Child protection issues take centre stage at bill consultation

By Chipo Gudhe

Kwekwe residents who attended the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill consultation at Mbizo Youth Centre on Thursday reiterated the need to protect children from pornography and online bullying.

Most of the residents said the Bill should sail through parliament as it was a necessary piece of law that can be used to protect children from paedophiles or sex predators and indecent materials.

Councillor Idirashe Dongo said  unrestricted social media was tearing the social fabric by exposing children to material that is taboo to the African culture.

“This Bill is a very important component, there are elements in the society which are using social media to expose our children to indecent material. Nudity is becoming a normal thing and this Bill should move in quickly to deal with such issues,” she said.

She added that those elements in society taking advantage of the laxity or lack of cyber laws should be disciplined and penalized for exposing children to pornography.

“This Bill has come at an opportune time but we are saying government should expedite its putting into action to penalize people with total disregard of Ubuntu,” she said.

Another resident, Cathrine Masvingise, echoed the same sentiments calling on lawmakers to make sure that the Bill becomes an Act.

“As a primary school teacher I am worried about the social media content that most of the children are exposed to. We need a law that protects our children from cyber bullying and pornography,” she said.

Another resident who requested anonymity said if the Bill becomes an Act it will be a remedy to online bullying.

“Children are exposed to certain information with no knowledge of how to process it, for example a child finding out that their parent has died in an accident after seeing social media photos before the next of kin has been notified. There are also issues of revenge pornography were young girls are exposed by sex predators, all these issues will be rectified by this Bill that we are giving a thumbs up,” he said.

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