S. African students trained in cyber safety‏

JOHANNESBURG – Young students in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, received training on Tuesday on how to use the internet safely and avoid becoming victims of cyberspace.

"Our campaign engages students from across the country," Janine Raftopoulos, communications and public education manager at South Africa's Film and Publication Board (FPB), told The Anadolu Agency.

"We tell them the opportunities that the internet offers, but we also tell them about the negatives, and how to protect themselves online," she said.

The FPB launched its cyber safety-themed "Back-2-School" campaign to coincide with Safer Internet Day (SID), which is marked each year by over 100 countries.

The SID was inaugurated in 2004 with the aim of promoting safe and responsible use of online technologies by children and young people.

The theme of this year's SID is: "Let's create a better internet together."

"Our launch saw 100 learners and ten educators from ten schools learn about cyber safety," said Raftopoulos.

She said the program aimed to ensure that learners and educators were informed about their choices – along with the dangers and risks – when engaging in online activity.

Raftopoulos said research conducted by her organization had shown that 83 percent of the youth in Gauteng – South Africa's richest province – were exposed to pornography via their mobile phones.

There are various forms of cyber-crime, including bullying, stalking, child soliciting and abuse.

South African learners conducted a video conference – via Google Hangout – with counterparts in Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria.

"We are excited to have Safer Internet Day take place in four countries across the continent simultaneously for the first time this year," Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, public policy and government relations manager for Google South Africa, said in a statement.

He said Google hoped to use its new Hangout platform to show learners how technology might be used in positive ways.

Karabo Jane, a student who attended the event, said she now understands the boundaries of materials – such as photos and videos – that are often shared online.

"After watching a short movie at the workshop, I would never forward or share indecent photographs or videos online," she told AA.

Jane said she benefited immensely from the cyber-safety workshop, stressing that what she had learned would make her more careful online.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency