Preserving the well-being of children online, is increasingly important with rapid technological advancements taking place. Nowadays with quick and easy access to the internet, implementing security measures to preserve the online safety of children navigating the web is crucial.
While the internet provides children with access to innumerable access to educational resources it also has a stark impact on mental health. Understanding the impact of the web on a person’s mental health, MTN has committed to preserving the safety of children in the online space.
While research shows that the appropriate use of technology can augment cognitive, emotional, and social development, it can also have detrimental effects on mental health. Researchers argue that excessive technology usage can also foster a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and can contribute to social media addiction.
new online threats that can affect children include cyberbullying, privacy breaches, sexting, the dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and other forms of sexual exploitation.
In 2022, MTN initiated the “Help Children Be Children in 2022” campaign. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness about CSAM and educate the public in targeted countries about reporting such content.
In addition, the campaign also facilitated the training of law enforcement and child helplines across Africa, positively impacting policy through roundtable discussions and encouraging key stakeholders, including industry leaders, to join the global effort against child sexual abuse material.
MTN has also actively supported the development of an Africa-wide online child safety portal. This portal, a pioneering endeavor, serves as a reporting mechanism for instances of child sexual abuse imagery online. MTN has collaborated with the IWF to bring this portal to fruition, and it is accessible at: Help Children Be Children MTN Group.