NCC urges parents to pay attention to children’s online activities

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Prof. Umar Danbatta
Prof. Umar Danbatta

By Anayo Ezugwu

THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has urged parents and caregivers to pay attention and observe what their children are watching online. The commission said as children spend more time online, parents must observe behavioral patterns, changes, and recognize unusual activities, actions, and reactions.

In a report titled ‘Keeping Children Safe Online: Advice to parents and caregivers, the NCC encouraged parents to calmly address changes when observed and allow the child sufficient room to talk without being judgmental. It stated that the home is a safety net for children and it is also the best support system that allows an abused child recover from abuse and provides a means for managing post abuse trauma. It noted that children need to know they can go to their parents with whatever concerns they encounter online.

According to the NCC, parents and caregivers must always anticipate risks. It noted that anticipation of risks will lead to appropriate control measures being put in place before a child is allowed access to digital devices or the internet. “As a parent, stay informed and educated about the use of your devices and the devices your child has access to.

“Stay informed on various social network sites and what happens on them. Stay informed and better educated than your children and wards. Make them understand that you know as much or more than they do. Therefore, be their go-to person for information on what to do with the device you eventually give them access to. Caregivers should be trained on how to guide children in online activities: Schools have adopted the use of online platforms for education.

“Care must be taken to educate the teachers and prepare them for the avalanche of questions from children on the use of various online applications or whatever information the children encounter online. The teachers are major support networks and pillars in the life of any child. They are oftentimes as trusted as parents are. Before a device is given to a child, age appropriate applications should first be installed on it. This will protect the child from inadvertently stumbling into wrong sites that appear as pop-ups.

“Firewalls act as content filters. They help make sure non-age appropriate content does not appear on the child’s device. Set timers on all devices used by the child: This helps to create discipline and structure for the child. Ensure clear time boundaries are set. This is one of the most important steps any parent can take. There is a sense of privacy associated with being online. Parents will not always be there when children go online. Adopting a child–centric approach to the use of the internet prepares the child for unforeseen issues and assures the child of the trust and respect of his/her parent.

“Children will enjoy the benefits and advantages of the internet when they know how to stay in control and not allow themselves to be victims of the platforms and devices. Therefore, set ground rules and instructions in collaboration with the child and teach them basic online safety skills and how to apply them,” it said.

– Jul. 2, 2020 @ 11:12 GMT |

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