The issue of child abuse, pornography, sexual exploitations and stalking online is becoming a major concern to all the stakeholders as the menace is becoming rampant day by day. For this reason, countries all over the world started to enact laws that will curtail the crimes and prevent predators from getting access to young people online. It is in view of this that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) came up with a policy that will regulate the activities of young people on the net in order to protect them and safeguard their privacy which is entitled National Child Online Protection and Strategy.
To have an all inclusive policy, NITDA invited stakeholders from different fields to make inputs into the policy. CITAD as one of the organizations working in the area of Information and Communication Technology and child protection online was offered the opportunity to make recommendations that would be included into the policy. For this, CITAD on the 20th of July, 2022 organized a One Day Public Discussion where it invited stakeholders to give their contributions. At the public discussion, three panellists from different professions such as legal, media and ICT expert led the discussion. The panellists include; Barrister Aisha Haruna Mahdi of Green Edge Attorneys, Amina Ibrahim Idris, Programs, Partnerships and Engagement Officer at Paradigm Initiative and Aminu Adamu Naganye, Senior Correspondent with The Star Newspaper, while Sule Kawu Rano, PhD of the Department of Sociology, Bayero University, Kano served as the chairman at the discussion.
Some of the recommendations offered at the discussions were:
The major tech giant companies should know that there is issue of cultural differences, by this, contents should be sieved according to the regions and countries
Media organizations should be cautious on reporting cases that have to do with children both online and offline
Children should not be allowed to access the internet without the supervision of their parents
Teachers in school should only exposed their students to relevant websites that will help the students in their development both academically and in life
Children to be educated on how to be relating in the internet including how and whom they share their pictures and videos with
Nigerian existing laws on children need to be refilled to accommodate issues of cyber stalking on children
Parents need to be educated on the dangers that are associated with the internet
The policy needs to address the issue of age determinant (to define who is a child)
Parents and guardians should be held responsible for the mistakes committed by their children online
There is need to digitalized the courtrooms in the country so as to be speeding up cases that have to do with child abuse, stalking, trafficking, pornography online
Children should be taught that it is okay to report when they are abused
Government to make ICT and Digital Security and Skills subjects compulsory in secondary schools
Introduce Radio programs on children protection online