• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Stakeholders seek measures against online predators

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Stakeholders are seeking decisive actions by governments at all levels to protect, and rescue internet users, especially the most vulnerable -children and teenagers from on-line predators. Among the stakeholders, who gathered at a conference put together by the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology and FB Initiatives, last week in Lagos, were school children, polytechnic and university students, educationists, policy makers and parents.

Various concerns were raised about cyber safety, especially cases of predators taking advantage of the innocence of the children and teenage population with regard to juvenile pornography,bullying,human trafficking and exploitation through extremism and child abuse. Funke Babatola, chief executive officer of FB Initiatives, said the stakeholders are determined to collaborate with government to reverse the inadequate provision of legislation specific to children on-line protection, adding,’’it is our duty to ensure that children are protected in the enjoyment of their basic rights and liberties’’

This was Rob Nikel of the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada, who spoke at the event, alerted parents to the dangers of unrestricted internet access to children and teenagers. He suggested some tools and resources which he claimed can “keep the children bottled up on the Information Highway”.

Fatai Mabadeje, the Lagos State commissioner for science and technology, said the conference was put together to guarantee safe access of the youth to the internet as a complementary resource for their school work,research and entertainment, without the interference of any offensive and sexually explicit materials’’

Nike Animashaun, the permanent secreatry in the ministry, noted that the social media had become the fastest means of communication,especially with teenagers and even children. He regretted that while it was heartwarming to note the wider use of the internet by the younger ones in society,it was disheartening that instead of being internet savvy ,some of them are cybercrime savvy.

Suggestions for self regulation on safer communication for younger children agreed on by the stakeholders included, a code of conduct, access control for advertisements and commercial content through awareness-raising campaigns for parents, educationists and children.

 

JOSHUA BASSEY