With the rise of cybercrime in the social media space, the director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has advised secondary school students to always display high level of responsibility whenever they are online.
In his speech at the 2021 inter-school debate with the topic ‘Should social media be encouraged among secondary school students?’ organised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) with support from NITDA, he said a high level of responsibility when using the internet would protect students from psychological and physical risks common online.
“Some of the psychological risks the children could suffer from, if they are irresponsible online are fear, low self-esteem, promiscuousness, violence, poor academic performance, among others. The physical risks you can experience online could be illness, injury, death, vandalization, and loss of finance.
“Your responsibilities online include non-disclosure of personal information to strangers, avoidance of people or strangers that demand for too much information, turn down offer to meet online strangers, not opening of mails or files from unknown sources, and always inform parents or teachers whenever you feel concerned about strangers online,” he advised.
Represented by NITDA’s head, digital technology, adoption, digital literacy and skill unit, Dr Ayodele Bakare, Abdullahi advised children to limit the time they spend online in order not to affect other spheres of their lives, particularly their academic performance, stressing that child online safety has become imperative in order to protect them from threats and risks because, children are easily influenced with online contents.
He said, as a government agency, NITDA will keep on with advocacy and capacity building on online safety for minors.
“Another way government is trying to protect children online is in the area of policy formulation, regulations and guideline on child online safety”, he said.
Earlier, the JCI president, Ajalat Aminat Aweke, said the aim of the debate was to discover another set of smart young lads among students in Federal Capital Territory, adding the topic for the debate captured the rave of the moment on the usage of social media among secondary school students and “the debate will form a robust discussion and form a framework for censorship.”
In his remarks, the coordinator, National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotic (NCAIR), Mr. Ya’u Garba Isah, said the use of robots would help to avoid obstacle in computing programming, adding mentoring the students on technological innovation would promote the motive of JCI which is in line with the mandate of the centre.
Science Nigeria reports that over 10 secondary schools participated in the debate with Government Secondary School (GSS), Gwagwalada clinching the first position and was rewarded with three laptops and a N100,000 cash award, while Government Secondary School (GSS), Mabushi, emerged second and got a cash prize of N75,000, and Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Dutsen Alhaji came third and got a cash award of N50,000.