The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged parents and guardians to monitor and manage the engagement of their children online, as uncontrolled exposure to cyberspace is fraught with several threats to children’s wellbeing.
Contributing during the recent first Web Rangers Nigeria Summit in Abuja, a Google initiative that focuses on developing digital literacy and equipping telecom consumers with knowledge for their online safety, the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said it is imperative to know what children do in cyberspace.
At the summit, with themed “Navigating the Responsibility of Online Safety Between Users, Providers and Regulators”, which discussed measures for addressing challenges posed by online criminal activities to children and youths, Danbatta, represented by the director, new media and information security (NMIS), Dr. Haru Alhassan, said that the commission is committed to supporting the governance and security of the nation’s cyberspace, as well as facilitating the adoption of innovative technologies and acquisition of information and communications technology (ICT) skills.
He said the telecom regulator is aware of the responsibilities entrusted to it in ensuring safety in the digital ecosystem, which informed its establishment of the Computer Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) in 2021.
Danbatta explained that the team responds to computer security incidents to regain control and minimise damage, providing or assisting with effective incident response and recovery, and inhibiting computer security incidents such as malware, virus and online child threats.
Also, he recalled the commission’s establishment of the Internet Industry Code of Practice (ICP) in 2019, designed to secure the country’s cyberspace against imminent threats from cyber attackers as well as addressing issues such as online child protection, privacy and data protection, among others
The NCC boss further noted that the commission is a member of the National Committee on the Development of a Unified National Strategy on Child Online Protection (COP) in Nigeria and emphasised that NCC regularly sensitises parents and children on cybercrime trends such as cyber-bullying, phishing and online identity theft.
In his remarks, the manager, government affairs and public policy, Google Nigeria, Dawn Dimowo stated that the summit is an opportunity for strengthening the advocacy for digital safety and allowing the youth to showcase their innovation.
The maiden web ranger summit was anchored by the Public and Private Development Center (PPDC) through the Digital Inclusion and Safer Internet (DISI) programme.
A statement by the commission’s director of public affairs, Reuben Muoka said the PPDC has successfully pioneered safer internet and digital inclusion practices and activities in some schools and among many stakeholders in Nigeria. Some of these initiatives are the development of the online safety curriculum, the web rangers clubs, online safety training for staff and students and the annual celebration of safer internet day, in collaboration with the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC).