their ideas and interests,” she said.

“My advice to parents is that they need to set up parental control on all the devices their children use. Keep an active eye on what your child does when connected to the internet.”

She further added that there are numerous parental control apps parents can consider downloading such as the Bark app, Kaspersky or Net Nanny.

“I use Family Link for my pre-teen daughter, and it is working out well for both of us.”