Child Online Africa (COA) takes delight in observing the International Day of the Girl Child which is celebrated around the world on October 11 each year.
This year’s event under theme: “Digital generation. Our generation” clearly reminds us, that the advocacy for girl child empowerment initiated at the World Conference on Women in Beijing some 26 years ago is now presented with more formidable tools and platforms for driving change due to digital transformation taking place.
COA believes an ideal digital design with girl’s needs in mind ought to consider the age of girls, their cognitive ability, their digital literacy level and girl’s maturation. This level cannot be attained by assumptions but must be based on empirical evidence from research before, during and after the product is designed which is to say safety standards should be activated within the design frame per the desired goal of the product and the Best interest of the child.
Everyday online, young people especially girls are confronted with lies and stereotypes about their body image and so is misinformation resulting in mental health concerns and disinterest in attaining their potentials. It is crucial those of us working ecosystem promote calls to maximize opportunities while minimizing the threats online for young people by:
supporting call on African leaders and governments to consider adopting a proactive and preventative approach which focuses on embedding safety into the culture and leadership of organizations. The Safety By Design approach emphasizes accountability and aims to foster more positive, civil and rewarding online experiences for everyone. This has proven to the most effective way to reduce the risks posed by privately owned man and woman-made digitally own platforms to young people especially girls.
COA intends to press on with our ongoing initiatives such as the ‘Digital Citizenship’ initiatives in order to push the civil fight in achieving the collective vision that will make the “Digital generation. Our generation” a congenial era for the growth of young girls.