News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday December 15th 2017

MXit moves against child exploitation

Yugendree Naidoo

The popular mobile-based social networking platform MXit, which has come under the fire for having a lack of security, creating a conduit for paedophiles to contact children, is now using its technology to aid the fight against child exploitation.

Coinciding with Child Protection Week from May 24 to June 1, Mxit launched the UNICEF Red Card contact in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The Red Card contained numbers and information which could be added to users’ contact lists on their phone, which would allow them to speed dial relevant numbers for help if needed.

“UNICEF is excited to be partnering with MXit and using innovative new media technologies to empower children and young people to protect themselves,” said UNICEF representative Aida Girma in a press release.

Girma said every year “tens of thousands of children” were exploited globally through child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and pornography.

She said the Red Card was adopted as a symbol of the national advocacy campaign since it’s synonymous with the football warning card.

‘Give The Red Card to Child Abuse and Exploitation’ was the banner under which the initiative was launched, highlighting concerns over increased exploitation of children during the World Cup.

Besides emergency contacts, the Red Card also conveyed information about child trafficking, child labour and other forms of child exploitation as well as safety tips.

Girma said MXit had over 20 million users globally, with 25 000 new users coming on board daily. With a large proportion of users between the ages of 15 and 25, the Red Card would greatly aid the fight against child exploitation.

The Red Card would be promoted to users through advertisers on MXit.

“The safety of young people and responsible use of social media is very important to us as always, we advise parents to talk to their children and to discuss the benefits and potential risks of using the internet, especially in the mobile space,” said MXit founder and CEO Herman Heunis.

“In this regard, we encourage all our users to add the Red Card as a contact,” he said.

MXit head of international business development, Juan du Toit, said the mobile platform had always “struggled with the misinterpretations of our technology out there”.

Hence the partnership with UNICEF was driven by the need to become an important channel for education and social upliftment, said du Toit.

He reiterated warnings to young MXit users not to accept friends on the mobile platform they did not know. – West Cape News

MXit moves against child exploitation
Tags: mxit, unicef

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