Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, has called on parents and guardians to always monitor and manage the engagement of their children online.
He warned that uncontrolled exposure of children to cyberspace is full of negativities and dangerous to their wellbeing, stressing that it is imperative to know what our children are doing in the cyberspace at any given time.
Professor Danbatta spoke recently at the 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.
The Summit was themed: “Navigating the Responsibility of Online Safety Between Users, Providers and Regulators.” It discussed measures for addressing challenges posed by online criminal activities as they affect children and the youth.
The NCC boss, who was represented by the Director of 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 that 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 emphasized that NCC regularly sensitizes parents and children on cybercrime trends such as cyberbullying, phishing, and online identity theft.
The Government Affairs and Public Policy of Google Nigeria, Dawn Dimowo, Manager, said that the Summit is an opportunity for strengthening the advocacy for digital safety and allowing the youth to share their innovation.
In a statement, the NCC Chief spokesman, Reuben Muoka said that the maiden web ranger summit was anchored by the Public and Private Development Center (PPDC) through the Digital Inclusion and Safer Internet (DISI) programme.
He said that 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).