Intl Day of the African Child: Stakeholders rally support against online child abuse
Stakeholders in child rights protection have called for more support and awareness on the need to safeguard and protect children from online abuse in the face of increase internet access and overwhelming exposure to the virtual environment.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Moni Udoh, said internet usage and access has been on the increase globally and as children transition to using the internet, they are exposed to harmful digital content hence, the need to find ways of protecting them online.
She stated this yesterday at an event marking the 2023 Day of the African Child,(DAC), themed ‘The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment, yesterday in Abuja.
She said the choice of this year’s commemoration is apt because it “creates the opportunity for children and stakeholders to exine the pros and cons of exposure of children to the digital world.”
Speaking on the some of the best ways to harness the internet for the good of the Child, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), Sharon Oludeji said the protection of the rights of the Child is essential to the wellbeing of children.
She said “UNICEF will continue to ensure that children’s rights are protected that is why we support the provision of digital access for the less privileged.
She said UNICEF will support government to register children at birth towards building a birth database for children.
Country Director, Save the Children International, Benjamin Foot, said technology, brought a paradigm shift from the analog ways of doing things to the digitalized forms and this has positively impacted on children, through learning, playing, socializing and innovations.
He said “Digitalization has accelerated the capacity of the African child as they engaged often with the internet. Nevertheless, the ills of the digital space dances right in front of us.
“According to UNICEF, one in three internet users globally are internet users. By this statistics most children are at risk of being exposed to obscene content, cyber bullying, discrimination, hate, violent materials, and impostors for sexual exploitation.”
Mr. Foot said “The rights of a child in the digital environment provides room for privacy and data protection, freedom expression and information, accessibility, participation and play, protection and safety alongside the UN convention on human rights.
“The opportunities in the digital environment for children is enormous and it plays a crucial role in their development. Child protection in the digital space is then paramount to the safety of the child even as they operate within their rights of expression, creativity and child participation especially in governance.
“As we clamour for the accessibility of technology for most African children especially for e-learning, the safety and protection of the child is most important. Digital literacy for care givers and policy implementation by the government to the safety of children requires urgency,” he said.
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