Facebook has done something rather commendable.

Today the social network together with Digify Africa launched Ilizwe Lam which means my world in isiXhosa.

Ilizwe Lam is a youth online safety programme which will train 1 000 13 – 18 year olds throughout South Africa in the ins and outs of staying safe online.

The programme will cover topics such as cyberbullying and what to, how to spot scams and perhaps most importantly, how to manage your privacy online.

That’s a rather important one given how users reacted when they learned just how much Facebook knew about them following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Speaking about the launch of Ilizwe Lam, public policy manager for Facebook in the SADC region, Emilar Gandhi said that the internet is a gateway to opportunities but an understanding of how to protect yourself is vital.

“It is also important for them to learn how to protect their personal information and to safeguard themselves online. Increasing awareness and ensuring that young people feel empowered is important and something we’re committed to. That is why I’m proud to be launching Ilizwe Lam to form part of the work Facebook is already doing in South Africa,” said Gandhi.

Some of the topics the programme will cover include:

  • Looking after your digital footprint and managing your privacy online.
  • What to do when you encounter inappropriate content or behaviour on social media.
  • How to decide what you share online.
  • What to do when you share something online that you regret.
  • Dealing with cyber-bullying, harassment and scams.
  • Examples of young digital hustlers furthering their studies and careers by accessing content and making connections online.

Speaking as a member of the generation that sort of just found ourselves online, sharing information at lightspeed this sort of education would have been highly appreciated.

Speaking for Digify Africa, head of strategy, Qhakaza Mthembu says “The digital economy is growing fast in Africa, opening up a world of opportunities for young South Africans to connect with content, other people and create sustainable livelihoods for themselves.”

“We’re really proud to have co-created this programme with young South Africans, to enable them to safely tap into all the resources of the online universe,” Mthembu concluded.