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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged parents and guardians to monitor and manage the engagement of their children online as the uncontrolled exposure to cyberspace is fraught with a lot of negativities to children’s wellbeing.
Contributing during the recent First Web Rangers Nigeria Summit in Abuja, a Google’s initiative that focuses on developing digital literacy and equipping telecom consumers with the knowledge they require for their online safety, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said it is imperative to know what our children are doing in the cyberspace.
At the Summit, with the theme, “Navigating the Responsibility of Online Safety Between Users, Providers and Regulators”, which discussed measures for addressing challenges posed by online criminal activities as they affect children and the youth, 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 on it in ensuring safety in the digital ecosystem, which informed its establishment of NCC Computer Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) that was inaugurated in 2021.
He explained that CSIRT 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.
Alhassan also recalled the Commission’s establishment of the Internet Industry Code of Practice (ICP) in 2019, which is 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.
Dr. Alhassan 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 sensitizes parents and children on cybercrime trends such as cyberbullying, phishing, and online identity theft.
Dawn Dimowo, Manager, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Nigeria, stated that the Summit is an opportunity for strengthening the advocacy for digital safety and allowing the youth to share 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.
As an organisation, 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).