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DIGITAL LITERACY: PROTECTING AND SAFEGUARDING ON THE INTERNET

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Do you recall how much we used to admire the large, heavy PCs in our school labs? The digital world has grown exponentially since then, and all our children now have access to the internet in one form or another—through a phone, an iPad, the TV, or even the home computer. Comprehensive digital literacy is more important than ever in order to guarantee that our kids are safe and make the most of their access while exercising caution and creativity. Recognizing this, the Communications Authority of Kenya initiated the Child Online Protection (COP) program, underscoring the critical need for an integrated approach to digital literacy that includes safety, awareness, and education. This initiative serves as a reminder that protecting our children online is a collective effort involving education, technological tools, and informed parenting.

In today’s world, digital technology is integrated into everyday life; understanding its nuances goes beyond basic functionality. Digital literacy encompasses a range of competencies including critical thinking in digital spaces, discerning credible information (especially with all the misinformation that happens on the internet), responsible online communication, and awareness of digital safety and privacy.

Integrating Digital Literacy and Why it’s Important for your kids. Safety through awareness and education: The internet is vast and ever-changing, presenting various challenges. To equip children for this, combine regular dialogues about online experiences with practical lessons on safety. Teach them the importance of cybersecurity, such as using strong passwords and understanding the risks of sharing personal information. This approach to digital literacy is like teaching them to navigate the complexities of the internet as confidently as they would cross the road. It’s critical to emphasize how digital literacy fortifies our kids to be savvy internet users, protecting them from fraud and cyberattacks. We ensure that they are not easily duped by teaching them to identify and steer clear of potential scams through the cultivation of an awareness of internet security. Instilling best practices for securing personal information goes hand in hand with this education and is essential to preventing hackers from accessing it.
2. Information literacy with guided exploration: Teaching children to discern credible from unreliable content is essential in the digital age, where information is abundant. Lead by example; show them how to evaluate sources and maintain a healthy scepticism about the information they encounter. Engage in constructive dialogue to help them understand how to filter and assess the vast amount of content they come across, turning every online interaction into a learning opportunity.
3. Cultivating creativity and innovation with encouragement and resources: Digital platforms are playgrounds for creativity and innovation. Please encourage your children to delve into these spaces by introducing them to various educational resources and creative tools. Guide them towards activities like programming, digital art, or joining online communities that foster constructive engagement. Celebrate their digital creations and milestones, reinforcing their interest in developing new skills and expressing themselves creatively.
4. Combating Online Bullying and Nurturing Self-Worth: An essential facet of digital literacy is teaching our children how to identify and cope with online bullying. It’s crucial to have an open dialogue about the realities of online interactions and to empower them with strategies to deal with any form of bullying they might encounter. This includes knowing when and how to report inappropriate behaviour and understanding the importance of seeking support from trusted adults. The development of a strong sense of self is equally vital. Promoting self-esteem-boosting activities and having frequent conversations about their internet experiences aid in preserving their sense of self. This strategy guarantees that adolescents traverse the digital world with confidence and a positive self-image, while simultaneously arming them against the detrimental effects of cyberbullying.

In a world where digital literacy is as crucial as learning to ride a bike, it’s imperative to guide our children through the digital landscape with diligence and foresight. By integrating the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) into their digital education, we emphasize the importance of navigating online spaces with both confidence and caution. This ensures they are well-prepared, safe, and informed, enabling them to fully harness the vast resources of the digital world. As we embark on this journey with them, we lay a foundation not only for overcoming current digital challenges but also for seizing future opportunities, all while under the protective umbrella of initiatives like the COP by the Communication Authority. The COP program’s success lies in its multi-stakeholder approach, bringing together educators, parents, technology providers, and policymakers to create a safer online environment for children. We can adopt a similar approach in our homes by leveraging available resources and engaging with community and educational programs that focus on digital literacy and online safety. This collective effort enhances our children’s ability to navigate the digital landscape safely and creatively.

The journey of nurturing digital literacy in our children provides us, as parents, with a profound sense of peace of mind. When we equip our kids with the skills to navigate the online world safely, we’re doing more than just protecting them; we’re empowering them to make informed choices and recognize potential dangers. This knowledge acts as a safeguard, ensuring that their digital interactions are secure and beneficial. Knowing that our children can discern trustworthy information, protect their data, and engage online respectfully gives us confidence in their ability to handle the digital world’s complexities. We are confident that kids will be safe and okay as they explore the extensive materials available on the internet.

