The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and its attendant change in mode of operation has compelled all stakeholders, parents, caregivers, governments and industry players, to actively pursue, create and promote a safe online environment for children.
As stated in our previous post on this series, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has taken up the responsibility to avail for parents, caregivers, and children with the practical online safety tips.
It covers what to do before things go wrong, while children spend time online, and what to do if things go wrong.
Therefore, to keep children safe online, parents and care givers should:
Anticipation of risks will lead to appropriate control measures being put in place before a child is allowed access to digital devices or the internet.
Some of these anticipatory control measures include:
1. Parental education:
As a parent, stay informed and educated about the use of your devices and the devices your child has access to.
Stay informed on various social network sites and what happens on them. Stay informed and better educated than your children and wards.
Make them understand that you know as much or more than they do. Therefore, be their go-to person for information on what to do with the device you eventually give them access to.
2. Caregivers should be trained on how to guide children in online activities:
Schools have adopted the use of online platforms for education.
Care must be taken to educate the teachers and prepare them for the avalanche of questions from children, on the use of various online applications or whatever information the children encounter online.
The teachers are major support networks and pillars in the life of any child. They are oftentimes as trusted as parents are.
3. Install child appropriate apps/search engines:
Before a device is given to a child, age appropriate applications should first be installed on it. This will protect the child from inadvertently stumbling into wrong sites that appear as pop-ups.
4. Install firewall:
Firewalls act as content filters. They help make sure non-age appropriate content does not appear on the child’s device.
5. Set timers on all devices used by the child:
This helps to create discipline and structure for the child. Ensure clear time boundaries are set.
…To be continued[NB: You can contact NCC via Toll Free Line: 622 or Cece Yara Foundation: 08008008001(for children, toll free) or 07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)].