By Anayo Ezugwu
TO keep Nigerian children safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has taken into consideration the International Edition of Europol COVID-19 Global Online Safety Advice for, Parents and Caregivers, and the International Telecommunication Union, ITU, protocols. The NCC said the impact of COVID-19 has brought to bear a shift in the norms, putting more activities, including education of children, online.
The commission in a report titled ‘Keeping Children Safe Online: Advice to parents and caregivers,’ said this has leapfrogged Nigerian children into the future. It stated that online activities have acquired new meaning and become the reality of Nigerian parents and children. It noted that nations are presently grappling with the impact of COVID-19, including the fact that young people are compelled to spend more time at home which implies, more screen time (offline and online).
According to NCC, screen time and screen activities are the new normal. “Parents are constantly searching for online learning platforms, TV stations are providing more child-based educational content and schools are teaching via Zoom, Google Classroom and YouTube. Cyberspace, the internet and online activities are here to stay. The future has arrived.
“The fusion of children and the internet has not given birth to new concerns as is widely perceived, it has magnified the critical need for parents and caregivers to step up to the new norms of Online Life for Children, thus the need for Online Parenting. Concerns of safety and privacy have been with us from the beginning of time. What has changed, however, is the invisible and borderless nature of these concerns and the magnitude of the consequences when they occur.
“Parents have to contend with the overwhelming and scary possibility of a child being hurt by faceless individuals, while surfing the internet, and a perceived inability/incapability to protect the child. The good news is that the internet is not all gloom and doom. The internet is a world of endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young, adventurous and impressionable minds. Undoubtedly, there are many great ways children can use connected devices to learn and play, but there are also risks.
“With the right tools and strategy, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to support and guide children to avoid online risks and have safer experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant change in mode of operation has compelled all stakeholders, parents, caregivers, governments and industry players, to actively pursue, create and promote a safe online environment for children. Here, we provide practical online safety tips for parents, care givers, and children. It covers what to do before things go wrong, while children spend time online, and what to do if things go wrong,” it said.
– Jul. 2, 2020 @ 13:12 GMT |