The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has joined the rest of the world to celebrate the Africa Safer Internet Day (ASID), which is the continent’s version of the World Safer Internet Day (WSID), held on February 9 every year.
In marking the Africa Safer Internet Day 2021, with the theme “Positioning and Partnering for Child Online Protection”, NCC’s representatives visited secondary schools in Abuja and Lagos to sensitise and educate students, on how they can use the internet productively, avoid being victims of all forms of cybercrime, and deal with cases of cyberbullying.
The schools include Model Secondary School, and Government Science Secondary School, both in Maitama, Abuja; and Kuramo Junior College and Victoria Island Junior Secondary School, both in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Addressing some of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Abuja, under strict observance of COVID-19 protocols, Tokunbo Oyeleye, Deputy Director, New Media and Information Security at NCC, stated that this year’s theme was in sync with one of the focus areas of NCC with respect to child online protection, noting that the a Commission constantly sensitises young Nigerians on cybersecurity and its applications.
“We are here, as NCC representatives, to educate you, the younger generation of Internet users on what you need to know to keep safe while online as part of our efforts to ensure child online protection in our country in the use of Information and Communication Technology,” Oyeleye said.
She further explained that the concern over child online protection should not be limited to arresting the perpetrators, but should be more of providing education and counselling that may assist in minimising the harm on younger Internet users.
Meanwhile, at the Lagos event, Nkechi Obiekwe, Controller, NCC Lagos Zonal Office, said the protection and safety of children while they access the internet is a shared responsibility. She added that internet penetration permeates every aspect of life and adoption of the internet presents opportunities for learning.
Earlier, in a presentation, Chioma Ibe, a Principal Manager in NCC, spoke on cyberbullying and signs to watch out for. She also highlighted ways to resist online bullying and the importance of reporting cases of cyberbullying to relevant authorities.
“Online bullying can have a devastating impact on young people, whose online life is a key part of their identity and how they interact socially. Cyberbullying takes many forms, such as sending abusive messages, hurtful images or videos, nasty online gossip, excluding or humiliating others or creating fake accounts in someone’s name to trick or humiliate them,” Ibe said.
Also contributing to the discussion, Chukwuemeka Monyei, the Executive Director, Like-a-Palm-Tree Foundation, educated the students on how to mute conversation with, unfollow, block, and report anybody who engages in an act of cyberbullying toward them as a way of protecting themselves.
Oyeleye urged the students to share the knowledge they have gained during the programme with their friends and relatives towards ensuring a safer internet for all.
Pamphlets with salient printed information on child online protection, with emphasis on cyberbullying, were distributed to the students across the four schools.
The students, who participated in the intensive one-day sensitization, expressed delight for being part of such a highly educational programme and thanked the Commission for its leading role in online child protection.