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Cyber cops keep Internet safe for children

Mukami Mutiga, 36, considers herself an agent 001 when it comes to monitoring online activity of children. She started an organisation that deals with cyber security

Barry Silah @obel_barry

Mukami  Mutiga, 36, a digital marketer, was always curious as a child and went about discovering things her own way. This birthed her interest in the Internet.  What she found was far from healthy.

“I was nosy and curious, so I could just try things out. At 12 years, I was already tearing a computer apart. However, when I came across pornography online, my perception for that space changed somewhat,” she says.

That is why  last year Mukami and her business partner Thabo Johnson whom she met in South Africa two years ago, started Africa Society for Cyber Security Awareness (ASCSA).The organisation is all about cyber parenting and child security.

In a continuously murky web, a lot of young people are getting lost and abused by the dark online forces. This is what ASCSA under Mukami and Thabo’s guidance is seeking to eliminate through their programme in Kenya and South Africa.

“We want to define usage of the Internet and assess the downsides for the vulnerable and ignorant. It is a growing problem in Africa and it needs to be tackled. Statistics show that the average urban family uses Sh10,000 on data, but to what end is anyone’s guess.

Additionally, Kenyan youth are known to be the biggest gamblers going by the numbers and this has brought up psychological challenges,” says Mukami, a Business Technology graduate from Dublin University, United Kingdom.

Mukami, who has a decade experience in the digital space, believes that problems in the sector have been fuelled by development, society and culture. “We have a situation whereby organisations give wrong or raw information to children.

We are seeking to work with parents to offer alternate, but fun ways of engaging with the Internet. It calls for a shift in the mindset. ASCSA role is to develop safe African Internet spaces where communities can raise digital savvy citizens, conduct safe internet business, design and develop solutions for African problems,” says Mukami.

The organisation targets children between three and 17 years. They also try to look at the underlying contributors of wrong internet usage and how to control it.

“We are proposing cyber games beneficial to the mind and generally Internet productivity hinged on creativity and awareness,” adds Mukami, firstborn child in a family of four. She is currentlypursuing a Law Degree at the University of South Africa, Pretoria.

Both Thabo and Mukami have a firm belief that with government support and well planned awareness, the future of the youth can be secured. 

The organisation also wants to tackle cyberbullying. They advise parents to take a lead role using monitoring tools online.

“We need to make the Internet work for us and not against us,” says Thabo who is the Chairman of the Board of ASCSA and has been in IT System Integration for more than two decades.

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