For more detailed insights into the Child Online Protection initiative, to visit the Communications Authority of Kenya’s website, Click Here.

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Neuralink’s First Human Patient: A Glimpse into the Future of Brain-Computer Interfaces

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The future is now. Neuralink, the brain-child of Elon Musk, has recently unveiled a significant milestone in neurotechnology by successfully implanting its brain chip into a human patient. This groundbreaking achievement was highlighted in a demonstration featuring Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old man who has been paralyzed from the neck down following a diving accident. Arbaugh’s ability to control digital interfaces using only his thoughts marks a new era in assistive technology.

In January 2024, Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old paralyzed from the neck down, received Neuralink’s implant. This device decodes neural signals and translates them into digital commands, allowing Arbaugh to control a computer cursor just by imagining its movement. Demonstrations revealed him playing online chess and Civilization VI, showcasing the implant’s potential to vastly improve the quality of life for those with severe physical disabilities​

Arbaugh’s experience highlights the life-changing potential of Neuralink’s technology. Before the implant, he relied on cumbersome assistive devices, but now he enjoys longer gaming sessions and online interactions, enhancing his daily life significantly. Despite some initial challenges, the implant has provided about eight hours of use per charge, marking a significant advancement in assistive tech​.

Continued development is necessary to fully unlock its potential, but the progress so far indicates a promising future for BCIs in enhancing human-computer interactions​.

Neuralink’s brain-chip implant is a groundbreaking step towards a future where individuals with disabilities can seamlessly interact with technology. While challenges remain, the strides made by Arbaugh and Neuralink underscore the immense potential of BCIs to revolutionize lives. However, the real question is; Would you get a brain implant if it were accessible to you today?

For all news Technology, visit VibeYetuhttps://vibeyetu.com/category/tech/.

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Whats New On the Android 15 Update Coming in October

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Android 15 is expected to be released to the public in October later this year. Currently, it is available in beta for eligible devices. And if you are wondering if your phone will get the shiny new Android 15 update? It’s simple to find out. Start by checking the official list of eligible devices on the Android Beta website or your phone manufacturer’s website. If you’re rocking a recent Google Pixel model like the Pixel 7 or Pixel 8, you’re in luck—you’re in the VIP line for this update. For other brands like Samsung, OnePlus, or Xiaomi, keep an eye out for announcements about their respective rollouts. And if your phone didn’t make the cut, well, it might just be the universe telling you it’s time for an upgrade. So astrology babes might be onto something, Listen to the Universe. After all, you deserve that new phone, life’s been brutal.

What’s New in Android 15?

Android 15 is shaping up to be a significant update with several new features aimed at improving user experience, security, and performance. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting additions coming with Android 15:

1. Edge-to-Edge Mode

Android 15 introduces an edge-to-edge mode allowing apps to utilize the full width of the display, providing a more immersive experience. This feature will be particularly noticeable on devices with gesture navigation enabled.

2. Partial Screen Recording

Users will now be able to record or share specific app windows instead of the entire screen. This feature enhances privacy and focus, allowing you to share only what’s necessary without exposing other on-screen content.

3. Improved Bluetooth Management

The Bluetooth tile in the Quick Settings menu has been revamped. A short press now brings up a dialogue box showing paired devices and options to switch between them or connect new ones. This update makes managing Bluetooth connections more intuitive and user-friendly.

4. Satellite Connectivity Support

Expanding connectivity options, Android 15 integrates satellite connectivity, enabling devices to maintain communication even in remote areas. This ensures a consistent user experience regardless of location. Right there catching up to iPhones who rolled out satellite connectivity last year.

5. Universal Toggle for Keyboard Vibration

A new system-wide toggle for keyboard vibration settings allows users to control haptic feedback intensity across all keyboard apps, enhancing the typing experience.

6. Enhanced Foldable Support

If you are using a foldable device this one is for you. Android 15 brings better continuity features for foldable devices, such as seamless transitions between the cover screen and the main display. It also allows users to save split-screen app combinations for easier multitasking.

