A not-for-profit foundation has advocated for stronger online measures to protect children as they seek knowledge and follow development trends online.
Speaking during the commemoration of the 2022 Children’s Day, the chairperson, Ndukwe Kalu Foundation (NKF), Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, observed that the exponential growth of technology has created tremendous opportunities for children and young people globally. It enables them to learn, share and communicate expressing themselves freely without inhibition or borders, she said.
The organisation’s mission is to promote knowledge in information and communication technology (ICT) and proper use of internet among the young people.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) statistics, as of March 2022, Nigeria has 145.9 million Internet users out of a population of 211.4 million.
Odusote pointed out that with more subscribers having access to the Internet every day, it has become necessary to address the technology in the lives of young Internet users, especially as groups actively involved in the SDGs 16.2 which calls for an end to abuse, exploitation, violence and torture against children by 2030.
Odusote called for stakeholders to combine efforts to facilitate continuous awareness and protection campaigns to protect children online.
She said that policies and other regulatory instruments should be accorded same level of priority to both the physical and online safety of children.
She further hinted that the foundation’s board has approved the Child Online Safety, Protection and Report Abuse (COSPRA) mandate and “has identified collaborative ideas, signs and symptoms of online abuse through the use of Internet and how best to deal with such situations; providing needed promotional awareness, guidance and support to children and affected young victims.
“As part of achieving the COSPRA mandate, the foundation is planning three key events; first, Annual Online Child Safety and Protection Summit in collaboration with multi-stakeholders facilitating the exchange & circulation of information and preventive tools for best practices;
“Secondly, we will hold a training programme for trainers across the six geo-political zones to increase safe practice awareness in schools.
“Third, promote open discussion, debates, events, programmes etc., during conversations with key multi-stakeholders and partners globally.”
Odusote reiterated COSPRA’s mandate to ensure a safer and more secure online environment for children and youth; to participate in active campaigns between all stakeholders in knowledge and experience sharing; to encourage procedures for the improvement of legal regulations as well as self-regulation instruments towards child safety online, amongst others.
She added that the foundation is positioned to promote safe activities on the Internet and how issues affecting the lives of its young users and the digital environment are protected.