Next month, a concerned entity will facilitate the launch of yet another IT innovative platform in the form of ‘digital citizen’ initiative that seeks to protect and alert Botswana to the ever increasing dangers of unfriendly internet use and postings. This is all courtesy of the David Moepeng led organisation called InFuture Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes social change. David Moepeng and his team are expected to forge ahead with the launch of eBotho Digital Citizens, a public education campaign that seeks to sensitise society about the importance of digital citizenship.
In a statement to the local media, Moepeng stated that like the rest of the world, the Botswana society is experiencing a growing trend in cyber related ills such as misinformation, fake news, cyber bullying, and forgery and privacy violations, among others.
“The harmful habits that are emerging on the use of internet and digital technology as a whole, are not reflective of the spirit of Botho that Botswana are known for and have upheld for many generations. Botswana is a nation known to be accommodating, friendly and respectful towards one another but the opposite is reflected in the way some Botswana are utilizing technology” said Moepeng.
He said if left undeterred, cyber abuse has the potential to prevent society from realizing the full benefits of digital technology.
“We have seen the country making a tremendous effort in ensuring access to digital technology for the people, and this is benefiting the economy and society in general in many ways. Abuse of technology therefore only serves to reverse or erode the very benefits of society being a part of the digital world.” He further advised that if used effectively and creatively, technology has the potential to provide numerous opportunities for growth and empowerment, whether economically, socially or otherwise. He pointed out that nations and individuals around the world are constantly innovating and finding new ways of tackling social challenges or empowering themselves through the use of the internet.
It is for this reason that we, as InFuture Foundation, have decided to promote mindset change in the way people interact with technology and encourage a more safe, responsible and productive approach, said Moepeng.
“InFuture Foundation plans to achieve this through regular dissemination of information and placement of awareness messages in the media for improved digital literacy in the country. The information will cover issues such as cyber safety and security, internet technology developments as well as tips on creative and productive ways one can use the internet.”
Loosely put, a Digital Citizen is a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the Internet and other digital technology, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and civic activities: The development of digital citizen participation can be divided into two main stages, the first being through information dissemination.
“The second stage of digital citizen participation is citizen deliberation, which evaluates what type of participation and role that they play when attempting to ignite some sort of policy change. For static citizen participants, citizens can play a role by engaging in online polls as well as through complaints and recommendations sent up, mainly toward the government who can create changes in policy decisions. Dynamic citizen participants can deliberate among one another on their thoughts and recommendations in town hall meetings or various media cites,” cited one tech savvy source.