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Policies should be enacted to guarantee child safety online, say experts

By Iyabo Lawal
29 September 2022   |   3:49 am
Stakeholders in the education and technology sectors have been called upon to come up with policies that will guarantee the safety of children online

UNICEF. Photo; linkedin

80% of children threatened by online safety- UNICEF

Stakeholders in the education and technology sectors have been called upon to come up with policies that will guarantee the safety of children online.

This was the crux of discussion at the September edition of EdTech Mondays, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-Creation Hub.

The virtual roundtable was moderated by a social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel, featuring the founder, of Internet Safe Kids Africa, Confidence Oseyen, child safety internet advocate, Elijah Afolabi and a concerned parent, Olukayode Babalola.

At the event, which is themed, ‘Using EdTech to enhance Internet safety for learning,’ Oseyen said the responsibility for the protection of children online is collective, and parents or teachers should not be left alone to bear the burden.

While admitting that Nigeria lacks policies needed to protect the child, Oseyen urged decision-makers to embrace policies from other developed nations to protect kids from abuse.

She equally tasked Internet Service Providers not to leave the responsibility of child safety online to users, but rather create products that would empower young learners to protect themselves.

On his part, Afolabi said there is a need to ensure the safety of the child online by developing tailor-made products for them following rising cases of abuse of children.

He tasked policy makers, particularly, those in the education sector, to ensure that the curriculum is updated to include online safety, noting that it is imperative to let children know the importance of online safety.

Babalola stated that every parent regardless of status is concerned about the safety of his or her kids online.

While advising that it is better to arm the kids with cultural context and values that will assist them to navigate safely on their own, he urged parents to pay adequate attention to kids at the pre-formative stage to prevent them from being negatively influenced through the Internet.

“Around the world, a child goes online every second. Through computers, smartphones, gaming consoles and televisions, children learn, imagine and develop their social networks. When used in the right way, the internet has the potential of broadening horizons and igniting creativity. But with these opportunities come serious risks.”

A recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showed that 80 per cent of children are affected by online safety. In Nigeria, the situation is the same. This has, however, become a big source of concern for many parents, necessitating calls for intervention.

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