GOVERNMENT is committed to fighting abuse of children on the internet as evidenced by the crafting of the Cyber Crime, Security and Data Protection Bill, Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Jerifan Muswere has said.
He was speaking at a public lecture on Cyber Security, themed "Child Online Safety", hosted by Africa University recently.
"The internet has become an integral part of their daily lives," he said.
"Internet technology affords children access to vast amounts of valuable information and endless sources of entertainment.
"It also exposes children to certain dangers. Children may come into contact with demeaning, racist, sexist or false information. They may also view pornographic websites and other types of material potentially inappropriate for a child."
Deputy Minister Muswere said at times children encountered sex predators online. "Most worrisome, children may encounter actual predators that use the internet to identify and lure victims through chat rooms, instant messaging facilities, and social networking sites," he said.
"This is a worrying trend and is indeed a rising concern among the parents and children.
"We, therefore, have an obligation to protect our children. Online safety for children must be given a priority."
Deputy Minister Muswere said Government was doing everything to fight such vices. A study by Africa University in countries including Zimbabwe has shown that a lot of children are exposed to dirty texts online.
"As we share ideas on safe online surfing, let us remember the shocking statistics produced by staff at Africa University regarding online predatory behaviour, bullying and exploitation that target children and the youth: 25 percent of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online," said Africa University Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa.
"Only 33 percent of households with internet access are actively protecting their children with filtering or blocking software."