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Address of the First Lady  at the launch of the Safe Screens Safe Kids Campaign

Address of the First Lady at the launch of the Safe Screens Safe Kids Campaign

The Republic of Uganda Address by Hon. Janet. K. Museveni, First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, At the Launch of the “Safe Screens, Safe Kids’ Campaign Wednesday, April 3, 2024, Kampala Serena Hotel

Hon. Ministers, Hon. Members of Parliament, The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Religious Leaders, Government Officials, The CEO, Church of Uganda Family TV, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning and Praise the Lord!

It is a pleasure for me to launch the Safe Screens, Safe Kids campaign, which is an innovation of the Anglican Church’s “Hope for Families” Program.

The relentless barrage of media that constantly shapes the mindsets of the younger generation by pushing them to identify with the trends and popular lifestyles they portray has been a burden on my heart for a long time.

Apart from a few media channels, the majority of entertainment platforms in the past were location-specific, giving parents the ability to monitor what their children were watching and engaging in.

With the current rapid advancement of technology, in a matter of seconds, this generation can now access all forms of media in the palm of their hands. As a result, on a global level, new and “smart” forms of digital engagement are appearing faster than ever before, using attractive technology that both surpasses and defies parental control.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world became dependent on digital platforms to ease communication and socialization during the lockdown. We all found ourselves highly dependent on these forms of media to keep abreast of the times. The Church was not spared either, as we strived to keep united in online prayers and fellowship in this new world order.

Regrettably, there was a significant disadvantage in the use of these media and communication platforms, particularly for the younger generation, who were now vulnerable to exposure to questionable websites due to the shift in schooling toward online learning.

Furthermore, during this time, many young people engaged in online school work without parental supervision, exposing them to harmful content such as pornography and other explicit materials.

This campaign is timely because, today, many institutions still use these online platforms as the preferred and most convenient means of learning. Therefore, to safeguard our children, we must all be aware of the downsides of this digital age and ready to take proactive measures to mitigate and address its effects.

This is why I am so appreciative of the Anglican Church in Uganda for taking a societal and community-based approach to considering and addressing the best use and regulation of these contemporary forms of communication. If this is done correctly, it will undoubtedly have many advantages and benefits for all of us.

Furthermore, I have learned that a key component of this campaign is the creation of a movement beyond the family to ensure safe media environments for a sustainable future for generations to come. The Church seeks to create an environment in which all children can flourish and be shielded from harmful digital influences that destroy their emotional, cognitive, and moral growth.

The Bible entreats the church as the body of Christ to be the light of the world, as stated in Matthew 5:14–16: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”.

By taking on this campaign, the Church is bringing Christ’s light and solutions to diffuse the darkness likened to the world’s evil agenda to kill, steal, and destroy God’s purposes for the next generation. We must therefore play our part to fulfill the Great Commission by discipling our nation through innovations that safeguard the next generation.

I express my gratitude to the Church of Uganda for recognizing the value of this platform for stakeholder engagement on this matter. By gathering perspectives and opinions from individuals with diverse backgrounds, we can ensure that the campaign is well-informed and that the most suitable strategies and messaging are used to address this challenge.

While I am aware that this campaign mainly targets the younger generation, I would also like to address the socio-economic consequences of a society that is increasingly plagued by cell phone and other digital gadget dependency.

I am informed that a lot of research has been done worldwide on the effects of screen time on productivity at work and in social situations. This is because now, more than ever before, a large percentage of employees spend the majority of their time on social media, which negatively impacts their productivity and their ability to interact with others.

It is also widely known that the prevalence of technological addiction is on the rise annually, with people of all ages experiencing a constant urge to use devices, apps, and platforms. One just needs to walk into a waiting room in any facility and observe people glued to gadgets, with little or no conversation or social graces exchanged, as they wait for services.

While technology provides many advantages and benefits to us, anything done without moderation is unhealthy. Thus, many people today experience a lot of anxiety as well as social isolation, which has led to a rise in psychological and other health issues as a result of their reliance on technology.

I therefore appeal to Ugandans in the workplace, in families, and in the various communities that we engage in to seriously take into consideration the extent of time spent on screens at work and also while engaging in social banter on platforms such as X, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Tik Tok. Please consider the effect this has not only on your health, your eyesight, and concentration levels at work and at home, but also the social isolation it brings. I urge you all to use technology in moderation to mitigate its effects and avoid becoming overly dependent.

We must strike a healthy balance between our reliance on technology and our awareness of the need to actively participate in social interactions and other social events.

I also appeal to the church to take this campaign across the various cultural and religious institutions, to share different perspectives and possible interventions, and to address this challenge that affects us all in equal measure.

Furthermore, we must ensure that this campaign reaches the grassroots, since the local communities are not spared from the dangers of these negative influences, which emanate from the communities in towns and cities around them.

In conclusion, I once again thank the Anglican Church, under the leadership of the Most Reverend Dr. Stephen Samuel Kazimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, for this great initiative to promote an environment for safe media for our children, Ugandans in general, and the generations to come.

I thank all of the stakeholders gathered here for responding to the call to participate in this cutting-edge discussion and for taking the time to share their knowledge and experiences in this area.

I believe that by working together, we can and will create a generation of young people who are responsible and prepared to use the various digital platforms that are available to them in a responsible, positive, and God-fearing manner.

It is now my honour and privilege to launch the “Safe Screens, Safe Kids” campaign!

May God bless you all!

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WHO WE ARE

C.O.U Family TV is a fully licensed television station in Uganda currently on a Free-To-Air facility carried by Signet (U) Ltd, GOTV on channel 829 and StarTimes Channel 282. The station is located on the 13th Floor of the Church House building on Kampala Road. COU Family TV  is a family-focused station broadcasting clean content based on Christian values. The station enjoys the partnership of and is strategically being positioned as the mouthpiece of the Church of Uganda (COU).

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