The Kenyan government has announced plans to filter access to adult content websites in the country in a move to curb teenage pregnancies after reports that children were turning to pornography for sex education and engaging in unprotected sex leading to early pregnancies.
Addressing the audience at the CIO 100 East Africa, ICT Ministry Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said, “The government is well aware that in order to harness the benefits of the digital economy and mitigate harms consequent to it, formulating a data protection framework is critical for the country. The Ministry established a Taskforce to develop Data Protection Bill and Policy, and this has already gone through the public participation stage.”
The CS also instructed the Communications Authority to filter teenagers access to adult sites to help reduce or even prevent unwanted pregnancies.
“We have seen in the recent exams in Kenya, that we actually now have a challenge with teenage pregnancies and this seems to be from the education sector that part of what the internet is bringing is that people are able to access sites they are not supposed to,” he said. “What the Communications Authority should do is come up with ways to filter such content so that kids don’t access them. part of the challenge of all us is to educate our kids and parents against such content. We will be looking at ways of protecting our citizens from such content but we know you are also parents and care about yourselves and their future.”
According to the CS, quoting an statement from the education sector, access to adult websites should be regulated to protect schoolchildren and reduce teenage pregnancies. The ministry will work with the Communication Authority of Kenya, which is the industry regulator to find ways of filtering adult content to protect children.
Earlier, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) chairman George Magoha had asked the government to block access to pornography sites in the country blaming them for rising cases of teenage pregnancies in the country and also called for lessons on sexual education in schools as children were turning to pornography to educate themselves about sex instead of getting proper sex education. There have been calls by a cross section of religious leaders against the proposed comprehensive sexual education because it allegedly gives children rights to practice sex early in their lives. Religious leaders have called against the proposed Comprehensive Sexual Education because it is purported to be pro-homosexuality than religious value-based sexual education.