Introducing Web Rangers South Africa

Posted: 9 February 2016 | News - Media Release | Categories: Children

To celebrate Safer Internet Day Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) together with Google SA, the Film and Publication Board (FPB) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) launch Web Rangers at McAuley House in Parktown, Johannesburg.  This is an initiative where young people will not only drive safer internet behaviours but will also come up with their own ideas and initiatives to encourage more young people to stay safe online. 

 Web Rangers unpacked

South African children will, for the first time, follow in the footsteps of countries such as Israel, Philippines, New Zealand and India in launching Web Rangers, a Google campaign where children champion good digital citizenship and online safety. About 200 local children (aged 14 – 17) will encourage other children to think of practical and creative ways to help address issues of access and challenges faced by young people online.

William Bird, Director at MMA says, “South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world...The digital divide is another critical layer of inequality that, left unchallenged, will deepen inequality in new ways that will set our country's democracy and development back even further.”

Overcoming the digital divide has a number of elements, the most critical of which are the provision of fast, cheap quality access to the internet for all, and with that the development of digital literacy and digital citizenship skills. Web Rangers aims to achieve this through the participation of children who will champion the right to access the internet and online safety in tandem. 

The Web Rangers launch will reveal the campaign plan and see young people from three schools in Johannesburg (McAuley House, Kenilworth Secondary and Park Senior Primary School) participate in the first series of activities geared towards educating them on their role in making the internet a better and safer place for all.

“The safety of children is of utmost importance especially with the growth of digital technology. As an organisation, the FPB also seeks to protect children from exposure to harmful materials," says FPB spokesperson Janine Raftopoulos.

“In South Africa, we know that rangers traditionally guard parks and other areas of natural beauty. At Google, we also want to recognise modern day rangers - we call them Web Rangers - and their aim instead will be to keep the Internet safe for themselves and other young users,” says Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Public Policy for Google South Africa.

As the initiative builds, it will in the pilot phase, expand to 20 schools in Johannesburg and then spread to other provinces in coming years.  Young people and stakeholders will also share insights on how they envisage young people’s online safety.

“While the internet can be a big bad place, it can also open our minds, drive social change, bring people together and help young people build our future.  For me it is so important that Web Rangers will also focus on the potential of the internet as well as safety,” says Kgalalelo Morwe-Gaebee, Web Rangers coordinator at MMA.

For enquiries please contact:                            

Kgalalelo Morwe-Gaebee
Web Rangers coordinator

T: +27 (0)11 788 1278

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Or

Ayabulela Poro
Web Rangers coordinator

T: +27 (0)11 788 1278

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)