7. Health and Fitness Enhancements

Are you a gym bro integrating technology to aid you in tracking fitness and keeping records? The update includes enhancements to Health Connect, supporting new data types for health and fitness apps. It also extends support for virtual MIDI 2.0 devices, fostering creativity in music production.

8. HDR and Audio Controls

Android 15 introduces controls for HDR headroom and loudness, ensuring a balanced and consistent audio and visual experience across different content types.

9. Performance and Security Upgrades

The update brings significant improvements to the Android Dynamic Performance Framework, including new APIs for better hardware optimization and security features like the Privacy Sandbox on Android. These enhancements aim to provide a smoother, more secure user experience.

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The Role of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in Child Online Protection

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Patricia Muchiri,  the Acting Director of Public Education & Awareness, delves into the role of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in child online protection with ODHIAMBO NEEMA.

Child Online Protection (COP) is a global initiative that was established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN agency responsible for all international and telecommunication (ICT) matters, as a subset of the broader cybersecurity agenda. The ITU is mandated to come up with a holistic way to deal with the challenges that children and youth face as they navigate the cyberspace.

Many people are unaware that Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA) sits on the ITU council thanks to Kenya being a member state of the council. This means that the authority has the delegated role, by the national government, to represent it on matters of ICT. In this capacity, the authority is a global player that executes the child online protection framework as established and provided by the ITU council. As such, CA has designed programmes and initiatives around the provided framework, thereby contributing to internet safety.

Additionally, the authority is the regulator of the converged ICT sector in Kenya. Their roles include managing the country’s cyberspace, issuing frequencies, regulating competition in the ICT sector, and issuing resources such as personal mobile numbers. Consequently, CA has a sacrosanct role in consumer protection and in the regulation of various goods and services in the ICT sector, which includes child online protection.

“We are now looking at children as consumers of ICT, and they are very early adopters. We do know, from research we have conducted and data collected, that they are spending a lot of time on the internet. They are learning, they are creating relationships. So, that is our responsibility concerning consumer protection,” she explains.

Regarding the dangers that children may be exposed to online, Patricia is quick to list several risks: cyberbullying, internet addiction, catfishing, revenge porn, and gambling. These vulnerabilities have led to children being lured, blackmailed, and manipulated, developing unhealthy addictions, and in some instances, have even led to suicide. While the internet can be a positive resource, its misuse necessitates the creation of safeguards, especially for children and the youth.

In light of this, she cites public awareness as a critical tool for regulation. She explains, “There has to be the creation of awareness by the regulator, by industry- by which I mean our licenses, vendors (for instance, the people who import mobile handsets into our country), and the education sector, who are a key component in this space. Public awareness is broad, and spans everything from media campaigns and IEC materials to learning through entertainment.”

One of the key initiatives that CA sponsors is the Kenya Drama Festival and the Kenya Music Festival. During the various presentations, children can learn about child online protection and the associated risks and vulnerabilities, in a very fun way. This way, they make complex information easy to understand. Parents, children, and guardians can then take the recommendations, implement them, and safeguard the future.

Moreover, the authority is a major exhibitor in the annual teachers’ conferences known as Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) and Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA).
Additionally, aside from their running COP Phase II programme, they currently have a programme called Kikao Kikuu. It is designed for counties and includes creating more awareness around the COP agenda. So far, they have visited 20 counties.

As we wind up the interview, Patricia is keen to emphasise that the responsibility of keeping children safe online is a collaborative one, and particularly calls on parents to take on a more hands-on approach; “As a parent or guardian, you have principal responsibility for the children under your care and your watch. When it comes to child online protection within the home, you are responsible for how much time your children spend on the internet, for the gadgets you buy them, their social media presence as minors, you are responsible for who talks to your children on the internet, who sends them money via the sim cards you have registered for them, and even for your Wi-Fi and streaming app passwords.”

Consequently, she urges parents to set rules about allowing their children to go to their rooms with their gadgets and about how long they can access the internet. She also asks parents to secure their gadgets with passcodes and passwords and to create strong Wi-Fi passwords.

“Get involved, have a conversation with your children, be their friend. Let them tell you about things like Snapchat, which some of us don’t even understand. Let them be your partner in terms of what they do on the Internet,” she concludes.

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